Google search interest for the phrase ‘cheap summer holiday’ has risen by almost 167% in the past month, as people look for budget-friendly getaways to recharge after two years of travel restrictions.
With this in mind, Forbes Advisor reveals how travellers can get the best value for their hard-earned money this summer, amid rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.
1. Pay attention to traveller reviews
Advice from fellow holidaymakers is invaluable when deciding how to plan your upcoming trip. Reviews can provide useful tips on major attractions, including which ones to steer clear of, the best times to go to avoid the crowds and maybe even how to get a cheaper ticket.
2. Utilise local knowledge
Locals are always the best source for recommendations on authentic (and cost-effective) experiences. Make the effort to learn some basic local phrases, as this will make it easier to strike up genuine conversations with residents who know the best spots.
3. Contemplate booking everything separately
For many of us, holiday packages can be the right option from both a financial and enjoyment perspective, but the convenience could also cost you more. Don’t be afraid to look outside of these ready-made deals and consider booking everything individually. Often you will find savings in making these micro-decisions yourself, as well as greater freedom over what your holiday will involve.
4. Buy the essentials in advance
Many essentials such as sunscreen and insect repellent can be more expensive at your destination, especially if you are purchasing in a touristy area, or the airport. Stock up on these items before you leave home. Also double check what your weight allowance is, as most airlines will charge you a lot for any excess baggage, so it is worth weighing your suitcase before you leave for the airport to ensure you are underweight.
5. Try self-catering accommodation
With the rise of sites such as Airbnb, it’s now increasingly easy to find and book an entire apartment or residence when going on holiday, as an alternative to hotel accommodation. If you decide to go down this route, check to see that everything you need to whip up a storm in the kitchen is included or you may find yourself having to eat out anyway.
6. Do your research & shop around
When you know which type of trip you’re looking for, it is worth shopping around, checking the prices across various outlets (in incognito mode!), and even gaining a basic understanding of airline booking codes and how they affect your fare. This can help make sure you’re getting the best deal on your holiday. It is also worth noting that Sundays are usually the cheapest times to book flights, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest days to fly, but this can fluctuate depending on the destination and airline.
7. Go all-inclusive
If a package deal suits your holiday needs best, consider going full board or all-inclusive. It might seem pricier at first, but your holiday’s meal (and often alcohol) costs are managed before you even get on the flight. Some destinations also offer bundles for sightseeing tours and attractions, where buying tickets in advance can save you money.
8. Be flexible
Amongst all of the holiday planning, try to leave some room for impulsive, last-minute decisions. This could mean taking part in a new guided tour based on recommendations, or perhaps the opposite for something you choose to avoid. In these circumstances, flexible tickets with free cancellations can be very useful and relatively cheap.
9. Staycation to save money?
Many of us will be considering an internal holiday to save a bit of money, but with the cost of rail travel and sky-high petrol prices, a staycation can often end up costing you more. Especially if you are heading to a popular destination or one of your country’s beautiful coastlines.
10. Purchase travel insurance just in case
It’s important to buy travel insurance as soon as you book in case you need to cancel your trip. Your policy will also cover the cost of emergency medical treatment and give you financial protection against the loss or theft of your baggage and belongings. Crucially, you can tailor your policy to suit your destination and the type of holiday you’re planning.