You’re probably feeling the heat of the summer by now and thinking about getting away with the family in the coming weeks. Going away with children is never cheap, but with careful planning and budgeting, you can make sure your holiday is filled with nothing but fun memories and not overburdened by financial woes.
- Families go over budget by as much £1,000 when on holiday, according to Visit Orlando research
- It takes several months to pay off holiday debt
- The unexpected cost of kids forces one in 10 to cancel their holiday
Before you go
1. Buy currency online
In the excitement of going on holiday, many families end up getting their currency at the airport, but this is where you get the worst rates, which ultimately means less spending money. Instead, order your currency online to get the best deal. You can have it delivered to your house or even pick it up at the airport, where available. You’ll not only end up more cash in your pocket, but also find yourself less stressed when at the airport.
2. Buy travel insurance early
Get travel insurance as soon as you book the holiday to protect yourself from eventualities. According to research by comparison site GoCompare, 48% of policies are purchased a week before departure and 27% are bought on the day of travel. that means millions of holidaymakers are missing out on valuable cancellation cover – around 97% of single trip policies will provide some level of cancellation cover as standard as soon as you purchase the policy, so don’t delay.
But don’t buy insurance from your travel agent, where they are usually more expensive. You can buy a similar policy at a lower premium by shopping online. You can also make use of cashback, such Topcashback or Quidco for example, to make some additional savings.
Make sure the policy covers your needs.
3. Plan ahead
If you’re planning to go on some excursions or go to specific theme parks, then book these in advance to save money. If going to theme parks for example, buy advance park tickets online, which will cost less than buying them on the day. You can often find deals on tourist websites for eating out, as well as guides and maps that you can download.
You should also book taxis or other travel expenses before you get to your destination. Planning ahead can keep you in control of your money.
4. Set a realistic budget
When budgeting for a holiday, include all types of costs and not just the price of the holiday. Recent research from Asda Money found that families often find themselves with an unexpected bill of £491 for costs such as holiday data roaming, clothing and gadgets when going on holiday with children. Many families fail to take these into account when setting a holiday budget, forcing one in 10 to cancel their holiday.
When budgeting, make a list of everything you will need when going away. These costs can take you by surprise unless they are accounted for.
When you get there
5. Don’t use your debit card abroad
Almost 50% of Brits rely on credit or debit cards when paying for things on holiday, but when you use these cards abroad, you are charged a FX fee which can be as high as £1.50 per transaction. To avoid this, get a traveller friendly credit card with no FX fee, such as the Halifax Clarity for example.
If you don’t want to apply for a credit card, you could get a pre-paid currency card, such as FairFX, Caxton or Post Office for example. You pre-load these cards and then use them in the same way as a debit card, but with no transaction fees. They also allow you to lock in an exchange rate, which is handy when markets fluctuate.
Pre-paid cards are great for budgeting too, as you can only spend what you have put onto the card.
6. Mobile phone costs
The introduction of ‘Roam like Home’ legislation, which came into force on 15 June 2017, means consumers can use their phone when in the EU and only pay domestic prices. But there are some countries where the new laws won’t apply; if you’re going to Andorra, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine or the Vatican City, check with your network provider to see if they are covered by the new rules.
Premium rate numbers may still cost more when called from the EU.
If you go over your data allowance, there will be additional costs to consider – this is easily done if the children use your phone to watch videos when on the move. Where possible, always connect to Wi-Fi.
7. Set a daily spend limit
Most people end up breaking the budget when they are on holiday. To avoid this, set a daily spend limit. There are always additional ways to save money when on holiday, for example, if you are staying at a nice resort with excellent facilities, make good use of them; it won’t cost you anything extra.
When eating out, try out places where the locals eat — these will be cheaper than those centred around tourists. You don’t have to walk far to get these cafes and restaurants and they could save you a lot of money.
Photo credit: Herson Rodriguez