On Monday, Lynley looked at the various things you need to take with you when you go on holiday with the kids. It was an essential checklist that highlighted the most important bits and pieces – some of which are very easy to forget! So, I thought it would be a good idea to look at how you can save on those silly costs when you go on holiday as a nice backup…
According to GOSIM a British family of four may spend an extra £700 over and above the usual holiday costs of food, flights, car hire and hotel bookings. These costs include things like airport parking fees, room safes, extra baggage, travel insurance and plenty more. And these costs, according to GOSIM can escalate beyond that if people have pets or use their mobile phones!
So how can you cut these costs when some of them are rather difficult to avoid?
1. Extra baggage
Unless you are moving country or taking a baby you don’t need to pack that much luggage so keep the weight and size down. Also, if you are flying a discount airline that doesn’t offer hold luggage as standard, book this online as it is cheaper than doing it at the checkout. Try not to buy too much tat at your holiday country but, if you know you’re prone to this, pack very little in your bag on departure and leave space for those odd bits and pieces.
Owning a Woof (aka dog) or a cat is always awesome, until you need to find some way of taking care of them when you go on holiday. A great way to save the enormous costs of pet sitters or kennels, plan ahead and save. Visit your neighbours, find out who else has pets, offer to take their pets while they are away so they can return the favour. Create a pet-sitting group so you all can save on that extra cash, and your little furry friends don’t need to leave home!
3. Travel insurance
Recently I discovered that I had failed to buy travel insurance for a two week holiday in Africa. I was sitting in the airport terminal, frantically surfing for the best travel insurance deals. Fortunately, it was dead easy. Use comparison engines AND review sites to get the best price for your journey. I paid £20 for a fully comprehensive plan which was a total bargain. Just make sure you read the reviews of your insurer first so you don’t get stung by some horrible organisation out to make quick cash.
4. Airport parking
This one is tough for those of you who don’t have friends or family members living nearby. This is especially awkward if your chosen airport is miles away and getting there by train would, honestly, kill you. And yes, taking the train with kids and luggage and handbags and tickets is a total nightmare. The best bet is to also look online for the best long term deals – and there are a few – or just bite the bullet and book a train. You can get some serious discounts if you book in advance. I got my return tickets to London for £6!
Find out what customs prevail at your destination and prepare for them. If they include the service charge in the bill, be ready for that, or if they expect 20%, be ready for that too. Or, and this is the kicker, avoid eating out (although this sparks the whole: all inclusive vs. self catering debate) altogether unless the food at your hotel is utterly awful.
6. Trips and tours
Often these can be the biggest expense of all as most countries take advantage of our desire to see their famous sites and experience their history. One way of saving money on these is to plan your agenda in advance and to book these online, it can shave some pennies off the final price. Alternatively, you can find out what local sights are free and visit them instead. Or you can choose one big and expensive tour or experience, and the rest of the time you live on a budget.
These are just some ideas that will hopefully help you to keep the costs down on your holidays and be prepared. We once went to Crete on a very cheap holiday package deal, but our expenses when we were there blew out of control. The holiday was not cheap in the end! I also recommend making sure check out the area thoroughly before you leave so you know what kind of costs you're facing when you get there.