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Make the most of your money on your summer holidays

21st August 2023

Top travel tips to make your cash go further if you’re jetting off in search of sun

It’s the height of the holiday season, and millions of us are off to our favourite destinations in Europe and beyond for a well-earned summer break.

Flights and hotels don’t come cheap, and by the time you factor in all the extras, from summer clothes to sun cream, you may already be counting the cost of your trip.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to save and make your holiday money go further. Here are some top tips to help you make the most of your break, without breaking the bank.

Shop around before you go

If you haven’t booked your trip yet, try not to panic buy. Take your time to shop around for everything from flights and accommodation to travel insurance, car hire and airport parking. There are comparison sites available that cover lots of the essentials, and some careful consideration before you commit will save you money in the long run.

Do your research – and set a budget

Before you head off, check out the place you’re visiting to get a sense of what you should expect to pay for things such as taxis, food and tours. With some figures in mind, you’ll be able to set a budget that’s simple to stick to. There’s lots of information out there about what to expect at a whole range of destinations which should help get you off to a strong start.

Keep mobile phone bills down

Don’t get stung by scrolling on your holidays - check the situation with your phone contract before you go. Find out how much you pay for data, calls and texts when overseas, and if it’s not looking good, make some adjustments with your mobile phone provider before you go to avoid a nasty surprise on your bill when you’re back. Or use it as a chance for a digital detox, and just connect to free WIFI when you do need to use it.

Be credit aware when hiring a car

If you’re hiring a car while overseas, make sure your card has enough credit so you’re not feeling financial pressure when you’re trying to relax. Car hire companies will often ask to block off a substantial sum on your card as a deposit. Often you’ll need a credit card in the driver’s name to cover this outlay, rather than a debit or prepaid card.

Get fashion savvy

There’s always a temptation to splurge on a whole new wardrobe before your summer break, but think things through before you hit the shops. Is this year’s summer frock really all that different from the one you wore on your last trip abroad? And how many shorts do you really think you’ll wear? Slim down your shopping list by having a proper look through what you already own, and you’re sure to make some serious savings.

Decant your products

It might feel like a treat to pop into your local pharmacy and stock up on mini versions of your favourite toiletries, but save yourself the cash by decanting what you’ve already got into smaller pots. Invest in some basic travel pots and bottles and you’ll be able to use them again for your next trip away – not just good for your pocket, but the planet too. Do the same for things such as liquid soap, hand sanitiser and even your laundry detergent too and you’ll make even more savings.

Prepare your own food

If you’ve booked all-inclusive, food should be covered on your holiday this year. But for everyone else, think smart when it comes to eating. Stock up at cheap supermarkets and cook at your accommodation if you can. For those without cooking facilities, prepare a picnic to cover at least one meal a day, cutting costs and giving you a welcome excuse to sit outside and watch the world go by.

Bring an empty water bottle to the airport

While you can’t take water through airport security, that doesn’t mean you have to fork out for pricey water when you get there. Take an empty water bottle in your hand luggage and fill it up at a water fountain once you’re through security. You’ll have your water bottle for the duration of your holiday, meaning you can stay hydrated on the move without having to splash out on multiple drinks.

Take some snacks on your travels

Give airport restaurants and pricey plane food a miss by packing snacks for your travels, and avoid splurging your holiday funds before you’ve even left the UK. Solid foods such as cakes, fruit, sandwiches, crisps and sweets are allowed through airport security – but look out for foods in sauces or with a high liquid content such as soups and stews, which you won’t be able to bring.

Pay in local currency when using your card abroad

Lots of shops, restaurants and ATMs will give you the option to pay or withdraw in pounds or local currency when using your card abroad. Your best bet is to opt for local currency as your card will do the exchange for you, rather than leaving it to the retailer or local bank to set the rate.

Buy your currency before you go

Get organised, and don’t wait until you’re at the airport to buy your foreign currency when travelling abroad. Take some time to shop around and hold onto your money for what matters most this time of year – having fun on your well-deserved break.