Millions of people are planning holidays abroad this summer now that travel restrictions have eased but soaring living costs make it more important than ever to keep travel bills down.
Here’s our rundown of some of the ways you might be able to reduce your summer holiday costs.
Check mobile roaming charges
Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, most mobile network providers have reintroduced roaming charges when you use your mobile in Europe. Vodafone, EE and Three all charge a £2 daily roaming charge, although some offer roaming packages which can reduce the cost. If you’re worried about being hit with unexpected mobile costs, keep your data roaming switched off and use free WiFi wherever possible.
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com said: ““If you are flying to your destination, remember to enable your mobile’s flight mode or switch off data roaming to avoid the risk of incurring changes as you pass through different territories.
“Use hotel and cafe Wi-Fi connections when on holiday where possible, while ensuring any public access points are safe and secure before logging on.”
Try to be flexible on travel dates
Flights which depart on a Saturday are usually much more expensive than those which leave mid-week, so if you can be flexible on your travel dates, you may be able to cut your costs substantially. Always do plenty of research before booking – comparison websites such as Momondo, Kayak and Skyscanner can do the hard work for you and show which flights are the cheapest on the dates you want to go.
Pack your bag...then halve it
How many times have you gone on holiday and only worn a fraction of the clothes you’ve brought with you? Many of us overpack when we go on holiday, but if you’re flying taking a heavy suitcase can really bump up your holiday bills, as most airlines adding on hefty supplements for each bag you take. If you’re travelling as a couple, try and share a bag to keep costs down, or if you’re only away for a few days, check the cabin baggage allowance and take a small bag that you doesn’t have to go in the hold.
Sort your holiday spending
The easy option is just to use your existing debit or credit cards when spending overseas, but this could prove a costly mistake, with some cards charging as much as 3% on spending abroad, along with hefty fees for cash withdrawals. If you want a card for overseas use, Barclaycard’s Rewards credit card and Halifax’s Clarity card both don’t charge fees for purchases or cash withdrawals abroad. Both Chase and Starling Bank offer debit cards with no charges for spending or withdrawing cash abroad.
If you prefer to take cash with you, it also pays to arrange this in advance. Simon Phillips, managing director of travel money specialists No1 Currency said: “Don’t forget to shop around for the best exchange rate when you buy your travel money, and never leave it until you get to the airport.
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“Remember that in many countries, cash is still king. You can be sure cash will be accepted everywhere, and taking local currency rather than relying on your card ensures you won’t face card charges and makes it easier to budget.”
Buy travel cover as soon as you book
Buying travel cover might not sound like a way to reduce holiday bills, but it could save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds if you have to cancel your holiday, or if you have an accident while you’re abroad and need costly medical treatment.
Ceri McMillan, travel insurance spokesperson for GoCompare, said: “If people are thinking they’re saving money by going away without the right level of insurance, this is most definitely a false economy. If the worst should happen and you need medical care whilst away, travel insurance will cover your costs. Without it, your bill could run into £1000s.
“Likewise, if people are relying on the Global Healthcare Card (GHIC), this won’t cover you for any private healthcare or getting back to the UK if you need to be flown home. Many countries don’t have a free healthcare service as we do in the UK, so if private healthcare is your only option, the GHIC will not cover this.”