With economic doom and gloom never far from the news headlines, we’re more conscious than ever of how we’re spending our cash. We’ve put together these tips to help stretch your holiday budget as far as possible.
Planning your holiday
Try to book early. You’re more likely to secure your first choice of dates, accommodation, ferry crossings and campsites, especially if you are looking to travel in the school holidays.
If you are planning to fly, the best deals can usually be found early, as flight prices increase closer to the departure date. Book your airport parking in advance – you can expect to pay up to 50% more if you just turn up and pay on the day.
Airlines have strict rules on baggage allowance and will charge you per kilo for any weight you are over their limit. Cut down your baggage weight by booking linen and towel hire from Canvas Holidays.
Ferry supplements and flights are usually cheaper if you are able to travel midweek. If you do have to travel at the weekends, look for an off-peak departure time. When you are planning your journey, remember you must arrive on site before 10pm.
If you can, travel outside the main school holiday dates. You’ll benefit from lower prices on both accommodation and travel, plus take advantage of quieter resorts.
Pre-plan your meals and snacks for the journey. Take a picnic, and make this part of your holiday! Buy drinks and snacks before you board, as once en route, a bottle of water can cost pounds instead of pence.
Avoid buying your petrol and diesel on the motorway, where it is more expensive. Supermarket petrol stations are usually cheapest for buying fuel. Use the self service option if it is available as many stations will charge a few cents extra a litre if the attendant fills your car up for you.
Before purchasing your holiday currency, take time to shop around for the best exchange rate. Don’t be tempted to leave it to the last minute and purchase your currency at the airport or on the ferry – you’ll find the exchange rates are much higher.
If possible, avoid using a credit or debit card while you are on holiday. Most providers will charge commission every time you use your card abroad – check rates with your own bank before you travel. There is some good information on the best credit cards to use abroad here: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money
If you need to use your mobile phone while you are away, check roaming costs with your network provider. It’s easy to rack up a huge bill using 3G while you are away, so turn it off as you leave home! If you do need to use the internet, accessing WiFi on your campsite will be a much cheaper option. It’s probably worth reminding older children and teenagers of this as well…
Don’t forget receiving a text is usually free, or at least cheaper than receiving a call, so tell your friends and family to text rather than ring.
A good value option when eating out is to order the ‘menu of the day’. This is usually a two or three course meal cooked using local ingredients, and offers better value than ordering ‘à la carte’. Try having your main meal of the day at lunchtime – restaurants offer a fixed price lunchtime menu just as good as the evening one, but usually cheaper. It’s also worth staying away from the main tourist attractions in most towns and cities and looking for restaurants hidden down side streets.
Ask for the house wine with your meal. It is generally good standard, and cheaper than buying a named bottle. It is usually decanted into a glass bottle or jug, and served in quarter, half or full litres. A quarter litre usually works out better value than ordering one or two glasses. If you want water, ask for a jug or glass, which is usually free and saves paying for expensive mineral water.
…and eating in
A self-catering holiday is already one of the most budget friendly holidays; so make use of the excellent cooking facilities in your Canvas accommodation. The larger local supermarkets have a great range of products, and often have special offers and two for one deals. Like at home, it is cheaper to buy multi-packs, so buy large items such as bottled water in bulk. If you are taking your car, take essential items such as tea, coffee and washing up liquid with you.
Visit the market for buying local produce. It makes a free, fun day out, and you can even try your hand at bartering! Eat seasonal fruit and vegetables, and buy local products whenever possible. Don’t forget to stock up on your favourite foreign products before you travel home. Items like cheese and wine are much cheaper than in UK supermarkets.
Activities and days out
When you book a camping holiday with Canvas Holidays, you can take advantage of all the on-site facilities on offer. You’ll find swimming pools, local beaches, sports facilities, entertainment and children’s clubs. Access to swimming pools and entertainment is usually free – there may be a small charge for other sports activities.
If you are planning on city sightseeing and visiting museums while you are away, find out if there are any passes, which give discounted entry to museums, attractions and even public transport. Some attractions offer a discounted rate if you buy your tickets on line before you leave home – it is worth doing a bit of research and booking in advance if possible.
If you are having a family day out remember to take a picnic. It’s better value than eating in a restaurant and a great way to spend some quality family time together.
Do you have any useful money saving tips for your holiday?