21 ways to spend less on holiday

Everyone loves to go on holiday – the time away from the rat race really can do us the world of good, but it’s not always so great for the bank balance. Well, this doesn’t have to be the case and I’m about to show you 21 awesome ways to help shave extra pounds off the spending money total. Let’s get right into it……

Leave the hire car at the airport – whilst hiring a car can often seem like the cheaper option, for the most part you are better off riding the local public transport – and yes while it can take a little getting used to and is not always what you feel like after a groggy night flight (cheaper), it’s often a really simple way of saving a bucket of cash.

Hit the local restaurants – dining out is often one of the best bit’s about going on holiday – but also the most expensive. If you really want to trim down the old spending money budget, then eat in, but that’s not what holidays are about right? So if you must dine out – go to local places, not the tourist spots, who will charge double what the little town restaurants will. Also, be careful what you are paying for, sometimes other countries add entrees or other random dishes to the bill automatically, kinda like they do with bread in the UK, except bread isn’t normally charged for. Check with the waiter about the cost of anything they bring over – if anything a 2 second conversation could end up either saving you money or teaching you a new custom.

Drink local beer and wine – if you’re not to fussy about the brand of beer you drink then definitely make the most of the local beer they have at bars and restaurants. Imported beer is expensive and although the taste may be familiar, you can often save a tidy sum simply by ordering the local plonk.

Understand tipping étiquette – find out the tipping requirements before you head off on your travels, this really can save you any unnecessary tipping cash as well as looking like a complete tight ass if it’s a required part of your trip.

Shop at local supermarkets – if you are self catering then make sure you find yourself a nice little local and most of all cheap supermarket. There are plenty of touristy places near beach fronts or heavily hotel populated areas that will happily charge you an arm and a leg for a bottle of water, but there are always always always local places (where the locals shop) which will be much cheaper on most if not all items.

Haggle – simple – don’t pay full price if you think haggling is an option – I know it’s not the done thing in most western countries, but you will be surprised at how much a little haggling can save you – so do it (where appropriate).

Don’t use sun loungers – OK this one may be a little extreme but what I’m getting at is that you should really find out how much a sun lounger is going to cost you before you sit your bum down on one! Most beach resorts keep an eye on who is using a sun bed and then come round collecting the cash, but it’s not unheard of for charges to run into double figures – depending on where you are in the world of course – so ask before you bask (in the sun…..sorry)

Carry your own suitcase – this goes back to the tipping thing – if you’re not to shattered from the long ass flight you have just jumped off then why not carry your own suitcase to the cab/coach/hotel room etc. I mean you’ve bought it all these thousands of miles by yourself right? I’m sure you can manage a few more feet to save yourself a few smackers.

Buy suncream before you travel – Sun cream is essential to almost every holiday – even if you know it’s going to be bad weather, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so why not save yourself a few bob by making sure you buy your suncream before you travel. 9 times out of 10 suncream is much much cheaper in the supermarkets at home, they have buy one get on free deals or two for ones etc, but wait until you get abroad, and you will without doubt be slapped with outrageous tourist prices.

Consider all inclusive – Did you think about booking a all inclusive holiday? Probably not because it looked just too expensive, but in reality, once you take all the spending money that goes on food and drink into account it probably works out cheaper. Not all the time mind, but it’s well worth doing a little tally up just to get a rough idea of whether or not it’s worth looking into. Beware, there are a few drawbacks to all inclusive travel though, the first being you get bored of the same old food after a few days of eating it, the second being that it really limit’s the restaurants you get to experience, for obvious reasons. You’ll tell yourself that you will make the effort to try out the local eateries, but I guarantee as soon as you have the option of eating free food, or paying for it you’ll be hitting the all inclusive buffet faster than I can say meat and chips.

Check your travel insurance – stupid mistake to make but one of the most common travel insurance errors ever made is having appropriate cover – check it covers the place or places you will be visiting. I’ve done it myself a few times. I’m on the plan about to take off to the big old US of A and then it hit’s me, I only went a got myself european travel cover – see, stupid, but so easily doable!

