Going on holiday doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank, and while having to think constantly about your budget during your time away from work and home might not seem like the best way to approach your holiday, you will barely even notice if you plan carefully and well in advance. The following tips will help you to have a cheaper, stress-free holiday:
1— Book Flights Far in Advance
Although last-minute discounts do still exist, particularly on long-haul flights, you will generally be better off booking your flights as far in advance as possible, and this is particularly the case with the budget airlines in Europe. With such airlines, you can easily end up paying four or five times more by leaving it until a week or two before you go. To find the cheapest flights to your destination of choice, try using any of the online search engines which are dedicated to this purpose. Skyscanner.com is one of the most popular, and it displays flights from almost all international airlines in the world.
2— Use Discount Websites
Travel agents, hotels, restaurants and many other venues frequently post special discount packages on discount websites. One of the world’s most popular of such websites is groupon.com, although there are numerous others, including those which cater exclusively to a specific country. Using discount websites, you can quickly hunt down the best bargains, and in many cases, you can even buy a complete package holiday online at a very generous discount. If you prefer to keep your own itinerary rather than an all-inclusive package holiday, you should still check out the discount websites for special promotions on hotels and other venues in your destination of choice.
3—Avoid Airport Parking
If you have ever used long-term airport parking before, then you already know just how much of a rip-off it can be. Airport parking can greatly increase the budget of your holiday, and while it provides a degree of convenience, there is usually plenty of equally practical yet much cheaper options available. Near most major airports, there are many small businesses and individual air port parking lots who will be happy to look after your car for you while you are away without charging you the extortionate fees that the airports do. Alternatively, public transport is another cheaper possibility than airport parking.
4— Be Wary of Exchange Rates
Exchange rates fluctuate all the time, and you can get an idea of what to expect by looking at any of the online currency converters. However, these only provide the best possible exchange rates, so you must expect to pay a little bit more. Be sure to shop around for the best exchange rates, and above all, avoid exchanging money at the airport. Do not be encouraged to exchange money at any airport or anywhere else just because they advertise the fact that they charge no commission —they will be more than making up for this by providing you with an extremely poor sell rate. In most cases, it is better to rely on withdrawing money while you are abroad, since the banks often have more favorable exchange rates than currency converters do.
5 —Shop Around for Travel Insurance
For most destinations, travel insurance is an absolute must, and in a few countries, it is even an entry requirement. While most travel insurance policies will also cover you for things like missed flights and lost or stolen baggage, the most important coverage is for healthcare abroad. Without insurance, an accident which requires you to have medical attention can end up costing thousands in some countries. You might not always need medical insurance, since some countries have reciprocal health agreements with one another. Be sure to check first on the government’s travel advisory website for your country.
6 —Minimize Eating Out
Eating out regularly can quickly blow any budget to pieces, particularly in some countries where restaurants might be significantly more expensive than they are back home. If you do decide to eat out a few times, be sure to do your research first, and avoid the often overpriced tourist hot spots where you can easily end up spending several times more than any local would. If you are doing a road trip or self-catering, take what you can with you and be prepared to shop like a local to get the best goods at the best prices.
With so many options around these days, budget travel is very much a possibility, and with a little research and planning in advance, you’ll be able to have cheaper holidays and more of them. You should also choose your destinations carefully, since some countries are orders of magnitude cheaper than others while still having plenty to offer even the most demanding among tourists.