The summer holiday season is officially upon us, and if you want to avoid paying inflated prices for your annual trip abroad this year, now is the time to do some clever planning and internet searching to find out where you can cut costs.
Unfortunately, high demand pushes up the prices of our hotels and flights during the summer months, but there are several ways to save, and here are our Top 10 Tips for Saving on Your Summer Holiday:
Book in Advance
In the 1980s and 1990s, if we wanted a cheap holiday abroad we were advised to wait until the very last-minute to score a bargain, but fast forward 20 years and it’s a whole new story! Flight prices can increase by the day as you get nearer to your departure date, especially if you are travelling long haul, so book well in advance and secure your flights as soon as they are released by the airline (usually 12-months in advance).
Book Mid-Week Flights
If you can avoid travelling at weekends, you could save a significant amount on your flights. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally the cheapest days to fly, and tickets can be up to 30% cheaper than those departing over the weekend.
Read the Small Print
No one likes reading the small print, but if you want to make sure that your ‘bargain’ holiday really is a bargain, read the terms and conditions before you book. Many all-inclusive options are not as “inclusive” as one might hope, and those little extras could soon add a substantial amount to your holiday.
Budget Airlines – Be Careful!
Check Your Luggage Allowance – Budget airlines may offer cheap flights, but unless you are able to travel with just 10kg of hand luggage, your baggage could end up costing more than your flight ticket.
Check in online and print off your boarding card – If you don’t, you could end up paying more for your boarding card to printed out at the airport than you paid for the flight ticket!
Check Baggage Restrictions – Otherwise, your suntan lotion and toiletries could be confiscated.
Eat before Heading to the Airport
Airports are notoriously expensive, so if you are travelling with a large family or group, eat before you head off to the airport and save the £12 they will charge you for soggy cheese sarnie and a mini bottle of Evian!
Check Wireless Access before you leave home
If, like us, you run your own business, you will probably need to have some internet access while you are on holiday.
Fortunately, most hotels now offer free WIFI in the room, reception or restaurant, but check before you leave home if it is important, as others charge as much as £1 per minute!
Arrange your own Excursions
If you really want to save money on your summer holiday, one of the best ways to do so is by arranging your own excursions. Just ask the hotel concierge for a bus timetable and head off on a sightseeing tour – you will probably see a lot more of the country you are visiting, and you can do everything at your own pace.
Eat in Local Restaurants
I know it can be a bit daunting choosing your dinner from a foreign menu, but if you head out of the tourist restaurants and into the local restaurants, you will get better food at better prices. Most locally owned restaurants welcome foreign travellers with open arms, so why not give it a go!
Drink Local Beverages – Including Water
In many foreign countries, we are advised to drink bottled water, which is fine, but look out for bars and restaurants who try to serve expensive Perrier, Evian and San Pellegrino! Local bottled water is always available at a quarter of the cost, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Same goes for local wines, they will cost a lot less than imported versions and often taste much better.
Head to the Duty Free before Heading Home
If you haven’t managed to save much during your summer holiday, you could always save on your favourite perfume, spirits or tobacco by heading to the Duty Free store on your way home. By then you will have so many wonderful memories of your trip that you will think every penny was well spent!