Holidays are great and once a holiday is finished, we already look forward to the next one. In fact, most of us cannot wait for it!
But they can get a bit pricey, especially when you have a big family, have to go during peak season or go away for a long period of time.
We all want to get the most out of our holidays without them breaking the bank.
So, here are some simple and easy tips that I normally do or look out for when I am planning my holidays.
1. BUY IN BULK
Some destinations offer combo tickets for multiple sights. If you are going to visit all of them or the majority, this is a good option to save some money.
Big cities such as Berlin, London, New York etc also offer city passes where you can choose the pass to be valid for a set number of days and then you can use this pass for those days to visit the sights that are included.
Always check though if this makes financial sense. Sometimes it is cheaper to visit and pay for the sights individually.
2. BUY IN ADVANCE AND ONLINE
Buying tickets in advance has several benefits. First, you do not have to queue up to buy tickets, hence you do not lose valuable time.
And second, buying in advance and especially online is mostly cheaper. Plenty of attractions offer a discount when buying online in advance compared to buying on the day.
Also, you can check in advance online if there is an offer for an attraction that you are interested in.
Lastly, when you buy attraction tickets, accommodation and so on ahead of time, you can better schedule and keep an overview of your spending. This way you are able to calculate how much you have spend already and how much of your budget you have left to spend during your holiday on eating out, buying souvenirs and going shopping.
3. TRAVEL DURING OFF SEASON
If you can, always try to avoid travelling during peak season. These are not just the busiest times of the year for people to go on holiday, but also the most expensive once.
If you can, travel during off season for example March to May and September to November. You will pay less, but you will most likely also have a better holiday experience in terms of less crowds and queues meaning more time and space to relax and take pictures.
This is especially important when visiting certain attractions that are very popular and busy for instance the Vatican in Rome or Disney World.
4. FOOD PREPARATIONS
Most people do not want to do this during holiday, me included, but preparing your own food can save you a lot of money.
I wish I could just eat breakfast in a cute local coffee shop every morning, buy some street food for lunch and have a lovely three course dinner each night in a restaurant.
But life does not work like this for the majority of us and certainly not me.
So, preparing food is a great option and sometimes a must to save some money that can be better spend on experiences.
Some breakfast options can be a few muffins and some fruits or cereal with milk. For lunch, a sandwich can easily be prepared. We just need to be creative.
Or if you do not want to make your own food, there are always ready-made meals. In the US for instance, most hotel rooms come with a microwave and they have plenty of ready-made meal options. This will save you a few quid compared to eating out at a diner each night.
5. LOYALTY SCHEMES
Many service providers such as hotels, booking websites, cruise companies, airlines and so on offer loyalty schemes.
Therefore, it is worth checking if you can earn points to get money off your next booking, earn some points for upgrades or get other benefits depending on the loyalty scheme of course such as free laundry. To maximise the benefits, book from one account to get the most points if possible.
Sometimes, you can also get more points if you make more or a certain amount of bookings. For example, if you are staying four nights in a hotel and the four nights cost exactly the same as 2 x two nights, you could make two bookings for the same price, hence collecting an extra booking towards a reward.
6. TAKE AN OVERNIGHT FLIGHT
Booking an overnight flight is a great way to save money. You leave at night and arrive the next morning, consequently saving you one night’s cost in a hotel.
However, the downside is that you are most likely going to be very tired the following day throughout the day, if you are like me and cannot sleep in the plane.
7. FLY DURING THE WEEK
This might not be new to a lot of people, but it is still worth mentioning.
Flights on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are mostly cheaper than flights on the rest of the week.
Mondays and Fridays are the extension days for a long weekend trip and Saturday and Sunday are of course the weekend. A lot of people fly during the weekend for leisure, but also to see their family, like me 🙂
8. DO NOT BOOK A HOTEL DOWNTOWN
Booking a hotel not right in the city centre can save you hundreds of pounds.
Especially in cities that have good transportation links for example London, it is not worth booking a hotel right next to Buckingham Palace.
You still have to take the tube around the city to get to the sights. Thus, you might just book the hotel on the outskirts of the city and save some money to spend on yummy Fish and Chips! 🙂
I always collect leaflets and brochures when I am on holiday and often these contain coupons with discounts.
These are helpful if you have not booked anything in advance or just do not know when to visit a particular sight yet.
This way, you have the freedom to go to the attraction whenever you feel like it, but still get a small discount.
10. STUDENT, CHILD AND SENIOR DISCOUNTS
Always ask at the ticket office if they offer discounts. Even when they do not advertise it.
Often attractions in for example small and/or remote towns do not advertise all prices, but might offer discounts for students, seniors or people with disabilities.
If you are a student, often your student ID card should suffice to qualify for the student discount, but of course not always.
There are a few student discount cards available that are recognised within your country and globally. One well known card is the International Student Identity Card, known as ISIC. This card gives students thousands of travel, food and shopping discounts in over 133 countries worldwide. There is a small fee for it, however if you travel a lot, it is worth it.
11. FREE THINGS TO DO
Look up free things to do in the destination that you are going to visit.
These could be museums, churches, temples, parks, gardens, markets, hikes, performances, art displays and the list goes on.
12. DOMESTIC HOLIDAY – STAYCATION
We do not always have to go far away or to new countries for holiday. A staycation and travelling around one’s own country can often (depending on the country of course) be a great and cheaper alternative as an overseas trip. For starters, you would save on the flight cost already.
13. COMPARE PRICES AND BOOKING SITES – NOW AND LATER
Most of us have our preferred booking website such as Booking. com for hotels or Skyscanner for flights.
These are great starting points, but we should always compare different sites to get the best deal. And this also includes checking prices from the provider directly, which a lot of people forget.
Moreover, if you have booked a hotel already that can be cancelled free of charge, it is worth checking once in a while if the price of the hotel room has changed over time. Sometimes the price of hotel rooms drop, the hotel has a special offer with certain conditions or all of a sudden breakfast is included.
In this case I would always recommend asking the hotel if they can amend your booking to reflect the new price or inclusions.
14. BE REALISTIC AND BUDGET
The most important point is of course to budget for your trip and have realistic expectations of how much o=money you have and how much you can spend.
I always know how much I want to spend on flights, hotels and how much I want to spend in total on the entire holiday.
If I stay five nights in Orlando and want to spend 100 $ a night for two people on the hotel, I know I will not go over 500 $. I will look for hotels that fit this criterion.
For me, the best way to budget is to know how much money I have available for the trip and subtract all expenses that I know already of such as flights, hotels and any attraction tickets that I have booked in advance. This way I know how much money I have left to pay for the rest.
WHAT ARE YOUR MONEY SAVING TIPS FOR HOLIDAYS?