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The summer holidays are now in full swing, and many lucky people will be jetting off on a well-earned break to somewhere hot and sunny. When booking a holiday, it’s always good to shop around to find the best deals so that you don’t end up spending more than you need to.
However, there are many money saving ideas and assumptions around holidays which aren’t always correct. A deal or offer that looks cheap on the surface can often end up costing you more in the long run, so it’s important to make careful decisions.
From last-minute deals to airport duty-free, here at Asda Money we’ve uncovered the top four holiday myths when it comes to saving money.
Here in the UK, plenty of people are happy to risk booking their holiday the week, or even just a day before, they’re due to depart. This is because there’s a common assumption that booking last-minute will guarantee a great deal. Hotels might have spare rooms that need filling, or there might be a couple of seats left on a flight, resulting in prices being lowered so that the holiday operators get a sale.
However, booking last-minute usually only works for a small percentage of holidaymakers. If you’re completely flexible on important factors such as location and dates, then you’re much more likely to be able to find something. But if you want to travel with children during the school holidays, or need to fly from a specific airport to a preferred destination, you’ll probably struggle to find a great deal. If you have any kind of holiday preference in mind, the reality is that you’re safer booking much earlier in the year.
If you do decide to try a last-minute holiday, keep your mind completely open when it comes to destinations and accommodation, as your choices may be limited. When deciding when to go, again, it’s best not to restrict yourself. If you’re able to book time off work at short notice, then this means you can snap up a great last-minute deal as soon as you see it, even if it means you’ll depart the next day.
Another way to get a cheaper deal is to book for the months of May, September and October, instead of last-minute in the peak months. This way, the weather will usually still be lovely and warm, but you’ll avoid the school holiday price hikes and crowds around the pool.
An online comparison site is a great place to start when looking for a holiday. You can easily select your requirements, such as the date, destination, preferred airport and type of accommodation, to see exactly what’s on offer within your price range. You can usually select which booking operator or airline is offering the best deal, and be taken straight through to their website to book it.
Although comparison sites are a good starting point for booking a holiday, the prices can sometimes be deceiving. Once you’ve chosen your hotel, it’s always worth contacting them directly to see if they’ll offer you a cheaper deal. Because they’ll avoid having to pay a fee to a third-party provider, you’ll often find that they’ll try and offer you a cheaper rate.
When you’re going or coming back from any holiday abroad, you’ll usually have a couple of hours to spare in the airport. Browsing the duty-free shopping section usually seems like a good way to pass the time, especially when you’re hoping to find luxury items such as perfume, makeup, and sunglasses at discounted prices.
Although spending money in duty-free might seem like a good way to use up your leftover currency, some of the more luxury items are sometimes no cheaper than they are on the high street. With the huge rise in online shopping too, there can be much better deals across the internet and in sales than in the airport. If you have your eye on a specific item, remember to shop around first to check the prices.
However, heavily taxed items such as spirits and wines are good choices to buy in duty-free. Often, you can save up to 80% on these kinds of items, so it’s good to get them in bulk when you have the chance. You’re usually allowed to take one duty-free bag on the plane with you (but check with your airline), and if you’re buying a lot then you can often keep it in storage until you return.
Although lots of people make sure their travel insurance is up-to-date before they go anywhere on holiday, there’s often a common misconception that it isn’t needed or worth the money. Even if you’ve never had to use travel insurance in the past, it’s always better to have it and not need to use it, than be left out-of-pocket if the unexpected happens.
For example, even if you have an EHIC card, this only covers you for certain state-provided medical costs in specific European countries. You’ll be treated on the same basis as the people who live in the country you’re visiting, so may still have to make patient contribution costs. It’s not a suitable replacement for travel insurance, as it won’t cover you for private healthcare or services that aren’t part of the state healthcare system. It also won’t cover the cost of being brought back to the UK.
Medical costs are just one reason why travel insurance is so important. Lost luggage, flight delays, and hotel cancellations are a few of the other things that you’ll be covered for in case anything goes wrong while you’re abroad. For the relatively small amount that a policy costs, it’s definitely worth it should the unexpected happen.
Asda Money offer great rates on travel insurance, with three levels of cover available. Child cover is free, so it’s ideal if you’re going on holiday with the family. If you travel more than once during the year, the annual policy usually works out better value, or if you’re just going on a quick break then the single trip cover is a cheap and easy option.
Don’t forget to collect your travel money before you depart, too. This way, you’ll avoid expensive charges when withdrawing money abroad. Asda Money have over 50 currencies available, and if we don’t stock it, we’ll usually be able to order it in for you.
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