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Given how much of the year is spent longing for the summer holidays it’s amazing how quickly they come around. One minute it’s Easter, the next you’re a day away from jumping on the plane and you don’t even have so much as a mosquito repellent to pack. Avoid being caught out before your summer hols this year with some hot tips for getting ready.
Use e-tickets. We’ve all had that last minute dash to check in only to remember that the tickets/boarding passes we carefully printed out are sitting at home on the kitchen table. Give yourself one less thing to worry about this summer and use e-documents that you can access via your phone.
Take a kindle. If you’re the kind of person who can’t holiday without filling half your suitcase with books then switch to a Kindle this year for a much less stressful (and lighter) travel experience.
When you’re buying travel insurance look further than the price. Insurance comparison websites will give you a good idea of the costs of travel insurance. However, travel insurance that doesn’t cover you for essentials is pretty much worthless. Determine your minimum cover requirements and work from that, as opposed to the budget target you want to meet.
Get your currency commission free. Leaving currency purchases until the very last minute can cost you dearly – calculations by the Post Office have highlighted that you can lose around £13 every time by buying cash at the airport. The cheapest options are often on the high street – such as the Post Office – and you can go and purchase most currencies on the day you travel so it’s never too late to save.
Choose prepaid cards for set currency rates. If you’re planning on using cards only while you’re on holiday then prepaid cards have the advantage of certainty. Cards such as Monzo, Revolut and WeSwap help to ensure you stick to your budgets and lock in the currency rate on the date that you buy it. Once you have your card you can reload it digitally – even at the last minute – and you could save money on bank fees this way too.
Take control of your phone before you go. It’s very easy to get careless with your phone on holiday and come home with a huge, painful bill at the end of it. Data charges and even just receiving a call can leave you with £100s to pay when you’re back. Instead, work out how you’re going to use your phone while away before you go – for example, turn off the data and just access emails etc when connected to Wi-Fi and use Wi-Fi calls as opposed to making phone calls (check your hotel has free Wi-Fi too). Remember that roaming charges have been scrapped within the EU but if you’re going further afield you will pay a lot more.
Don’t over pay for airport parking. If you’re using an airport hotel the night before you fly, for example, you might get a cheaper rate on long term parking in the hotel car park than the official airport car park. You can get a much better deal on parking close to the airport than in the actual airport car park – a local park n ride or city car park will be well connected and cheap.
Be wary of budget airlines. It can be very easy to miss the fact that your ultra budget airline ticket doesn’t actually include a checked in bag. You might then also miss the fact that the cabin luggage limits are nowhere near the size of your enormous case for a week’s worth of holiday. Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy a regular ticket with everything included, as opposed to a super cheap fare that then goes up and up when you factor in luggage, a seat reservation and online check in. If it’s the last minute and you’re only just noticing the mistake then buy the add-ons for luggage etc that you need now – even if you’re literally running out of the door. You will always pay less in advance than when you are checking in at the airport.
Keep driving costs down. If you’re hiring a rental car abroad then make sure you’re keeping your costs down. Avoid extortionate refuelling charges and just fill the car up yourself, reduce fuel costs by filling up at supermarkets and opt for a diesel car – diesel is cheaper and will take you further.
Find out what’s local. The best way to get the most out of your holiday is to enjoy what’s grown and made locally. That also happens to be the simplest way to keep your eating and drinking costs down, from drinking the local draught beer to sampling the local tapas instead of a burger and chips. Spend a little time before you go researching what to look out for on local menus and you’ll have a much more fulfilling (and cheaper) holiday as a result.
Amanda Gillam is Solution Loans's General Manager and has been since 2009. She is also a prolific writer on personal finance issues, and has been quoted numerous times in articles published on 3rd party websites and in press releases. Her...Read about Amanda Gillam
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