9 ways to save money on your summer holiday

Enjoy unbeatable value on your next holiday with our must-read advice

Despite the depressing economic climate, the UK travel industry continues to offer unbeatable value for sun-seeking Brits.

Whether you’re planning a long-haul trip to sunnier climes, or prefer to relax in England’s green and pleasant land, Quidco Discover has nine top tips to ensure you get value for money and minimise your stress levels ahead of your holiday.

Do your research

It’s amazing to think that booking a holiday used to involve hundreds of brochures and a somewhat tedious and tense lunch break appointment with a travel agent. Thankfully, the advent and continued growth of sites such as Expedia and Netflights has changed all that. Now everyone has the ability to tailor and book dream trips without leaving the house.

It doesn’t matter where or when you want to go, you can find great deals comparing all manner of flights, hotels and deals all in one place. As the old saying goes ‘the early bird, catches the worm’ so be sure to book as early as possible to ensure you get the best prices.

Risk booking late

If you aren’t in the position to book in advance, last minute holidays are another great way to save money. Leaving it until the last minute isn’t for everyone, especially if you have small children, but if you are in a position where you can hold off on booking your holiday, you can make great savings. The likes of lastminute.com and laterooms.com are fine proponents

Get Social

In addition to signing up for email newsletters, one of the best ways to keep abreast of the latest ‘flash’ offers is to ‘follow’ and ‘like’ hotels, airlines and travel websites on Twitter and Facebook. Social media is increasingly being used by big companies to post great value deals on a first come, first serve basis – be sure to keep your eyes peeled then click, book, fly and enjoy.

Get Insured

If you are heading abroad in the coming months you’d be an absolute fool not to make sure you have adequate insurance. It may not be the most glamorous thing to organise, but it could be the most important. If you ever travel to Europe, you should be taking a free European Health Insurance card (EHIC) along.

The cards can be used in state run hospitals in EU countries and they entitle the holder to care at the same price as the locals. You should always have some extra travel insurance to compliment the EHIC card as this covers any state or private medical treatment. To ensure you get the best deal make sure you check out the great cashback deals available via Quidco on both annual and single trip policies. A small outlay now could save you huge money in the future if you happen to get injured.

Stay in England

The upcoming summer is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent history for Brits. As well as the usual sporting highlights such as Henley regatta and Wimbledon, England will be travelling in June to France for the European Championships, the world’s eyes will be on Rio 2016 Olympic Games. With so much action on the horizon there are plenty of reasons to stay home, light up the barbeque and soak up the atmosphere with friends and family.

Of course, if you’re a Londoner fearful of the impact of an influx of tourists, a short break in the countryside could be just the ticket. There’s none of the hassle involved in flying abroad and with thetrainline.com offering great discounts, there’s no need to break the bank getting around either.

Avoid peak periods

It’s no secret that holidaying during the school holidays will set you back far more than if you schedule a trip in either late spring or early autumn. Prices for both hotels and flights soar in July and August while airports can be unbearably busy with stressed parents and excitable children.

If you have no room for manouevre regarding your travel dates, but want to save a few pounds, why not cut your holiday from 14 to 10 days or from a week to a five day short-break. You can then use any spare annual leave later in the year for extended weekends or the odd day out with the kids in the UK.

Remember the extras

From parking at the airport, organising transfers at your destination, hiring a car to booking excursions and attractions it’s amazing how often the extras mount up when you’re heading off on holiday. By booking these important elements of your holiday in advance using a site such as lowcosttravelextras.com you could make great savings – the key is leaving yourself enough time to find the best deals.

It’s also worthwhile checking that your passport is still in date The current adult standard price is £77.50 but rises to £129.50 if you leave it late and need a one-day premium service.

Go all inclusive

Package deals aren’t for everybody, but if you’re eager to sun worship and aren’t fussed about bespoke details, they’re the perfect way to secure a cheap trip abroad. Often including all manner of extras such as food and drink, resort activities and entertainment, they’re predominantly aimed at those who are looking to get away for a standard week, ten day or fortnight long period. In keeping with advice hinted at earlier in this piece, the best time to book a package deal is either very early or very late, and to target periods outside of school holidays.

An added bonus of package deals is that they are usually ATOL protected (although you should still check the T&Cs) which means if the holiday company fails, either you’ll be given a refund or, if you’re away, can complete your trip. If you’re booking your trip via a travel agent on the phone, rather than online, have a go at haggling. Get quotes online and simply ask if they are willing to better the deal per person. Moneysaving guru Martin Lewis has more on his website.

Don’t change money at the airport

In the rush to organise and pack for a holiday, changing currency always seems to slip down the list, however, for those who are organised there are big savings to be made. Changing money at an airport should only be done as a last resort as you’ll never get the best value for money; you’ll probably end up with 5-10 per cent less for euros or US dollars.

Instead, in the weeks before you travel you should shop around for the best rates and pre-order online. You can earn cashback on currency exchange through Sainsburys, the Post Office and Travelex and all three offer delivery to your front door. For Android phone and iPhone users, Thomas Cook offer a great app which compares selected rates offered at high street foreign exchange providers.

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Andrew Allen / Editor

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