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Top tips for a cheaper holiday

Your annual holiday is perhaps one of your biggest extravagances of the year. You work hard all year, so you figure that you should treat yourself and/or your family. But it’s so easy to overdo it and sometimes you find you are still paying it off by the time you get round to your next hol.

If you’re looking for a way out of the annual financial headache brought on by your holiday break, then there are a number of things you can do to keep a tight rein on the purse strings.

A good start is to begin ‘saving’ money before you have even left. If you shop around for your holiday, then there are some great bargains to be found. If you are reasonably flexible, then grab a last minute deal, which will save you a packet.
Don’t pay for your holiday on the credit card, unless you really have to – even then make sure it’s a 0% offer giving you, in most cases, the minimum of around six months to pay it off without incurring any interest charges.

Shop around for your insurance – don’t just accept the deal offered by your travel agent. It is highly likely that finding your own will work out significantly cheaper and you can tailor it to your requirements should you wish to try activities not covered by standard insurance policies.
If you are not particularly good with money and sticking to a tight budget, then consider an ‘all-inclusive’ holiday whereby your initial outlay may be more, but there shouldn’t be much need to put your hand in your pocket again, with most of your food and drink and some entertainment needs catered for.

Think what you are taking and whether you could actually buy it abroad for less. Certain items such as suncream generally work out cheaper if you take them with you, while other items such as clothing may be cheaper at your destination.
Take advantage of those places offering 0% commission, usually your own bank, before you leave. It might also be worth keeping an eye on currency markets throughout the year – you may get a much better rate out of season.

When on holiday

Try not to use cash machines while abroad. They may be convenient, but you also incur charges which you do not realise until you open your bank statement some time later. Shop around for the best rates when changing money and watch out for some ridiculous rates of commission. Set yourself a daily budget and try to stick to it. Realise that if you overdo it one day, then you will have to claw that back over the following days. One day of extravagance needs to be followed by some belt tightening.

Avoid paying for things with your credit card. If you are not in a position to pay the balance off when you first get your bill, you’ll end up paying much more in the long run.

A trip to the local supermarket should get you stocked up with some of the things you need. If you’re going somewhere hot, then you going to need lots of liquid refreshment. By buying plenty of bottled water and soft drinks from the supermarket will save you having to shell out endlessly for drink after drink.

One definite way to save some money is not to eat out all the time. If you have self-catering facilities, then a meal prepared by yourself with a bottle of cheap plonk can make a pleasant change and in the process save you plenty.