Your summer holiday is one of the highlights of the year but you don’t want to fly home to massive bills. Here are ten ways to bring the costs down
1. Be flexible
You can find some great last-minute deals online, and you could save even more money if you travel midweek or can be flexible about your choice of airport and destination.
2. Beware all inclusive
If you go all-inclusive you don’t have to worry about blowing your budget but watch out for extras when you get there, such as international brand drinks, and eating and drinking outside your resort.
3. Book your money
Airport currency booths are the very worst way to buy your holiday cash. They may boast “commission-free money” but rip-off exchange rates can swallow a quarter of your cash.
Order online in advance. Home delivery costs around £5 but may be free on orders of £500 or more.
4. Take your own food
It is all too easy to fritter money away at the airport, so plan ahead. You cannot take liquids through security but you can take food and an empty water bottle to fill up.
Remember to pack shampoos and sun creams in your hold luggage.
5. Check and print
Double check your airline's baggage allowance to avoid over packing and remember to print off all your boarding passes.
Budget airlines impose inflated charges on those who fail to follow all of the rules.
6. Hire charges
If hiring a car, watch out for hidden fees at the pick-up desk. The most expensive is "collision damage waiver” which exempts you from paying towards any damage on the car, but can cost up to £20 a day.
A stand-alone policy from iCarHireInsurance.co.uk, Insurance4CarHire.com and WorldWideInsure.com offers superior cover for less.
7. Use your points
If you collect credit card or other loyalty points, especially on airline credit cards, now may be the time to use them. For example, Avios members can redeem points on car hire, hotels, experiences and drinks.
8. Pack the right plastic
You can use your standard credit or debit card overseas, but many charge foreign usage fees of three per cent or more.
A handful waive all foreign usage charges, including Halifax Clarity, Santander Zero and Post Office Platinum at time of writing.
9. Be dynamic
Foreign shops and restaurants often ask if you want to pay in sterling when using a debit or credit card, but always say no.
Otherwise they will apply their own “dynamic currency conversion” charge, which can cost up to ten per cent of your spend. Pay in the local currency and let your card issuer handle the currency conversion, its rates are better.
10. Roam free
Roaming charges when using your mobile phone outside the EU can be punitive, so check if your phone company offers global roaming, use Wi-Fi where possible, or even buy a local pay-as-you-go SIM card when you land.