Holidaying abroad can be an expensive thing for anyone to do, especially given the current state of global finances and the tightening grip of austerity on many people’s disposable income.
However, individuals wishing to enjoy a fantastic getaway without breaking the bank can still do just that; it just takes a little bit of planning, forward-thinking and creativity to make sure travellers are getting the best deals and not spending in areas they don’t need to.
Research, research, research
The first thing any holidaymaker hoping to spend less on their getaway should be aware of is the fact that considerable savings can always be made when people shop around in order to find the best deals.
Spending a few hours researching the best places to stay, the time of year to visit and the most appropriate travel options to get the cheapest deals can be time and effort well spent.
Indeed, many people might be surprised by the considerable difference in costs that can arise for basically the same holiday, with the only difference being the time that they plan their visit.
For example, a holiday booked during the school summer break will often be far more expensive than the same getaway booked just a few weeks either side. Meanwhile, plenty of savings can almost always be made simply by holidaymakers taking the time to research their accommodation and flights carefully.
Be flexible and watch the savings roll in
This brings us onto the next top tip that could see travellers making considerable savings on their getaways and that is the need to be flexible in one’s plans.
The advantages of having several dates and times when holidays can be booked and flights or other travel arrangements can be made should not be underestimated, as previously highlighted. It is therefore important for all those hoping to secure the best deals to have an open mind.
Being prepared to rearrange one’s plans to accommodate for a significantly cheaper flight could end up saving a lot of money. At the same time, this process works in reverse and finding a great deal on where to stay could be a great choice, even if this means rethinking other aspects of a getaway.
Ultimately, securing the best overall price for a vacation boils down to a balancing act of weighing up the best prices for each individual aspect of the holiday – something that with a little luck and experience can become easier with every trip.
Avoid the cost of credit
Another lesson that individuals planning a holiday should learn is the importance of paying for their getaways in cash.
Putting some expenses on a credit card can be a helpful way to pay for larger items like excursions or hotel bookings (this also gives some added protection in the event of a cancellation), but holiday-goers should have the funds necessary to pay off these borrowings as swiftly as possible upon their return.
Setting aside a small amount each month to put towards an annual break can be a great way to help build a considerable cash pot with which to fund a getaway. Moreover, this is actually easier to achieve than many people might realise, simply set up a standing order to go into a separate savings account right after payday and you might not even notice the difference.
It doesn’t have to be a large amount being put aside each month, but every penny will count when it comes times to pay for expensive purchases like travel and accommodation. Being prepared and planning ahead can really help to take the sting out of travel costs.
Arrange excursions/travel plans in advance
The benefits of planning ahead should also extend to the things visitors wish to do during their time on holiday.
Getting in touch with excursion organizers in advance and taking the time to research the different options can help to deliver great savings for many holidaymakers.
Sometimes people can secure early booking discounts, while planning certain activities to take place on specific dates can help individuals to make the most of their time abroad, while reducing the need for unnecessary travel.
For those that are either over 65 or under the age of 26, travellers should also not be afraid to play the age card and ask if there are any discounts available for them. For example, entry to many galleries or museums in Italy is cheaper for EU residents over 65, while students can often get reduced-entry to many attractions as well – it always pays to ask.
Eating out need not break the bank
Eating out can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of holidaying in a foreign country, as this can open up one’s eyes (and taste buds) to new experiences and give a real insight into the local culture.
However, many travellers could be losing out on some significant savings by failing to heed some simple advice:
- Eat where the locals eat – this will not only often be cheaper than the more tourist-oriented establishments, but the food is also likely to be better and more authentic.
- Ask for tap water when eating out rather than bottled.
- Research the appropriate amount to tip – many people might be surprised just how much they might be over-tipping when travelling abroad; this can be especially true when visiting areas where the currency is significantly less valuable than sterling.
- Resist the urge to splurge.
By following just some of these recommendations, travellers could see themselves saving more than they realise – savings that could even go towards funding a few more guilt-free nights on the town or other fun activities.
Get the proper cover
And finally, all travellers planning to leave the country need to be sure they have the most appropriate cover in place to ensure they are not left out of pocket should the worst happen and they suffer a holiday mishap.
This could include such poor luck as losing luggage, having belongings stolen, an injury to oneself or a loved one, lost bookings, delayed/cancelled flights; the list of things that can go wrong when booking a holiday is actually fairly extensive.
Any of these problems could therefore place a considerable dampener on a getaway and, perhaps worse, cost a large amount to put right. However, this is where having the right travel insurance in place can make all the difference and ensure travellers are not left with a large bill, as well as helping to reduce the stress in what can be some very difficult situations.
All in all, taking any trip to a foreign country can be an expensive endeavour, but by following the easy advice set out here, we hope travellers will be able to make their money stretch as far as it will go and ensure all holidaymakers are able to have a great time when travelling, no matter the size of their budget.