The great summer getaway is almost upon us, with millions of Britons preparing for sun, sand, sea and a lot of spending. The expenses can really add up but even at the last minute there is plenty you can do to drive down the cost of your foreign jaunt.
Emma Grimster, spokesperson at TravelSupermarket.com, said many people leave buying holiday essentials until the last minute but they should still shop around and compare prices.
“We calculate a typical family could overpay by up to £1,137 on holiday essentials such as travel insurance, car hire and foreign currency if they don’t,” she said.
For example, a family of four could save £68 on their travel insurance by comparing policies online, rather than simply buying the cover offered by their bank or travel company.
Two weeks’ travel cover for a family of four flying to Spain on July 28 can range from between £22 and £90, Grimster said, although do not just go for the cheapest.
Grimster said you can make big savings on car hire too: “Renting a Ford Focus for 15 days at Malaga airport starts from £177 with Argus Car Hire, but the walk-up rate quoted by Hertz for a similar car at Malaga Airport is a huge £774, £597 more.”
When picking up your motor, rental desk staff will scare you into buying “car hire excess waiver”, warning you’ll be liable for the first £1,000 or so of damage otherwise.
Purchasing a 15-day excess waiver at the Avis desk for a compact car will cost £265, Grimster said, more for larger cars.
“You can get an annual policy offering standalone cover for around £40, saving you £225,” she added.
Compare prices at insurers such as iCarHireInsurance.com or visit a travel comparison site.
Taking your own sat nav and child car seats is also cheaper than buying them at the rental desk.
Never buy travel money at airport currency booths.
Book online through sites such as FairFX, ICE, the Post Office and Tesco.
MoneySavingExpert.com’s travel money maximiser tool shows that ordering €1,500 online through TravelFX costs £1,333, including free home delivery, but Manchester Airport’s Travelex booth charges £1,580, or £247 more.
If you have time, order a credit card with zero overseas charges, such as Halifax Clarity.
Ian Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of travel money specialists FairFX.com, said if you need airport parking or transfers such as taxis on arrival, booking in advance can be much cheaper than paying on the day, plus you also have peace of mind at busy times.
It is all too easy to rack up extra costs at the airport, so remember to check in online and print all your boarding cards in advance.
Check your carrier’s baggage rules to ensure your cabin bags will fit and avoid extra charges for being over the allowed weight.
Strafford-Taylor said if you are set to exceed your baggage allowance, try buying extra in advance rather than waiting until the check-in desk.
“With some airlines you could pay as little as £15 for five extra kilos in advance but as much as £65 at the desk,” he said.
You cannot take liquids in containers larger than 100ml through security, so consider decanting toiletries into travel-sized bottles rather than paying inflated prices for mini travel toiletries.
Fewer airlines now offer free food so take your own to avoid paying on-board prices.
Seek out a great deal over at the Trusted Travel website
Stay at home
If you were thinking of booking a last-minute trip, maybe now is the time to think again.
Britain is sweltering in a heatwave and the nation is in celebratory mode as England gear up for tonight’s World Cup semi-final so why go away at all?
You could save thousands by holidaying at home.