The summer holiday season is still going strong, and there’s plenty of great getaways on offer before the kids go back to school. Summer is seen as the most expensive time of year to take a holiday, but it’s still possible to stay within budget. You probably know the destination, flights and accommodation you can afford but you may think the rest of your spending money won’t go as far as you want. Here are a few tips to help stretch your holiday cash to its max.
Avoid card charges
Avoid using your plastic as much as possible as credit and debit card providers often charge large fees for every transaction or withdrawal you make abroad. Carrying large amounts of cash around a foreign country can be stressful, so a safer option could be to use traveller’s cheques instead. If plastic is for you, consider applying for a prepaid card which you can top up with your own cash before you head off on holiday.
Exchange currency in your own country
It’s always a good idea to exchange your currency before you leave the country, but beware of airport money exchange booths which can offer the worst exchange rates available. Good value high street options include the Post Office or Marks & Spencer but before you even get to the high street, it’s a good idea to research the best rates online. Comparison sites such as TravelMoneyMax.com and ExchangeCurrency.com can be very insightful when it comes to exchange rate and fee comparisons.
When travelling across Europe, registering for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is great way to protect yourself against illness or accidents. It’s free too, but doesn’t necessarily protect you from all holiday eventualities. Make sure it’s relevant to you before applying. If you need extra cover, shop around. Price comparison sites such as compareethemarket.com or MoneySupermarket.com are excellent places to begin your research, allowing you to cross reference a wide range of insurance policies to find the best deals. Make sure you buy before you leave the UK, and double check that all of your requirements are covered in the policy. It’s also possible to register for travel insurance through your flight or holiday provider, but this can be more expensive than cover offered by independent providers. If you have to visit a country which requires extensive travel or medical insurance but are struggling to afford the coverage, you may be able to pay using lines of credit such as credit cards, bank overdrafts or a short term loan. One company which may be able to offer a short term loan is wonga.com. Wonga.com offers loans up to £400 and, if accepted, the money will usually be sent to your bank account in five minutes. Their service is 24/7, online and fully automated. The application process usually only takes a few minutes.
Make sure you research the etiquette before reaching your destination. Some countries and cultures don’t expect a tip, while the accepted percentage rate varies between other countries. If you’re not prepared to tip everywhere you go, it’s polite to leave a token amount if your service was up to standard. If you’re not prepared to tip at all, you won’t be run out of town but you might not be accepted back with open arms!
If you’re planning an adventure holiday or simply want to keep the kids entertained, any trips and events you embark on are best booked in advance. Package holiday providers offer a wide range of excursions but for a potentially inflated price if you pay while on holiday so, if you can find an excursion online before you leave the country, it’s best to book it then. Some excursion and tour operators may also offer online discounts or seemingly great deals, but make sure they’re reputable as you don’t want to be left high and dry when you actually go to redeem your excursion.