Saving money on holidays
We all want to pay less for our holidays, without sacrificing our fun in the sun (or snow, or city streets). Find out how to cut costs on your travel, currency and insurance cover.
- Getting a great deal on your holiday
- Your tips for paying for a holiday
- Using a price comparison website
- When to go and when to book
- Package holiday or DIY flights and hotel – what’s best?
- Cheap travel insurance
- Cheap travel money
Getting a great deal on your holiday
Holidays can be expensive, but there are a few things you can do to keep your dream trip affordable.
Not sure what you can afford? Try our free Budget planner to work out what you can spend on your holiday.
- Shop around. Comparison sites, high street travel agents and smaller firms are all worth checking before you buy a trip, change currency or purchase travel insurance. The more places you ask the more likely you are to bag a bargain.
- Book your tickets at the right time. Find the best time of year to get cheap holiday deals. If you’re flexible on dates, comparison sites can help you work out the cheapest time to travel.
- Haggle with high street operators. You might get them to offer you something cheaper than an online deal.
- Package holiday vs DIY. Package holidays include flights, accommodation and sometimes food and drink. They can be cheaper, but less flexible than holidays where you book everything separately.
- Match your trip to your budget. It’s no fun spending the rest of the year worrying about money after going on a holiday you can’t afford. If money’s tight why not consider a cheaper trip, or a ‘staycation’?
Using a price comparison website
Price comparison websites are a quick and easy way to find lots of information on getting a cheap holiday. Simply tell one of these websites where and when you want to go and it will search the market for available options.
Remember not to just focus on price. Make sure the holiday you pick matches your needs and your budget.
Make sure you check more than one comparison website. They don’t all work with the same airlines and suppliers, so if you only use one, you might miss out on the perfect deal.
Popular travel comparison websites
Many of these websites have a ‘price alert’ functionality, which means you can ask them to let you know if the cost of a trip falls below a certain sum.
When to go and when to book
The most expensive time to go on holiday, is when everyone wants to go. School holidays and bank holiday weekends, for example, are two of the most expensive times to travel.
If, however, you’re not too fussed when you travel, you could save a lot of money by going on holiday when fewer people want to. You could, for example, consider travelling during the off-season and flying out on a Wednesday and coming back on a Tuesday.
It’s also generally cheaper to book your flight as early as possible. You can use momondo’s tool below to work out when might be cheaper.
momondo’s flight insight tool
If you’re flexible with your dates then you might be interested in momondo’s tool, which estimates future flight prices.
To use it:
- go to the momondo website
- type in your preferred dates and destination and click ‘Search’
- once the results are loaded, click ‘Flight insight’ in the top right hand corner
The insight screen will give you lots of useful information on your chosen destination, including an estimate of the cheapest months to go, the least expensive airlines and even the best time of day to fly.
If you want to go from London to New York, momondo suggests that the cheapest months to go are February and November. The most expensive are July and August.
It also lists the cheapest airlines, on average, as well as the least expensive airports to fly from and to.
Remember the insights you get aren’t set in stone and should only serve as an indication of what options might be cheapest. Check as many sources as possible to make sure you find the best prices.
Package holiday or DIY flights and hotel – what’s best?
When you book your holiday, you’ve got two main options:
- Buy a package holiday, usually through a tour operator. The package includes flights and accommodation, and sometimes food and drink too if you go all-inclusive.
- Put together a DIY holiday. You choose and pay for your accommodation and flights separately – great if you’re looking for something specific.
Package holidays tend to be cheaper, especially for more popular destinations, but it’s worth checking both options. You can sometimes get a special deal if you book separately.
If you book a package holiday through a company with an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) or one that’s a member of the travel association ABTA, then you get protection if they go bust. It’s worth noting, you don’t get this if you go DIY.
If you’re planning on going on holiday with a group of people, some operators offer group bookings. These can be cheaper than individual bookings, so it can be worth asking.
Cheap travel insurance
As with anything else, with travel insurance it pays to shop around. Don’t buy direct from your travel agent or travel website, unless you’re sure it’s the best deal. (It almost certainly won’t be.)
Find out more about getting the right insurance at the right price:
- Do you need travel insurance?
- How to get the best deal on travel insurance
- Car insurance when driving abroad
Buying a holiday by credit card
If you use your credit card to buy a holiday costing over £100 and up to £30,000, you’re covered by ‘section 75’ of the Consumer Credit Act.
This means the credit card company has equal responsibility with the seller if there’s a problem with the things you’ve bought.
Cheap travel money
Get the right deal on your foreign currency – find low-cost, convenient and safe ways to pay overseas:
- Travel money options – cash, traveller’s cheques or cards
- Buying foreign currency
- Cheap cards to use abroad