Holidays, whether on your own, with a loved one or with family should be a fun-filled and memorable one.
Sadly, it doesn’t always work out that way.
The internet is full of tales of dodgy hotels, crammed tours with other tourists, flight delays and over-priced car rental.
When this happens, your holiday excitement can be ruined in minutes.
But, with summer just around the corner, many of us are beginning to think about budgeting for our next holiday.
That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to cover every stage of your holiday so that you can book and travel in the knowledge that you got the best deal.
Getting affordable flights
The most reliable way to navigate the tangled network of routes and airlines and routes is to use a travel comparison website or airline aggregator like Skyscanner to find the cheapest option. However, do be aware that the most affordable option isn’t necessarily the best one for the trip.
Skyscanner is excellent at finding and weeding out lengthy stopovers, questionable airlines and silly, indirect routings where your trip could add on hours to your flying time.
While your bank account may thank you for flying a few more hours in the opposite direction, the environment and your tired body surely won’t!
Booking a hotel
So where to stay?
There is a wide-range of hotel booking websites around today. Booking.com states they have 2,308,000 hotels on their site – surely you can find one that suits the purpose of your trip?
Not only do they have reviews from those who stay there, but they also list what types of beds and what’s included in the room price, plus discounts for booking early or reservations without paying.
Another tip is to check out TripAdvisor reviews.
Yes, accommodation seekers shouldn’t place all their faith in the platform’s algorithm; plenty of great hotels don’t rise to the top of the ranking lists. Seekers can drill down the menu to weed out options that they feel they can manage without, like gym, jacuzzi, pets allowed, room service and so on.
Doing this will present cheaper options that fit within your budget yet still get the room options you desire.
Protecting yourself with travel insurance
The majority of Brits leave purchasing their travel insurance at the very last minute.
More alarmingly one in five Brits doesn’t even take travel insurance with up to 40% of younger people don’t also take any out!
Travel insurance protects against holiday cancellations or a medical issue that can arise when abroad. When the UK exits from the European Union the blue E111 cards promising emergency treatment will no longer be valid (are not valid outside the EU regardless).
If you take several trips per year then consider purchasing multi-trip insurance, this will work out cheaper.
Check your bank account or credit card terms and conditions – many now contain travel insurance included so no need to buy any – check how much it covers and whether you need to buy your holiday on the card in the first place.
Car rentals without the extras
Car rental companies make charge fees and make more money from various add-ons customers need, for example – sat-nav, second drivers, child seats and and more you may have never wanted yet only took because of the hard sell at the rental desk.
Once again check that your credit card covers you for car insurance, and if you have a data roaming package on your smartphone, then you could use this to instal some navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps rather than renting a sat-nav.
When you collect your car, carefully inspect it and check what is inside the glovebox carefully. Take photos on your phone to ensure any potential disputes do not arise once you return the car.
Plus, if you are collecting your car towards the day’s end and they have no cars left in the same class as you have booked; then the rental car companies are obliged to upgrade you to a better vehicle for free.
Avoiding guided tours from hell
Guided tours can be a quick way of discovering many sights quickly without having to learn how to drive abroad, plan what to see or make decisions on the day’s schedule.
However, a lousy tour can feel like a never-ending escape situation – an entire day with a horrible guide on an uncomfortable bus with nervously photo-clicking tourists or those of the loud-talking disposition can derail your holiday excitement.
The trick here is to ask several questions before booking any tour:
- Who is the tour guide?
- Where is lunch being eaten?
- What will you see?
- How big is the group?
- Will there be a lot of walking involved? (Good to know if you have children in your group or there are others who are mobile-challenged)
Get ready for your summer holiday
Before you plan, budget and book your holiday this summer consider these tried and tested tricks for ensuring that you do not overpay and over-worry about your summer holiday.
Get the best flight and hotel that matches your needs, save on your travel insurance and car rental and ensure that you avoid any other mishaps with your tour.
Then, all that’s left is for you to sit back, relax and enjoy it.
Are you looking forward to your summer holiday this year?