With higher mortgage rates and soaring fuel prices, holidaymakers are being forced to budget more carefully than usual this summer – but travellers are being warned that cutting back on key holiday experiences may be a saving too far.
This summer, as the credit crunch hit’s home, there’s a huge sense of anxiety as families worry whether they can afford to take the holiday they’ve planned, according to Essential Travel.
But they say that while it’s important to be mindful of costs, travellers could be denying themselves the very experiences that make a holiday special.
Top Ten Tips for Summer Holiday Saving
1) Don’t try to save money on overseas bank charges by travelling with excessive amounts of cash. Losing the money or, worse, having it stolen, will ultimately cost far more than the charges you’re avoiding.
2) Don’t leave booking extras such as airport car parking to the last minute thinking you’ll get a better deal. You won’t. The early birds get the best buys.
3) Don’t make calls from your mobile phone unless you really have to. Better still unlock your phone and buy a local sim card when you get there.
4) Don’t eat in the tourist areas, instead follow the locals – and join them! Locals know the best places to eat, and you’ll get a more authentic experience at significantly lower prices.
5) Do draw up and agree a holiday budget before you go away – then stick to it.
6) Do write a packing list and stick to it religiously – the more bags you check, the more many airlines will charge you.
7) Do decide which sites or attractions you want to see before you go and commit to seeing them. There’s no point in going to Paris and not seeing the Mona Lisa, or not going up the Eiffel Tower, just for the sake of saving money. Buying a multi-museum/attraction entry card will save you money as well as getting you into additional sites.
8) Do pay for a guide: they don’t need to be expensive and a good guide will make a country’s sites, streets and history come alive.
9) Do be sure to take out a travel insurance policy that meets all of your requirements (if you’re planning to water ski in Spain, be sure your policy covers water sports). And check the excesses: some cheap policies charge excesses of up to £250 – that’s the cost of the camera you just lost.
10) Do check out your accommodation carefully before you book. There’s no point in saving money on a hotel or villa if, when you get there, you’re not where you want to be.
“One customer told us he’d travelled round New York with $4,500 in his pocket, as he didn’t want to incur bank charges. Another told us he’d flown to Egypt with his wife but decided against a trip to the Pyramids as – at the time - he thought it was too expensive,” says Philip Jordan, Marketing Director of Essential Travel. “Then there was the family of four who booked the cheapest flight to Florida – and ended up changing planes three times and arriving at 3am.”
He says moves like these are false economies, which cause no end of arguments and cause travellers to miss out on unique experiences.
“In many cases the extra costs - of taxis etc, when you arrive in the early hours – add up to more than you saved,” he added. “With nuts and bolts planning and a sensible budget, families can go on holiday and see the sites, enjoy local restaurants and stay in a nice hotel, knowing they can afford it, rather than having a miserable time scrimping and saving.”