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Packing for holiday

Five holiday essentials you don’t need to pay for

Holidays are great for spending time doing what you want –whether that’s relaxing and recuperating, lots of high-adrenaline activities, or anything in between. As we enter the holiday season, you might be wondering how you can make sure how you can reduce the costs of your break without reducing the fun factor.

We spoke to Abby King at Latest Free Stuff, which specialises in looking for freebies and samples, for the five holiday essentials you don’t have to be splashing out on, so you can focus on spending your money on what you want on holiday.

Don’t pay for these five holiday essentials

You’ve saved up your money and finally booked your trip - be it a holiday abroad, ‘staycation’ or festival - but now what? Often, we’ll budget for the trip itself but forget to put aside cash for the extras, which can really add up.

Luckily it is possible to get many holiday essentials for free. It just requires careful planning, some frugal thinking and a willingness to embrace DIY. Let’s begin!

1.  Toiletries

Pop into any health and beauty store and you’ll find a vast array of convenient travel-sized products. Compare their price with their full-sized counterparts, however, and you’ll discover they are incredibly overpriced ml for ml. Some cost 500% more per 100ml! Instead of splashing out, decanter your existing toiletries into old jars or try collecting free samples. You can request samples online, download vouchers to collect in-store, set aside sachets from magazines you buy throughout the year, or just ask for samples at beauty counters. Have fun seeing what you can pick up.

2. Double duty products

Many products you already have at home can be used for more than its designated purpose, which is great for both your holiday budget and luggage space. While toothpaste’s everyday job is to provide a minty fresh smile, many swear by it for soothing mosquito bites and dabbing on spots. Tea - normally free in hotels - makes a great substitute for aftersun as it calms redness. Petroleum jelly is perfect for moisturising burnt skin, as well as taming flyaway hair, sealing split ends and removing makeup. If you’re willing to DIY, you can make your own dry shampoo (a festival lifeline!) from your kitchen cupboard; a sprinkle of arrowroot powder or cornstarch soaks up oil in your hair. The Internet is abundant with handy DIY budget beauty tutorials that are really worth checking out!

3. Books

While it’s tempting to buy a stack of new books for your trip, it’s worth making the transition to e-books. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, there are free apps available to read ebooks on tablets and smartphones. What’s more, many books are actually in the public domain, meaning they can be accessed online for free. All the Victorian classics, for example, are available to download. If you’re not a fan of reading on a screen, plenty of hotels provide a free ‘library’ of books left by previous guests, so if you’re not fussy, who knows what you may find?

4. Travelling within Europe?

Don’t get scammed into thinking you have to pay for a European Health Insurance Card. Follow the official channels to get your EHIC for free. If you’re travelling within Europe, the EHIC entitles you to the same level of care as the residents of that country, which is free in many places. Please note, however, that this does not replace your travel insurance.

5. Festival essentials

Off to a festival and have council refuse bags going spare? Knowing the unpredictable British weather, these will quickly become the ultimate multi-purpose essential on the festival campsite! Aside from collecting up rubbish, use them to transport your goods, waterproof your tent and fashion an emergency poncho. What if you don’t even have a ticket? Find out if you can volunteer at a festival online. In exchange for your help, you’ll typically get free entry and food and drink.

See how many free holiday essentials you can pick up when preparing for your next holiday! For the really savvy, aim to pack light enough to forgo paying for hold luggage altogether - this will leave you with even more cash to plan a few more treats while you’re away. Bon voyage!

This guest post is from Latest Free Stuff and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the Money Advice Service. You can find out more about Latest Free Stuff and what they do on their website.

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