Last month I wasn’t expecting to go on two holidays in October and even though the first holiday is 7 nights in Kos for free and the second holiday includes free accommodation in Disneyland Paris there have still been a lot of costs involved. I have written previously about how expensive our transfers are in Paris and how we saved money from flying from Luton but with an extra holiday comes extra expenses and I need to save as many pennies as I can so we can really enjoy ourselves.
Tip 1 – Holiday Insurance
You should never go abroad without travel insurance and if your family have pre-existing conditions this can get very expensive. The quotes I was given by going to the Macmillan Cancer care recommended sites were over £100 for two nights in Disneyland Paris. I jumped onto a comparison site and found a company for £25. A huge saving! I then used the same company for our trip to Kos and it cost £46 for a week.
Tip 2 – Currency
Hunting around for a great rate is all well and good but sometimes it is worth looking into a few other things as well. I never know how much holiday money to take so I always want to take more than I think I will need so I don’t end up playing bank fees and extortionate exchange rates abroad. By choosing the Post Office to buy our euros I can take advantage of their buy back scheme which means I can sell all of my unused Euros back to them at the end of the holiday. Another thing to look at is prepaid travel money cards, these give you the convenience of not having to carry lots of cash without the bank fees that soon add up when using your uk card abroad.
Tip 3 – Sun cream and other travel essentials
It is very easy to pay well over the odds for Sun cream and other travel essentials like adaptor plugs and mosquito repellent. The best thing to do is head to your nearest bargain shop, a pound shop or family bargains would be perfect and have a look at what they have on offer. It is amazing that you can pick up a high quality named brand sun cream for £1 when the bigger shops and supermarkets charge upwards of £5. Don’t forget to take more than you need or you could see yourself paying well over the odds for suncream when on holiday. Also try to pick up buckets and spades before you go too as these can cost a lot in tourist shops on the beach. Check out my post on what to take on holiday for more ideas on what to pick up before you go.
Tip 4 – making an activity pack for the kids
There is nothing worse than bored children on a plane. Bored children soon have annoyed parents so plan wisely and create a very special activity pack for them from your local bargain shop. Colouring or puzzle books, a pack of pencils, travel game or pack of cards can work wonders at keep children entertained especially when they didn’t know you have them. It is worth picking up one of their favourite magazines before you go too which helps provide the cheap toys that kids are always so fascinated in as well as giving them something to read.
Tip 5 – Take airport snacks
Everything in the airport is expensive and although you may have to buy drinks once you get through security you can limit your expenditure by packing some great airport snacks in your hand luggage. Sweets, crisps and cereal bars are a great way to keep hunger at bay and energy levels up. It is also great for the kids if you have one of the surprise bags which contain mini gifts, sweets and activities, these are a lot cheaper bought in advance and a great start to a holiday.
Tip 6 – Arrange transport in advance
The best way to save money on this is to arrange for a family member to drive you to airport and then park your car at their house to save on airport parking charges. This is especially useful for us this week as my Mum is fairly close to Heathrow so we will be doing an overnight stop at hers and leaving the car there for the week. When we are traveling from Luton we have paid for airport parking but the Easy Jet website really helped us choose where to park and it was less than £20 for a walking distance car park for the three days.
Sometimes the best way to save money on a holiday is before you even book it so when thinking about for your next holiday it is always worth thinking about collecting airmiles to save you money especially if you own your business or travel frequently for work. I know members of my family who always pay for their family holiday flights with airmiles after collecting them on business trips throughout the year.