Your summer holiday money-saving checklist
Holidays aren’t just about the flights and hotel. There are a myriad of extra costs that could add to the price of your trip.
Our 10-point check list shows all the ways you can save before you go away:
When buying your currency look for the best exchange rate and never change money at the airport – you’ll likely be charged a significant amount in commission as they have a captive audience. There are plenty of other options such as picking the right debit and credit card for your overseas travel or applying for a pre-paid currency card before you go. See YourMoney.com’s How to get the best currency rate for your holiday for more information.
Many countries require at least six months’ validity on passports. If you’re travelling soon, check the date on your passport to avoid having to pay hefty fees to get a new one.
Last minute passport renewals cost British holidaymakers £14m in 2015. It costs £72.50 to renew or replace an adult passport, or £82.25 if you use the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send service. You should receive your replacement within three weeks.
The Fast Track one-week service costs £103. But the Premium one-day passport service costs £128 (both prices for the standard 32-page passport).
Holidaymakers should book in advance to get the best deals – you can use a comparison site to find the best price, right up to the day of travel.
Research by TravelSuperMarket found Brits can save up to £277.24 on airport parking. It looked at the cost of securing eight days parking in a short-stay airport car park starting Saturday 22 July.
If you turn up on the day, the price at London Gatwick’s south terminal is an eye-watering £360 or £45 per day. However, by planning ahead, travellers can book a ‘meet and greet’ service which would cost much less at just £120.99, a saving of £239.01.
Or you could book APH ‘park and ride’ which means a 10 minute transfer to the terminal building for £82.76, a saving of £277.24
Brits fork out millions of pounds in unexpected car hire costs. But one way to keep costs in check is to book in advance. This will not only save you money but it could also mean there is a wider pool of cars to choose from. Research from TravelSuperMarket reveals you could end up paying double the price if you hire a car in the arrivals hall or at your hotel rather than booking in advance. See YourMoney.com’s Common car hire traps: how to avoid surprise costs at the rental desk for more information.
As well as the flight, you need to consider how you’ll reach your final destination and get back to the airport after your holiday. Research from Travelex revealed the average airport transfer costs an extra £36.36 more than people budgeted for, so it’s best to arrange onward travel before you arrive at the airport. Taxis may have a fixed fee for popular destinations, so it’s best to check the price before you enter the cab. Some hotels offer airport transfers, which could save you money.
EHIC and travel insurance
Make sure you buy travel insurance as soon as you book your flight – don’t just rely on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
EHICs ensure you receive the same level of state medical care in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries including Switzerland, all 27 members of the European Union (EU) plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. This means medical treatment may be provided for free or at a reduced cost.
They are valid for up to five years and you can apply for one via the government site. If you’re asked to pay for an EHIC, the site is bogus. See YourMoney.com’s EHIC guide for more on the benefits and limitations of the scheme.
Many travel insurance products only cover valuables worth £250 or less, but a high-quality camera could be worth thousands of pounds. Rather than paying extra for additional baggage or valuables cover, consider whether more expensive possessions are already insured under a contents insurance policy or under separate gadget cover.
Some airlines now charge you to reserve your seat. If you’re travelling as a couple or in a group and want to guarantee you sit together, you may need to pay for the pleasure. However, airlines also use a ‘first-come, first-served basis’ so if you check in early enough, you should be allocated seats together without having to pay extra.
Some countries operate a tourist tax which you may need to pay on arrival, at the hotel or upon departure. It’s best to search online for tourist taxes in advance of heading to your destination so you’re not left with unexpected charges.
EU roaming charges are to be scrapped from Thursday 15 June, but UK holidaymakers could still be hit with unexpected costs. New EU regulations mean anyone travelling to an EU member country will be able to use their mobile phone minutes, texts and data at the same price as if they were still in the UK.
But exceeding agreed allowances will still incur a charge in the EU and all mobile providers charge different rates so it’s important to take note of what’s included in your current mobile deal.