Travel & Holidays > Guides

Booking a holiday? Here are some half-term hacks to get a cheap deal

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey
Feb 9, 2017

From the rise in broadband prices to creeping inflation, everything seems to be getting more and more expensive.

With the pound in the doldrums, holidays this year could also cost significantly more (Thomas Cook have just announced a 9% price hike). 

The money in your pocket will no longer go as far abroad.

However, with our guide below, you can help off-set the bad news by employing some money-saving hacks. 


Choose the right travel insurance

Getting landed with an unexpected bill because you haven't got the right cover for your and your family can blow a massive hole in your budget. 

If you're not careful, it could become the biggest expense of the trip. 

Swot up on what travel insurance you need (this will vary depending on a host of factors, from where you're going to what you're doing there) using our guide

You can also compare travel insurance policies on our site to find the right cover for your trip. 


Shop for online holiday bargains

In recent years, a number of online companies that curate the cheapest holiday deals have risen to prominence.  

Most of them have a fair few last minute deals advertised.

One in particular, however, has caught our eye: HolidayPirates.

Every now and then, they post links to cut-price flights, whether it’s a London to Vietnam return flight for a little over £300 or £100 for both hotel and flights to Amsterdam. 

Keep an eye out. Shop around and check regularly.

There aaaaaar whole treasure chests of bargains to be plundered. 

Of course, when browsing online there is always the risk of falling victim to a scam.

Read our guide explaining how to avoid having your holiday ruined. 


Be clever with currency

The pound has seen a major devaluation in the past year. It’s worth less compared to both the dollar and the euro than a year ago. 

With the two most popular holiday destinations, Europe and America, now costing more, holidaymakers hoping not to get stung by the pound's depreciation have two choices: stay closer to home or go further afield.

You always have the choice to holiday in Britain. For instance, why not consider getting the Caledonian Sleeper train.

The currencies of South East Asia are all still well below the value of pound, making them much cheaper options (as well as the cost of living in these countries being lower in general), while the currencies of some East Asian countries, China for example, remain fairly weak against the pound. 

Some, such as Japan, have seen their currency strongly appreciate in recent years – so pick wisely.

The collapse of commodity prices around the world (such as for copper) has also sunk the value of many Latin American currencies, making them a cheap option.

Further afield doesn’t also need to mean the ends of the Earth. 

Some parts of Eastern Europe not in the Eurozone remain a cheap option; Hungary and Poland are obvious choices. Other, less obvious destinations, such as Serbia, are becoming increasingly popular.


Fight the fees

Unless you’re going on an all-inclusive holiday, you’re going to need cash abroad. Or, more accurately, access to money to spend.

Banks are known to heavily penalised holidaymakers for using their accounts or cards abroad, while currency exchange places often rip you off with scandalous deals. 

With a bit of patience and wit, though, you can beat these charges.

First, look at the various accounts and cards that offer free use abroad.

If you're opting for cash, do not, under any non-emergency circumstance, exchange your currency at an airport. You will be ripped off, no question about it.

Other options also exist, such as specialist travel cards. You can read the various options that exist in our compact guide.


Stay safe from scams

Being susceptible to scams is obviously going to increase the costs of your holiday. It's money you shouldn't have spent. 

Part of avoiding scams is using your wits when abroad and not handing over money to suspiciously friendly strangers.

If you’re accosted in the street for a deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read up on the type of scams common in your holiday destination.

Certain scams are specific to certain locations. For instance, the famous tea house scam in China.

More specifically, however, we urge our readers to avoid car hire scams in Europe.

Our online complaints tool is inundated with users complaining about being fleeced by car rental companies in Europe, with Spain by far the biggest scam hotspot. 

Read our guide explaining how to avoid such scams and what to do if you do fall victim. 

If you do have any issues, be sure to let us know. We've got a track record of taking on car rental companies and winning. 

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