Principality. Where home matters.

26 May 2017

The handy money-saving guide for your 2017 summer holiday

Whether you're booked and ready to go or are still looking for a last minute deal - here are some ways to keep more pounds in your pocket.

Plane tickets, accommodation, spending money, insurance - the cost of a summer getaway can quickly amount to a rather hefty sum. But whether you're counting down the days until your much-longed-for break, or itching to get one booked, there are still many ways you can make some considerable savings - perhaps enough to put towards your next holiday. Principality Building Society’s senior savings products manager, Morgan Miles, shares his top tips that could save you money on your summer holiday.

1. Research both Package and DIY holidays

When a package might be best...

If you're travelling to a popular holiday destination, going in a large group, or looking for an all-inclusive holiday, it’s probably worth looking into a package deal. Travel agents will have lots of competitive deals for these types of holidays - just remember to shop around and quote the lowest price you've been offered to other agents.

When DIY might be best...

However, if you plan on travelling to multiple destinations during one trip, a DIY holiday could be the best choice for you. You'll have to plan each part yourself, from flights, a place to stay and transfers, but you're likely to find the best prices too. Use a comparison service to search for the best deals on flights and accommodation to find alternatives to pricey hotels - particularly in cities.

2. Turn on private browsing when you search for flights

Airlines and booking websites can record your search history with them using browser cookies. They have been known to hike up prices on your previous searches if you have checked prices with them on more than one occasion. Turning on your browser's private search function, like 'in-cognito mode' on Chrome, or the 'private' option on Safari, they will have no way of recording your previous searches, making it easier to find the best deal.

3. Try flying in the evening...

This is a great money-saving option if you you're not going away for a short weekend break. Evening flights have been known to cost up to 30% less than their daytime equivalents, and as an added bonus there are often fewer passengers too - which means less time queueing.

4. And booking flights that depart in the middle of the week

If possible, avoid weekend travel. Embarking to your destination on a Tuesday or Wednesday is likely to reduce your travel costs, with travel insiders naming Tuesday as the best value day to fly.

5. Sort your transfer before you arrive

Don't be tempted to just book a taxi to your accommodation when you arrive at the airport - they can sometimes cost as much as a night's hotel stay. Firstly check what public transport is running at the time you are due to touch down. This is likely to be the cheapest option.Otherwise organise a shuttle service using specialist websites.

6. Don't go with the first travel insurance policy you see

It is never worth the risk to travel without insurance - so don't risk not being covered for the unpredictable. Premiums will vary according to the type of policy and level of cover you choose, but a family policy can often work out cheaper than individual cover for each family member. Or if you have more than one holiday planned in a year, an annual policy could prove to be the most cost-effective option. Also be realistic about the cover you choose. It's probably not worth paying for the most-expensive option that guarantees medical expenses worth millions of pounds but instead go for a product that covers you for the things you need. Shop around using comparison sites to find the best deals.

7. Guarantee your exchange rate when sorting your holiday money

It is impossible to predict the optimum time to buy your holiday money, and the best-value bureau can change daily, often by as much as £50 per $500. However, one trick you can use is to fight fluctuating rates is to find a bureau that will let you book today's exchange rate for collection just before you travel.

Some firms offer a collection service that lasts up to 14 days and six days respectively with a free cancellation policy. It means if exchange rates go down, hooray! You've guaranteed yourself a little bit more money. But if exchange rates go up, you can ask for a full and free refund, up to 24 hours before the last day they will hold the money, and search other bureaus for that higher rate.

8. Avoid overseas mobile charges

Data-roaming charges in the EU will be scrapped in June 2017, but if you're taking a phone abroad before then, be careful you don't return home to a hefty phone bill. To avoid charges, turn off data roaming, which can be found in the settings section of your phone. This prevents your phone from connecting to other data providers.

Use Wi-Fi where possible - many hotels and cafes offer free Wi-Fi connections. If you need to use your phone a lot while away, ask your mobile provider about a bolt-on package, where you will pay a fixed amount each month for using the internet. Travelling outside the EU? Then consider unlocking your phone so it isn't tied to one provider and buy a one-off sim plan when you arrive at your destination. The sims are prepaid, which means you can't be charged for exceeding your plan's limit.

Published: 26/05/2017