Let’s face it, in the UK we’re lucky if we see more than a few days of summer, so sometimes the only way to shake off those grey and chilly days is hopping on a plane to sunnier climates.
Whether you’re looking for some cheap and cheerful sunshine, to get away with the family to explore an exciting new place or a luxurious spa break, going on holiday needn’t break the bank.
Follow our top tips to cut the cost of your summer break – saving you some pennies for extra rounds of mini golf, mint choc chip ice cream and cocktails by the pool.
Do Your Destination Research
Go slightly off the beaten track and you can have an amazing holiday for a fraction of the price. If you were thinking Spain, why not consider Bulgaria instead? You’ll still get beautiful beaches and a fantastic atmosphere, but you’re less likely to come home with an empty wallet. Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast boasts some of the most scenic stretches of sand in Europe. Expand your horizons by checking out OnTheBeach.com’s awesome Deal Finder service for a quick search on all potential destinations from a chosen departure airport.
Compare all-inclusive and DIY
If lounging by the pool all day, eating and drinking as much as you like sounds like your idea of heaven, an all-inclusive trip might be your best bet. If you’re not sure, plan ahead. Use Trip Advisor to suss out the local dining hot spots and weigh up how much you will want to eat out in restaurants or whether you’ll save money from opting for an all-inclusive deal. Don’t pay for a hotel breakfast if you intend on skipping it and heading out to a famous local brunch spot anyway!
Plan Well in Advance
One foolproof money-saving tip for holiday hunting is to search around for on the cheapest deals, as far in advance as possible. That way you can take advantage of the best deals, before everyone rushes to book. Booking a holiday package in advance can often save you money – we recommend travelsupermarket.com as a good starting point for booking everything from your flight & hotel, car hire, travel insurance, etc.
Or… Don’t Plan at All!
Or, if you’re more the spontaneous type, don’t plan at all and take advantage of empty hotels and flights, right at the last minute. No hotel or flight provider wants an empty bed or an empty seat, so they sell them off cheap. Lastminute.com is a great resource to snap up these last minute deals.
Stay in the UK
This might sound like the less exciting option, but in fact a summer holiday in the UK can be every bit as brilliant as an overseas trip. There’s a reason why ‘staycations’ are becoming so popular – particularly with young families. Consider a UK-local city trip, or there are plenty of festivals, theme parks, events and camping sites to enjoy. Check out local travel deals on National Express or Trainline.com for fuss-free, inexpensive travel ideas.
Timing is everything
If you can, try to time your trip so it doesn’t clash with school holidays. Travelling is a lot more expensive when kids are off. If you’re looking for a family vacation however, and that’s not possible, aim for the very end of August or early September. This is the less busy end of the summer holiday period, so you’ll find everything can be a lot cheaper.
If you’re limited to a particular time frame but are flexible on where you go, check out Skyscanner’s ‘search Everywhere’ function to find the cheapest destinations on your available dates.
Don’t Get Short Changed
If you’re going abroad, keep in mind the exchange rate in the country you choose. Keep an eye on the movement of the currency rates a few months before you go so you know what a good exchange rate deal looks like.
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Now you should be all set to get planning your budget summer holiday – just don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk