Dreaming of the Costa del Sol or basking in Bali, but dreading the cost? Check out the Money Doctor’s 6 money-saving holiday tips and make sure you don’t miss a trick when you’re treating you and your family this summer.
1. Book smart
- Ditch the travel agent – you don’t need the middle-man, or the cost! Trawl SkyScanner for cheap flights and set an alert on GoogleFlights to see if they fluctuate.
- Build your own holiday on sites like ClickAndGo, LastMinute.com, Secretescapes.com, HolidayPirates, BudgetTravel.ie or SunSearchHolidays (note: many HolidayPirates trips depart from the UK). A quick look on SkyScanner and AirBnB this week resulted in a 7-night trip to Vigo, Spain for two adults and two children for less than €840.
- Travelling last minute is one of the best ways to capitalise on resorts rushing to fill rooms at low rates. HolidayPirates is offering 13 nights for two in Bali at the end of May, leaving from Birmingham (€34 return from Dublin with Ryanair!), for €560pp. By the way, it is so cheap once you get there.
- Buy through sites like Expedia.com or Booking.com to accumulate rewards that convert to money off future holidays.
2. Think ahead
- Money-saving sites like Pigsback, Groupon, DoneDeal and LivingSocial work just as well abroad. You can find some real bargains on local events, meals, spa deals and day trips – so get clicking.
3. Reward yourself
- Check if you can convert any of your SuperValu spending to Avios points (Aer Lingus’ loyalty scheme); or redeem your Tesco Clubcard points against Stena Line or Irish Ferries travel tokens.
4. Food and drink
- Staying in an Airbnb or apart-hotel gives you the option to shop at a local supermarket and cook your own food. While it might not be for every night – remember, you’re still on holidays! – it’s an excellent way to save money.
- Consider packing a picnic for days on the beach, or backpack snacks for sightseeing. You’ll save a pretty penny – and you’ll never have to queue for a table!
5. Banking abroad
- One of the least expensive, most secure and convenient methods of payment, credit cards are also one of the most widely accepted – and they’re less conspicuous than a wad of cash. The only problem may be the exchange risk.
- If you’re travelling within the EU, most Irish banks don’t charge for ATM withdrawals (although foreign banks may impose their own charges).
- For US Canada, Australia and UK, try the nifty An Post FX card – you buy the currencies here in Ireland - lock and load - at half decent rates and no commission. It’s also a safe way to travel.
6. Travel Insurance
This is important, and for the sake of peace of mind, it is well worth the investment.
- If your family travels more than once every two years, multi-trip insurance is almost always better value than a single-policy purchase.
- You may see insurers offering both Travel Disruption and Flight Cancellation cover. There’s usually no need to select both options, as you can end up paying for the same cover twice.
- If you have health insurance, you are almost guaranteed to save money on your travel cover – but even gadget insurance can save you up to 10% if you book with the same insurer.
- Make sure to start your travel insurance from the day you buy it; that way, if something happens before you leave, you will be covered.