You may totally high five yourself/crack open the Asti/do a little Carlton shuffle when you nab yourself a £19.99 return flight to Italy this summer. And you absolutely are allowed to Instagram your laptop screen/jump on the bed in your nickers/hang your head out of the car window when you’ve booked yourself the elusive £50 return Paris Euro-Star trip (it does exist – I’ve watched Mr MLLH’s caterpillar [the 80’s breakdance move – nothing else!] twice now.)
But isn’t it so annoying when you have to take care of the rest of the holiday expenses and the cheapskate in you groans at the thought of £40 for airport parking; that’s more than the flight – how can stationary vehicles cost more than flying ones!? Or the AirBnB clean-up fee would suggest you were planning some rock ‘n’ roll parties in your little Italian villa. See, there are deals out there (read how to find them here) and it’s fab to grab one when and where you can but don’t forget – all the little extra’s add up! Being the frequent travellers that we are, I’ve compiled a list for you of those add-on expenses outside of just booking the actual holiday, and a few tips on how to save money when travelling. After all, if you can save money somewhere, that means you can book another holiday right? Or at least buy a pair of shoes.
6 Ways To Reduce Travel Costs And Save Money When Travelling
- Travel Insurance. Shop around and consider an annual cover : risking a trip without it just isn’t worth it – you don’t want to be left not being able to afford the cast for a broken leg – papier maché only looks pretty on home-made space helmets. Check you don’t have cover already – it’s often part of credit card packages. Make sure your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is up to date – state provided health care is free in most European countries AND the excess may be waived if you do provide it on an occasion where your policy comes into play.
- Airport Transfers. If it has to be a taxi then absolutely use UBER and save money – download the app and once you’ve collected your baggage you can book your car, the price is a flat rate and will be shown pre-trip. Otherwise, shop around for other means of hotel transfers : Trip Advisor often has information in the comments section under the hotel you’re staying at on different ways people used to get there. Obviously public transport will usually be the cheapest but it may not be practical if you arrive late or there are a few of you in your party.
- Car Hire. It’s amazing the difference in prices between competitors. Off-site company’s (requiring you to take a shuttle bus from the airport to the offices) will always be cheaper than in the airport. Also, save money and buy your excess waiver online at home before you travel : £3 a day is better than £20 a day which is what the car hire companies charge. Or you can buy a yearly premium if you are planning to take multiple trips abroad.
- Credit Cards. Not all credit cards offer a competitive rate when using overseas : Check your T&C’s. For the best exchange rate and no fees, consider the Halifax Clarity Card.
- Cleaning Fee’s. This one really annoys me as you can eat your dinner off the floor when I’ve left a place. However, if you’re booking with AirBnB the cleaning rate is sometimes negotiable – in North Sealand, Denmark we aggreed that we would wash all the bedding and leave the holiday home as we found it, and saved ourselves £50!
- Museum Tickets/Excursions. You can almost always save money by purchasing tickets online beforehand. And you can go one better by checking if the museums in question have any free days – quite a lot are open for free the last Sunday in every month, or something similar. Now that’s a real brucey bonus saving if you can tie in your trip with a free day!
Packing Hacks To Save Money
Apart from number 6 above, I totally had to pick Mr MLLH’s brains about the rest – he’s the money man in our house. I used to control most of the finances in my previous marriage (and maybe that’s why it’s now ‘previous‘) but I like to see Richard’s face when he blag’s us a bargain or shaves off a few pounds here and there – he’s in his
tight Scottish happy place when he can save money and who am I to take that glee away from him? However, I pack like a sleuth. I may forget to pick up the kids once in a while or can’t recall the names of my neighbours but I will never fail to remember where I have seen some suitcase-bound piece of luggage on a good deal or a shop that is slaying the costs of it’s competitors. After all, if there’s left-over change from the budget there may be a pair of shoes in it for me! So here’s my current selection of holiday-happy bargains presently filling the shelves of UK stores.
Selling everything from mouse traps to curtain poles at budget prices, why shouldn’t you expect to pick up most of your holiday essentials in this wonderful mecca to ‘household necessities’? First off worth mentioning is the 3 for 2 deal on travel toiletries. For £10 you can get 12 products under 100ml (hand-luggage size limit) That’s toothpaste, shampoos, face wash, shower gel, clothes detergent (very handy), deodorant, talc, mouth wash, hair products, face & hand creams etc. etc. And even if you’re checking in luggage it’s very rare you would use more than 100ml of some of these products in a weeks holiday so it’s still worth buying on this offer. Plus, what ever bottles you use up and throw away leaves more room in your case for the shoes you bought!
Cheap and cheerful is good old Matalan. Their designers are always on trend and in 2017 I love their choice of botanical prints for their summer-wear section. Perhaps the bargain of the century when you compare how expensive swimming costumes are from every other retailer, have you seen this gorgeous swimsuit for £14? It may not be of Speedo quality but I don’t desire to look like an Olympic school girl (these days, that is a thing) when I sunbathe and nor can I justify the £80 price-tag for a beautiful Ted Baker one either, so until my premium bonds win I will be shopping in the holiday section of Matalan and throwing stuff away at the end of the summer – stretched from bombing sessions and stained from poolside sangria’s.
Everyone knows how bargain-full TK Max is; Sunglasses reduced from £300,000 to £14. Pony-skin washbags – once £4,000, now £12. Designer flipflops – originally £379.99, price slashed to £3. It’s amazing how they can do that! But, the ultimate bargain, an item you must never consider scrimping on, mans invention : The Humble Suitcase. Don’t even think about the £20 Asda case – the wheels will drive you insane then drop off at the most inopportune time. And, never think you have cheated the universe by managing to pick up a Tripp™ look-a-likey in Primark for £14 : It’s not Tripp™, it will ruin your trip and you will more than likely proceed to trip on the airport travelator (don’t you just love those things? Why can’t they install them on my route to school?) before your trip is out! No, head on down to TK Max for a genuinely pleasing bargain on good quality, branded luggage.
So they’re my top 3 money saving shops for travel bargains along with my well-travelled tips for cutting costs when you’re actually booking the holiday. So, do tell, what are your travel hacks for shaving off a few extra pounds/euro’s/dollars? I’d love to know!
This post was sponsored by Holiday Gems – your one stop shop for cheap holiday deals. But of course, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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