If you’re thinking about a summer holiday, start planning now. With Christmas and the New Year coming up, you’ll need to keep a careful eye on your finances to make sure you have enough to see you through. If you’re thinking about a big family holiday in the warm weather, it might be a good idea to scale down your Christmas plans and add the savings to your holiday fund. For families with children, you can explain that the holiday will count as part of their Christmas gift.
Think about destinations you might be interested and do your research early, so you know exactly how much it’s likely to cost and where you’ll get the best value for money. Remember, the further you decide to go, the more expensive the holiday will be. You might like to consider a staycation and holiday here in the UK. There are some fantastic attractions right on your doorstep for a fraction of the price.
If the draw of somewhere overseas is too strong though, choose somewhere with a good exchange rate. Also, don’t buy your spending money from the airports, stations or hotels because it’s likely you’ll end up paying commission. Buy in advance from somewhere like the Post Office.
Be flexible over your dates. Try to avoid peak seasons, because holidays are almost always more expensive during those times. If you have children, obviously school holidays hit all peak payment times, so perhaps think about taking them out of school at a different time. You shouldn’t really do this more than once though, and you need to make it really clear to the kids that they’ll have to catch up on the work they miss.
Go for discount airlines and book online to avoid agency fees. Book as far in advance as possible to get the cheapest deals. If you can, fly mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) when the prices are much more reasonable – the weekends are very popular so usually the cost goes up accordingly.
Look out for good package deals, as it’s usually cheaper to buy everything together. To really save on your accommodation, consider going for a hostel options, or even a holiday home. If you favour the latter, it means you can cook your own meals instead of eating out every night and even do your own laundry if you need to. You might even want to check out house swap programmes, where you go and stay in someone else’s house while they stay in yours – what a great way to get to know the community you’re visiting!