Hurrah, the sun is out at last! (or not, depending on the weather the day you read this). Winter is gone and the summer holidays are fast approaching. Whether you’re travelling to get some sun or staying put, there are lots of ways you could plan ahead to help budget and make sure you save money while you’re enjoying the summer break.
Usually, the earlier you book a holiday the better, to find the best deals. With package holidays though booking late could work in your favour, as unsold seats and rooms have to get sold one way or another. For last-minute deals, six weeks before departure is usually when airlines start to discount seats they haven’t yet sold. If you’re booking your own flights, the time and day of the week can have a surprising impact on your budget, with Tuesday afternoon apparently the best day to travel. Planning ahead doesn’t of course just mean booking flights and hotels. It can pay to get your foreign currency sorted out in advance, and to get hold of holiday essentials like sun cream & toothpaste from regular high street discount shops rather than having to pay a lot more at the airport. If you’re planning to get a new card for your holiday spending, you may want to check your Experian credit report before applying – you can do that here.
For family trips closer to home, the train needn’t cost the earth either. There are plenty of railcards that could save you money if you use the train a few times, like Family & Friends (up to 4 adults and 4 children) and Two Together (over 16s). For short breaks and days out, you could check voucher websites for useful ‘percentage off’ code campaigns or cashback deals – there are often short-term promotional offers for specific places, dates and times.
If the weather plays ball, there are some great ways to have fun without splashing the cash. Exploring the countryside or the local area can be fun - a good old family walk could follow old, disused railway lines, mountain paths, or find animals in the local wood. And many areas will have free museums with exciting interactive activities, plus galleries and workshops – make use of them! There also may be a market or funfair to keep things jolly. There are bound to be others at the same school, or in the local streets, in exactly the same boat – why not pool your ideas and do things together? And if you have very young children, it’s worth considering that few four-year-olds are going to be bothered whether you’re in Mallorca or Margate. To most little children, a sandy beach with a bucket and a spade is the same wherever it is! By Darren Beach, Experian Experts blog