The New Year brings great new opportunities to travel and is one of the most popular times to book a holiday, giving you something to look forward to during miserable January. Problem is, after all those extra expenses over Christmas, most people are feeling the pinch so don’t want to spend large amounts on travel. Here’s how you can save money when you book your 2020 holiday.
Book at the Right Time
Holiday and flight prices tend to go up and down throughout the year, depending on lots of different factors. There’s no sure-fire way to know the cheapest time to book a holiday, otherwise everyone would do it, but internet sleuths have noticed that booking six months in advance seems to be best for packages, and three months in advance for flights only. If you don’t mind where you go, then last minute deals are also a good choice for those on a budget and are a fun way to see another country.
Choose Inexpensive Times
Unfortunately, if you’re travelling with kids, you’re often bound to school holiday times. This means facing the dreaded price hikes that are common during half-terms and the summer holidays. Take a child out of school during term-time, and you risk a fine for unauthorised absence. Some parents may have an understanding headteacher that’ll let you off for a day or two, so you could get cheaper flights by travelling a couple of days early. Booking indirect flights or choosing less popular airports can also make your flights cheaper, even during term time.
Book Now and Pay in Instalments
If you’re broke now, but can afford to pay a little each month, then you can book a holiday and pay it in instalments. However, you should make sure you have enough to cover the payments each month, otherwise, your holiday could be cancelled, and you may lose what you’ve paid up to that point. Paying in instalments is great for those who like to plan in advance, otherwise, put your money in your savings and book a last-minute deal instead.
Try a Different Type of Holiday
Many families go on the same type of holiday each year, but it may be less expensive to book a different kind of trip. People on a budget will often opt for all-inclusive, as they don’t need to bring much spending money, but you should also price up villas in Algarve and compare the two options. It’s likely that the latter is cheaper, even if you factor in lots of restaurant meals. Portugal, for example, tends to be an inexpensive place to eat out, with many restaurants offering ‘pratos do dia’, the menu of the day, as a set meal. Hire a car and you can also stock up at the big supermarkets away from the tourist resorts.
Consider Whether to Hire a Car
Hiring a car is an excellent way to see a country, but it’s wasteful to hire one for an entire week if you’re going to be sat by the pool. However, the transfers offered by tour companies can also be extortionate, sometimes costing more than the flight. Price up private transfers or a taxi to get to and from your accommodation, then consider renting a car for two or three days during your stay. This may work out cheaper than simply booking a whole week of car hire. Also, picking up a car away from the airport saves you a load on fees.
Stay Away From the Big Attractions
Places like theme parks and waterparks are designed to take money out of your pocket. From bottles of water to lunch and souvenirs, you always end up spending loads more than you think. If you must visit a major attraction, look online for inexpensive tickets, go after lunch when it’s quieter and everyone is fed, and try to avoid the extras such as ride photos. Otherwise, look for free activities, from hiking to days at the beach, which allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of your destination.
Shop Local and Enjoy Authentic Cuisine
Imported goods cost more when you’re abroad, so if you’re travelling on a budget, shop like a local. Find supermarkets away from tourist traps and you’ll not only get fresher, more delicious food, you’ll save money too.
Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a great trip. With a bit of planning and creativity, your summer holiday in 2020 could be the best yet.