If you’re dreaming of kicking back and relaxing on holiday, you need to do a lot of hard work to get there in the first place...
Booking and planning your holiday is probably the least fun bit, but it is the key to a successful trip. Here are some tricky things you need to get done, before you can take it easy.
Decide when to go
Foreign travel is most expensive during half terms and summer holidays, but if you have no choice, there are ways of cutting the cost.
The first and last week of the summer holidays tend to be cheapest. Flying midweek is also cheaper than weekends, when demand is lower. Early morning or late night flights can also keep the cost down.
Plan well ahead
You can get savings on last-minute deals, but what you sacrifice is choice. You have to make compromises over everything from the destination to the hotel.
In most cases, booking well in advance works. This is also the only way to guarantee you will get the exact holiday you had in mind. You might also benefit from early bird discounts and extras such as free child places.
Try somewhere different
Paris again? How unoriginal
Old favourites like Paris, Barcelona and Rome can get booked up, expensive and crowded, so why not try somewhere different?
You might find your money troubles a lot further, too.
Book using your credit card
Many people do not realise that you get extra protection when you buy something on a credit card, that you don't get on a debit card.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act protects all credit card transactions between £100 and £30,000, giving you redress if your travel company or airline goes bust. Also check whether your holiday has ATOL protection.
Buy travel insurance as soon as you book
Don't leave it to the last minute to buy travel cover, you could regret it. Take out a policy the moment you put down your deposit, because that way you are covered for cancellation due to illness or injury at any point.
Do not simply buy the cheapest, you want your travel insurer to be there when you need them.
Decide whether you want all-inclusive
All-inclusive holidays with flights, rooms, transfers, meals and drinks can be more expensive than DIY trips, but are simpler to arrange, take the stress out of booking and gives you easier redress if something goes wrong.
The danger is that you spend more you expect on extras, such as day trips, ice creams and the meals outside of the resort, so check what's included and budget carefully.
Book currency in advance
Never, never, never buy currency at an airport kiosk, if you can avoid it, you could lose as much as a quarter of the money you exchange.
The best exchange rates are now found online, and ordered in advance for home delivery. Or you could arrange to pick it up at the airport, while still bagging the online price.
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