With summer upon us, millions are planning their holidays. Although British holidaymakers have had to tighten their belts significantly over the past seven years or so, those who are planning to travel in Europe are now getting a bit of a break due to the rise of sterling against the euro and several other currencies. British travelers can save potentially hundreds of pounds on holidays, particularly if they book independently rather than going through an agency.
Granted, significant savings are likely only if you are paying for accommodation priced in euros, as certain tour operator packages priced in pounds may be based on out-of-date exchange rates. And these rates are not so attractive given the fact that the pound is getting stronger. Although independent booking generally offers less protection against financial failure, you can compensate for this to some extent by buying the right kind of travel insurance.
Whether you book independently or not there are still many ways you can save on that well earned holiday, no matter where and what time of year you go. Here are a few suggestions.
Consider what you can really afford.
This may seem obvious, but some of us lose our heads a little when it comes to planning (or not planning) our holidays. Some people plan and budget for the better part of a year to ensure that they will have enough money to go on holiday without compromising their finances. Others are more impulsive and go when and where the spirit moves them. If you really have your heart set on a certain destination but need a financial boost, short-term financing may be the answer. As you consider a loan, do your research, using sites like this to compare financing options.
Plan for an off season holiday.
Though many are already committed to a summer holiday, those who arent locked in to summertime travel should consider an off season trip. Or if you can only get time off from work in the summer, visit a spot that is normally a winter attraction. Tourist attractions normally raise their prices during the heaviest tourism periods for the simple reason that they know travelers will willingly pay more sometimes much more. So unless you are attached to a seasonal activity such as sunbathing or skiing, consider a destination/time where you can enjoy not only lower prices but also thinner crowds. You might even find that you will get better and more personal service as the shopkeepers, concierges and servers will not be so overwhelmed with customers.
Dont make air travel more expensive than it has to be.
Air travel can certainly be costly but there are several ways to cut corners, apart from booking the right flights at the right time. (You probably know not to fly on Saturdays, and you also may know that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days of the week to travel.) Once youre on the plane resist the temptation to spend money on concessions, particularly alcoholic beverages. For one thing you dont want to be sloshed by the time you reach your destination. For another, that high-altitude cocktail is probably costing you 30 per litre or more. So stick with water or a soft drink. There are numerous other ways to save on airline travel: secrets that the airlines dont seem all that willing to share, particularly if things go wrong (flight delays, lost luggage and so forth).
Dont be shy about haggling.
Many Brits have a shyness about haggling that simply isnt seen in many other cultures. In fact some cultures consider haggling to be a normal part of any business transaction. Dont be afraid to haggle over the cost of a souvenir, a service or even a room. You might be surprised to find out how much you can save. Be nice about it, of course. If it doesnt work you havent lost anything, but if you never try haggling, youll never know just how much money you might have saved.
Dont overdo it with the souvenirs.
Its natural to want to bring home mementos of your trip or gifts for loved ones who couldnt accompany you. But so many holidaymakers get carried away and end up spending far more than is wise, and perhaps more than they can reasonably fit into their luggage without buying another bag and paying extra for the transport home. If you see an item you absolutely must have, consider whether its really one of a kind or if you might be able to get an identical or similar item elsewhere. Traveling light is almost always the wiser choice, whether youre arriving or departing.
All of the above are really common sense tips, but easy to overlook when one is faced with the rush and excitement of traveling. You can still have a great time and come home with wonderful memories if you focus on the practical as well as the fun.