Top 10 ways to save money on holiday

Money saving ideas for your late summer holiday

Although we are nearing the end of the school holidays, that does not mean that holiday season is over. You may be  planning to grab a quick last-minute break with the family before the children go back to school, or be able to take a holiday during term time when it is cheaper.

Either way, you want to enjoy every minute! But whilst you definitely don’t want to be counting the pennies when you are on holiday, you don’t want to find yourself up to your eyes in debt when you get back.

According to the travel association ABTA, holiday spending starts adding up even before our journey begins. UK holidaymakers travelling abroad are likely to spend over £500 on holiday products and services before they arrive at their destination. This includes travel to and from the airport, new clothes, duty free goods, cameras and other electrical goods, magazines and books, suntan lotions and other toiletries and sunglasses and other accessories.

So, are there ways that you can reduce holiday spending but still having a brilliant time? Try the following tips and you’ll be heading in the right direction!

Cut back on spending before you go

The above figure of £500 from ABTA is frightening! Whilst it’s great to have lots of new stuff to take on holiday, if you’re on a tight budget it’s better to cut back on this and save the money until you get there. You probably already have lots of summer clothes that you’ve hardly worn, so why not just get one or two new essentials and make do with what you already have? Similarly with toiletries: you don’t need to buy new bottles of everything, just take what you have. You can always buy things at your destination if you do find yourself running out of anything – and will then have some interesting and different things to bring back with you that will be ongoing reminders of your happy holiday.

Manage your holiday money

For most tourist destinations it is better value to change currency in the UK before you go. But do check with your destination there are some countries that have restricted currencies, which means that selling, buying or sending money is controlled. Other countries may trade in more than one currency so you need to find out which is the best one to use. So make the effort to look into this before you go, and also decide on the best combination of credit cards and cash that you are going to use. Credit cards are helpful in that you can defer payment for the goods so can spread the cost of your holiday. They also offer protection on some purchases. But you do need to be careful not to let the spending mount up and get out of control.

Get the best phone deal

It is definitely worth looking into your phone costs before you go on holiday. Make sure you know what rates you will be charged for calls, texts and data when you are abroad. Ask your phone provider if they offer travel bundles that can help to keep costs down, and also get the most up to date advice on which settings to enable and disable so that you do not run up any unexpected charges. Remember that many resorts offer WiFi which is likely to be cheaper than your phone network, though do check this with the resort when you get there.

Leave your home in good hands

Instead of locking up your home while you are away and taking pets to kennels, get someone to come and stay in your home. You may have family or friends who would love a holiday in your part of the country, and would be happy to feed pets and water plants in return. You can then go away happy that your home is in good hands and that you won’t have to pay any money in the process.

Get to the airport for less

Some of the above amount quoted by ABTA is for transport to and from the airport. Whichever way you do things this can be expensive. Whilst it can seem a good idea to drive yourself there, airport parking is usually expensive. It can also be quite stressful getting from the car park to the terminal with all your luggage. A slightly cheaper option would be a taxi or chauffeur service; this will still cost you money but at least drops you at the terminal itself. Also look into public transport if this is manageable with your luggage. But by far the best option is to find a good friend who can give you a lift – though to be fair you then need to offer to do the same for them!

Travel light

If you take as little as possible with you on holiday this not only makes your journey much easier but can also save you money. Most of us overpack and this can lead to us having to pay extra money to the airline for excess baggage – especially on the way home if we have done a bit of shopping on holiday. There is only so much luggage that we need: most of us probably bring back about half our holiday clothes unworn. So be economical about how much you pack and it will save you time, hassle and money.

Lounge around the airport

A surprising way to save money is to book an airport lounge in advance. Prices start at around £30-40 per person and you can usually check into the lounge at least 3 hours in advance of your flight. Facilities typically include food and drink (terms vary), wifi, and sometimes showers or even a spa. As well as having somewhere nice to sit and relax, a lunge can save you money not only on food and drink, but also from all the impulse purchases you might end up buying if you are bored and wandering around airport shops or duty free.

Enjoy your hotel food

You can save a lot of money on food whilst on holiday if you make the most of your hotel food package. If you are on either a bed and breakfast or half board basis, fill up on the food that is there so that you do not have to spend a lot of money on food away from the hotel. If you do eat out, you will usually find that lunchtime is cheaper, and there are often set menus available. So if you are at a bed and breakfast you may then want to have the latest lunch deal you can find and that will probably also see you through the evening. If you are on an all-inclusive rate then it is even easier to budget because everything is paid for upfront, apart from tips.

Go with the locals

If you are eating or drinking outside the hotel it pays to find where the locals go. Many of us can be unadventurous on holiday and just stick to the popular tourist areas. But often if you are just prepared to walk away from the tourist areas and try the smaller cafes, restaurants and bars favoured by the locals you will find a better quality food, a more authentic atmosphere and considerably lower prices.

Barter for your goods

Depending where you go on holiday, it can be well worth haggling for the goods that you want. In some countries this is the expected way of doing things anyway, but it is always worth a try wherever you are. Most shops in tourist destinations are competing fiercely against each other, and most would rather gain a sale for a little below the asking price rather than lose it to the competition. So it’s worth a try, there’s nothing to lose. Just smile and be polite, and if your offer is refused then you can always just walk away: sometimes this causes the retailer to change their mind anyway. Haggling does not come easily to many of us, but the more you try, the more comfortable you feel – and you are hopefully creating a win-win situation for both you and the retailer.


We hope that these tips enable you to make the most of your holiday and come back with change to spare. Check back here soon for more money saving ideas from LoanPig.