Brrr! It’s December already, and it certainly feels like it. It’s been freezing this last week! Still, it’s not enough to dampen my Christmas spirit, and now that the last month of the year is upon us, it feels like you can taste the holidays. Of course, for some of us, the holidays might actually mean a winter getaway – either on these shores or abroad.
Certainly there are few things which can refresh the body and mind quite like a holiday, so if it is something you’ve booked, then good on you. But for those still considering a sneaky December getaway, or in the process of planning one, I thought I’d share some thoughts to help you make a handy saving or three, without impacting on the quality of your trip. After all, each penny saved can help to reduce the post-Christmas financial hangover!
Get clever with Forex
If you’re looking to go abroad, it’s become more crucial than ever to get the best rate of exchange. Since the Brexit vote, our dear old pound has taken a bit of a tumble, and isn’t as powerful as it was six months ago. It amazes me that people still queue at airports, banks or hotels to change their money, when the rates of exchange are so poor. Tucked-away outlets tend to be more competitive, but the real game-changer has been companies like Transfer Wise and Revolut; the latter of which allows you to transfer funds from your bank account to your Revolut card (with no fees), and allows you to spend in over 120 currencies, defaulted to the best available rate.
Travel to and from airports
One cost which often gets forgotten is that of going to and from the airport. Express services tend to be very costly, while calling up a taxi on the day will seldom be cost effective. Plan things accordingly, so that you have plenty of time, and don’t have to take costly short cuts at the last minute with public transport. And if you prefer to drive, have a look around at the different parking options. Those further away from the airport with a shuttle service are often significantly cheaper (especially if you book well in advance), while some councils have car parks especially for holidaymakers which cost just £5-£10 a day.
Save by buying going bulk
Flight brokers are a bit of a hidden treasure, and if you’re looking to book both flights and accommodation (and car hire), companies such as Expedia tend to be able to offer hefty discounts. They also offer extra protection for payment when it comes to such ‘combination’ bookings. Then there is the gift of the package holiday, which, particularly for popular resorts, tends to be a big saver. That’s because travel agents have seats to fill, and, come last-minute vacancies, deals tend to be very attractive, as long as you have a bit of flexibility with the where and when.
Pay on credit card for protection
Regardless of how established you think an airline is, some do go bust, and that could leave you financially exposed. Booking via credit card puts all that to bed by virtue of the protection afforded to you with Section 75. Added to that, credit card companies also tend to offer good rewards such as cashback for spending when spending with them. That said, all of this is only beneficial if you are able to clear your balance at the end of the month, because if not, the APRs on credit cards can be extortionate. If you do need a bit of a helping hand to fund your holiday, it may be more cost-effective to get a low-interest loan to cover it.
Perhaps the best way of all to eliminate issues with things like Forex or airport costs is to simply stay local instead. Staycations are becoming all the more popular – it’s almost as if Brits are awakening to the rugged beauty of our beautiful country! Not only that, but there is such a wide variety of different things to do and see here. You could go castle-hopping in Wales, visit the glorious beaches of Cornwall, ogle the beauty of the Lake District or get a houseboat in the Norfolk Broads for a week. Holidays really don’t need to be a wallet buster. Just a bit of research really can make your pennies go a long way.