How to Save Big on Your Summer Holiday Travel: Part One: Getting There for Less

Summer is pretty much here and everyone’s booking their holidays and heading off to the beach. Or so it seems. You’d also like a fortnight in the sun – you’ve been working hard and certainly deserve a break – but you are not sure if a holiday is really within your current budget. But you’d really, really like one, even if only for a week.

Before you resign yourself to spending your whole summer in the back garden with an ice lolly and a can of pop, the good news is that there are lots of ways you can save money on holiday travel that may very mean you can head off into the sun(set) after all. Here are just a few helpful tips to get you started.

If you haven’t booked yet

1. Bargain Hunt and Haggle

Between package tour operators, high street travel agents, and online travel services the holiday industry in the UK is SERIOUSLY competitive right now. Which is good news for the savvy shopping consumer.

Travel ‘products’ are very time-sensitive: a room left empty one night or an airline seat that isn’t filled can’t be resold the next day. So, particularly if you are booking at the last minute, bargain and haggle – especially when dealing with tour operators, travel agents and hotels.

Savings: Potentially a lot

Be Willing to Consider an Indirect Flight

No, hanging around in an airport departure lounge for any longer than you really have to isn’t anyone’s idea of fun but if you want to save cash on your air travel being open to an indirect air route to your destination may be the way to go. For example, a flight to Malaga is, on average, £20 – £30 less if you are willing to hang out in Copenhagen for a few hours en route

Savings: Up to 15% on flights

Skip June or July

What’s the most expensive time to go on holiday? When everyone else wants to go of course. To save money (and maybe even score better accommodations for less) if at all possible book your travel for August or September. The last week of August and the first in September are normally significantly cheaper than the rest of the holiday period and if you can hold out until October half term you can save even more.

Save: Up to 25% over peak season prices

Forego Some Frills

Surcharges for seat selection and priority boarding can add more to the price of your flight than you might think. Even Ryanair lets you choose your seat online when booking these days so priority boarding really isn’t even worthwhile anymore for the most part. Want to make sure you and your traveling companions are seated together if you don’t happen to have reserved your seats? Turn up for your flight with lots of time to spare and you should be just fine.

Save: £10-£20

Pack Lighter

Excess baggage charges are going through the roof these days – up to £40 – £65 for just one extra bag if you pay at the airport, £20 – £45 if you prepay online – so when you’re packing try to pack as light as possible. Unless you like spending the money you could have spent on a couple of nights out or nice meals once you arrive at your holiday destination on excess baggage fees just because you had to take that extra dress/pair of trousers/fancy shoes that you probably won’t even wear.

Save £20 – £65, maybe even more

Take Your Own Food

Whether you are traveling by air or by train buying your food onboard can cost you a small fortune. And the prices in the departure lounges are pretty hefty as well. Try taking your own snacks along instead, but remember the rule about liquids and air travel – you can’t bring your own drinks through security – so be prepared to buy your drinks in the departure lounge, or bring empty bottles to fill with drinking water from the airport’s drinking fountains instead.

Save £10 – £30 depending on the size of your party

Consider the Coach

Yes, most people do prefer the relative comforts of the train over coach travel but if you are holidaying on a budget and the choice between the two is available it’s often considerably cheaper to go by road rather than rail. For example, a quick Google search for a trip from London to Paris in July uncovers £20 fares with National Express compared to £99 with Eurostar.

Save: Up to 300%

See? These tips could have already saved you quite a bit and we haven’t even discussed what you’ll be doing when you arrive at your holiday destination. We’ll be doing that in our next post, so do stay tuned for more.