Arrange your own excursions – excursions can be a really great way of seeing a lot of places on your holidays but the lovely pre formatted day often comes with a hefty price tag when in reality you could grab yourself a map from the hotel reception, jump on a bus or train and stick your own little excursion together. Before you know it you’ll be knee deep in culture and absolutely loving it!

Have a set budget per day – make sure you predefine a daily budget before you leave based on the total amount that you want to spend and stick to it. It’s fine to roll money over, in fact you’ll have a great few days if you manage to bump up your daily budgets by cutting back the days before, but just remember the golden rule, never ever over spend in any given day – that will do nothing but ruin your holiday and make you feel skint!

Understand the expected weather and prepare to minimise expenditure – This one sounds silly but it catches so many holiday makers out. Check the weather forecast for the local area before you set out on your travels. This will save you wasting a silly amount of money on additional clothes if it’s raining or vice versa, buying beach wear and lilos etc. If you know what to expect, you know what to pack and this really helps keep holiday spending down!

Take a packed lunch on excursions – if you must join pre arranged group excursions then be sure to take a packed lunch with you to avoid any hidden eating charges. Normally when you book an excursion they let you know that you will be stopping for lunch at which time you will have the opportunity to go for a wander and grab a bite to eat. However this is not always the case – especially when you are taking a trip to a remote location, say up a mountain or a cave or something. In this scenario it’s not unknown for the excursion people to prebook you into a local restaurant (which they probably have some sort of agreement with). They will tell you how it’s the best restaurant you will ever experience but that the menu is set to help them deal with the mass numbers that will be rolling through the doors at exactly the same time. Then once the meal is over you get hit with the per person cost, which is almost certainly going to be much much more expensive then if you were to use the time to go for a wander and enjoy a romantic lunch taking in the views or something. Antisocial? Maybe – but who cares – most of the others on the tour can’t speak your language anyways.

Buy a phone card – One of the things about going away is that you often have to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Taking your mobile and making a quick call is always the easy option, but it comes with a hefty price tag and one that not only you, but the person you are calling will pay. The smart caller will nip into one of the many local stores surrounding the phone boxes (yes they still exist) and buy themselves a phone card, which are on average 20 times cheaper then calling from a mobile phone.

Use free internet for news – buying the UK newspapers on holiday can be expensive and it’s nearly always yesterdays news! So why bother? Just hunt out the nearest free internet point, most likely in the public library, and check the up to date news out for free. Job done!

Use local discounts – you know how this works, every single hotel reception or tourist spot in the world has a little kiosk or display stuffed full of leaflets of exciting activities and other random things to do during your trip. Well, the bonus here is that most, if not all, of these funky little leaflets includes a discount of some kind, whether it’s in the form of a money saving voucher or just lists details on when is cheapest to visit, it’s well worth grabbing yourself a handful of leaflets that you’re interested in and checking out just how much extra spending cash you could save.

Make the most of happy hours – hit the bars at the right times – preferably during their happy hours where food and drink will be much cheaper. Happy hours are designed to draw in the punters in a competitive area so make the most of this treat! The seasoned pro schedules the happy hour and bounces around to maximise cheap drink time!

Don’t use credit cards – the rule here is to know what you’re spending and not pay extra for the convenience of a credit card. Every time you use a credit card abroad (for the most part) you will be paying some fees – these can be avoided by paying cash for your purchases – but be sure not to carry your entire spending budget with you at once – that’s just stupid, keep it in the hotel room safety deposit box!

Use libraries for free maps and guides – why not use the local services available when navigating around, for example, pop into the local library to plan your day using a free guide or map that they provide – and while you’re there, jump on the internet to get your news fix and check emails for free.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cutting back on holiday cash costs, but at least it’s a decent start! Stay tuned for even more fantastic money saving ideas coming to this blog soon!

As always make sure you save money before you travel by using one of our great Thomas Cook* or First Choice discount codes when booking online, and if you can’t find one, then at least be sure to book your holiday online, which on average saves you a minimum of 10% off the total price.

* link removed due to page removal