Internet searches for “cheap summer holidays” have risen 151 percent in the last year, with many sun-seekers looking for ways to save money on their trips abroad. After many months of travel restrictions, some potential holidaymakers may be a bit rusty when it comes to cutting costs when traveling on a budget.
Jonathan Merry, Managing Director of international money transfer comparison site, MoneyTransfers.com , has shared a selection of common mistakes people make when trying to cut their vacation costs. By avoiding these mistakes, travelers can make the most of their budget.
Book flights too early or too late
It’s easy to assume that booking flights early will result in cost savings. However, booking a flight too early can result in higher costs, as airlines often slash air fares just before the departure date. However, if you wait too long, prices may rise again due to demand in the week leading up to travel. Research has shown that to pay more, it’s best to book about three to four months in advance.
Chose the wrong day
Friday evenings and weekends are known to be the most expensive days to fly, with most airlines charging more for flights on these days. If you decide to fly during the week, you can save enormous sums.
Choosing travel insurance
Although some travel insurance costs just a few pounds, many UK holidaymakers assume they don’t need travel insurance for the unexpected, risking thousands of pounds in bills if something goes wrong. These incidents may include illness, injury, theft of valuables and cancellations. In the US, for example, a stitch to seal a cut or scrape costs between $500 and $1,500, in Spain it can cost up to €300 just to go to the emergency room.
Do not compare hotel/flight prices
By checking out several different airlines, you can save money by opting for no-frills airlines and non-direct flights, clearing the browser cache, and monitoring prices months in advance.
Correct currency selection
Avoid paying in pounds sterling when traveling and instead always pay in the country’s local currency to avoid high exchange rates. It can be tempting to pay in pounds rather than local currency when a retailer is able to do so. However, this could potentially land travelers with an additional five percent fee. Always check before arranging a card transaction and insist on paying in local currency to avoid such fees.
Using the wrong bank card
Before you travel, always find out if a bank charges a fee for using a card abroad. Some banks charge fees for all items purchased and bank card transactions abroad. Another option can be a prepaid card that is loaded with cash prior to travel. For a longer stay or more expensive purchases abroad, the cheapest payment method is to use a money transfer provider, as they offer far better exchange rates than high street banks.
Explore a few money transfer providers to find the most suitable one – use a transfer rate tool to help.
Leaving the money exchange until the last minute
Changing money at the airport may seem convenient, but it inevitably costs more. If it is a last minute holiday and there is no alternative, most airports allow currency to be purchased online and collected at the terminal. This can be arranged the night before a flight and offers a much better price than in person on the day.
Overweight fines can be expensive, so always weigh all bags before you arrive at the airport. Try to carry all bulky clothes and shoes like jackets or sneakers to avoid having to pack them.
Check the rules for liquids
All liquids in carry-on baggage must not exceed 100ml and the containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag measuring approximately 20cm x 20cm. If you remember this rule, you do not have to throw away products.
Visit attractions and travel at peak times
Tourist attractions often charge more during peak periods, which are typically weekends. Some countries also offer free entry to museums on certain days, for example Barcelona offers free entry to most museums every first Sunday of the month. Most museums also offer off-peak visiting hours, so you can also save money by planning early morning or later evening visits — not to mention avoiding the crowds.
Eat with the locals
Eat like a local while on vacation, not only for better value but for a more immersive travel experience. Restaurants in tourist hotspots pretty much always have higher prices and poor quality compared to places frequented by locals.
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This also applies to room service and the minibar in the hotel. Visit the local supermarket for groceries and drinks where prices are much cheaper.
reduce transport costs
Most cities have excellent public transport links such as trains, buses and metros/subways. Although it’s faster and more convenient to hail a taxi, it costs more. To book an airport transfer you should do it well in advance to avoid having to pay the high prices on the day.
Paying for tourist tickets
Before paying for tourist passes or passports, always calculate whether they are worth it. Try to plan an approximate itinerary before you travel to see if it’s worth the money.
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