Those that know me, know that I love holidays and am always planning our next adventure. However, I am also always on the look out for ways to save money when going away and to get the best value for money. As I’m due to go onto maternity leave shortly, money will be shorter for us for a while. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to go away on holiday, but I have been thinking about how we can achieve trips away on a smaller budget with some great money saving tips.
I’ve shared my money saving top tips and ideas to stay in budget for both holidays abroad and in the UK. I hope you will find them useful and would love to hear your tips too.
Money Saving Tips For Holidays Abroad
1 – Spend time researching where you’d like to go and then shop around for the best deal. Lots of different travel agents will book the same hotel, but there are often big variations in prices between them. With the growth of the internet there are more and more online travel agents offering fantastic deals, including some new ones that you may not have heard of before such as Holiday Gems. They have some fantastic offers and there is still time to squeeze in a holiday for this summer with last minute bargains.
2 – If you are staying in a large hotel complex, don’t always be tempted to book trips and excursions directly through your rep or hotel. Find out the types of excursions they are offering and research online if you can book them yourself for a cheaper price. If you are staying near a coastal resort and want to go for a boat trip, have a walk down to the harbour and have fun haggling trying to book the best price trip.
We recently visited Fuerteventura on holiday and saw a trip advertised through our hotel reps to an uninhabited beach. The advertised cost was 60 Euros per adult and 40 Euros for Mini. We did some research and found that we could catch a special off road bus from the local bus station to the same beach. We did a return trip for 30 Euros for all three of us for exactly the same location.
3 – Weigh up the cost of booking coach transfers versus the cost of hiring a car for your stay. We hired a car in Fuerteventura and had fun using it to explore the island, with the help of our lonely planet guide. We visited historic sites and viewing points, which were the same being offered on an expensive Island excursion tour trip. Having the car also meant that we were able to explore at our own pace. Additionally we used the car to drive to a large supermarket to stock up on snacks for the week and some toiletries that we had forgotten, which was much cheaper than buying them from the hotel shop.
4 – If you are travelling all inclusive, and do decide to go out of the hotel for the day, ask if there is a picnic lunch available to order. Often hotels offer this at no or little additional cost if ordered the day before. Alternatively, see if you can make some sandwiches at breakfast time and pick up fruit and snacks from the breakfast buffet that you can take with you. This will work out much cheaper than paying for an additional lunch when you are out and about.
5- Think about if you really need to book additional upgrades and extras with your holiday package. For our recent trip we were asked if we wished to pre-book our seats on the plane. For the three of us, this would have cost an additional £80 for both flights. However, online check in opened 7 days before we flew and at this point anybody could select their seats from those remaining. I set a reminder on my phone to log on as soon as I could and was easily able to choose great seats, all sitting together at no additional cost at all.
Money Saving Tips for Holidays in the UK
1 – I know it isn’t for everyone, however camping can be a real adventure for children. I have to admit though that I’m not a fan of full on camping, we have however been lucky enough to borrow my parents motorhome for some UK trips away. We’ve managed to find places to stay that have lots on site, such as entertainment and swimming pools. These facilities are normally included in the cost of your pitch fee so can be a great way to get away for less.
2 – Think about joining annual membership schemes. These can be costly as an initial outlay however the more you use them the more money you can save. When holidaying in the UK we have made great use of our National Trust annual membership. It has meant that we have been able to explore new places, without any additional costs incurred.
Last year we also had Merlin Annual Passes. We made the decision to base some of our UK trips away around where the attractions were, such as our trip to Weymouth. It meant that we got to visit lots of exciting attractions and didn’t have to account for the cost of these in our holiday expenditure.
3 – If you can, consider going away with a group of family or friends. If you split the cost of larger accommodation between groups it can often work out a lot cheaper, for even a more luxurious stay than if you were on your own. You can also share the cost of food, and potentially take it in turns to cook for each other.
4 – The weather in the UK isn’t always that reliable. Take a movie night in kit, consisting of a selection of DVDs, popcorn and snuggly blankets. Then you’ve got a fun treat organised for those rainy days that isn’t going to break the bank.
5 – When staying in the UK for self catering, ordering a food shop online before you go is a great idea. You can either have it delivered to the accommodation or some supermarkets offer a click and collect option. It means that you’ll have a great selection of food available and won’t be as tempted to rush out to the nearest takeaway after arriving after a long journey.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored blog post