Through a lot of trial and error (read: spending far too much money in very stupid ways whilst travelling), here at dealchecker we now like to think we’ve got wise holiday spending down to a fine art. There are some obvious mistakes we all make that can save you some serious pennies if avoided – here are the top 10, as curated by our ever-helpful dealchecker money-saving experts…Enjoy!
You’re changing your money at the airport
Just don’t. The rate is rubbish – no exceptions.We’d suggest travelmoneymax.com, which lets you tap in the amount of money you want to convert and then tells you which of the banks’ bureau de change rates is best. They can even arrange for the money to be delivered to your door. Takeaway money – now that’s what we call service.
You’re not buying city passes
On a city break? Are you sure you’ve found the cheapest possible way to get around the city? There are often great cards and deals that will allow you to get around on public transport on the cheap. Do your research before you go and you should be able to find a great deal.
You’re not turning your phone data off
Hey you there with the endless pockets. Oh, you don’t have endless pockets? Turn the data on your phone off then. You may as well attach a money funnel to your phone if you keep it on. Also, if you get it nicked report it immediately – nothing ruins a post holiday glow like a whopping great phonebill.
You’re using the Heathrow Express
When there’s a perfectly good underground that delivers you to every Heathrow terminal you could possibly want for under £3? Shocking. Slightly more padded seats are not worth an extra £20.
You don’t veer away from the guidebook at dinner time
Who wants to eat in some touristy hellhole anyway? Go further afield and you’ll find restaurants that are veritable treasure troves of delicious, authentic flavour, and are priced reasonably. That means staying away from St Marks Square in Venice, Leicester Square in London and ALL of the centre of Paris.
You’re hiring a car (when you don’t need to)
Sure you need those wheels? Sometimes people just assume that they need a car without having checked out any other options. One of our team went to Tenerife once and, assuming that as it wasn’t a big ‘city break’ type of holiday that she would need a car. She actually realised that the public transport system there is great – clean, reliable air conditioned buses for cheap prices. Do your research.
You’re flying on a Friday or Saturday
Put simply – it’s way cheaper to fly in the week. Friday and Saturdays departures will see you enjoying premium rates and busy planeloads – tasty. Do the smart thing and travel Monday to Friday – or best yet, travel on a Tuesday, which is generally the cheapest day.
You’re not booking early – or late – enough
The holiday industry is like any other business affected by the basic economics of supply and demand. The best time to book is generally 11 months before you’re due to travel – however, package holidays are generally cheaper close to the date, as by this point they’re far more desperate to get rid of those empty rooms and seats. Budget airlines work the opposite way, and get more expensive the closer to the date they get.
You’re not being creative enough
Think of interesting ways you can travel for less. From couchsurfing to Airbnb, there are lots of companies out there that give you the chance to soak up other cities for a fraction of the price, and in much nicer surroundings. Alternatively, you could consider a house swap with someone, or consider sharing with a bigger group – it might just be the boost your ailing wallet needs.
You’re using a credit card that charges you
When you arrive at your destination, and put your debit card in the cash machine it will steal 5%-6% of everything you take out. Get round this by using a credit card that charges nothing for foreign exchange. Also, when you’re abroad, beware the “Do you want that in sterling?” trick. The shop assistant hands you the card machine and offers to convert it into sterling – that’s actually code for “please can I have some extra money.” You have been warned.