Holidays abroad tend to come with quite a price tag attached. Here are ten tips that can soften the blow and help you cut your costs:
- As always, your surest way of affording a holiday is to budget in advance for it. Make sure you have the cash BEFORE you book your holiday. The last thing you want is to be paying for a holiday long after you’ve been and come back.
- Did you know that you can buy your holiday money online AND get it delivered to your door? Which? found that buying your holiday money online can often be cheaper than buying it on the high-street. Do shop around though and watch out for delivery charges that may tip the scales in favour of high-street suppliers. Try to avoid buying your forex at the airport, you are bound to pay a premium for this convenience.
- Know what your bank will charge you for using your credit card or debit card while abroad (i.e. ask them what their foreign exchange loading fee is). There are only a handful of suppliers that don’t charge you for using your card. One transaction that you should never make while abroad if you want to avoid high bank charges are cash withdrawals on your credit card!
- Another option for holiday spending abroad is to use a prepaid card. Essentially, these are cards that you load with a specified amount of cash and then use to make withdrawals or purchases. You can top them up. These are a great way of ensuring you stay within your budget. See the www.which.co.uk/prepaidcards to find out more.
- Why buy a guidebook when you can borrow it from the library for free?
- Make sure you always pay in the local currency and not in sterling. Hotels and shops charge currency conversion rates at a premium to those charged by banks.
- Shop around for travel insurance and don’t just take the first policy you are offered.
- Did you know that if you cancel your flight, even a non-refundable one, you are still entitled to claim back the tax and air passenger duty? Sometimes airlines charge an admin fee if you do this, but it may well be worth it if you’re going on a long-haul flight.
- Following a change in EU roaming rules, effective 15th June 2017, you can now ‘roam like a t home’ while using your mobile phone while travelling within the EU. This means that all calls, texts and data used in the EU will come out of your normal UK allowance. This is a huge bonus, but BEWARE, should you go over your UK allowance, you will be heavily penalised. See www.ofcom.org.uk for more information. For travel outside of the EU, consider using an international calling card or pay phones for local calls instead.
- You can get free state-provided medical treatment in the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland if you have a European Health Insurance Card. You can get one for free at www.ehic.org. Note that some treatments may require you to pay a supplement but it is definitely worth considering. Beware of any websites that want to charge you for this card.