Going on holiday is something we look forward to all year. Whether it's to get some well-earned rest from work or studies, or just to top up on some sun in a nice climate, going away can do us all a great deal of good. However, it can be difficult to save up enough money in time, and we often get caught out by a combination of unexpected costs and unrealistic budgeting, which can put a dampener on the fun. Here are some tips on how to save for, and during, your holiday.
Before you book
Weigh up your options – if you are planning to move around a lot, particularly in Western Europe, it could save you money to take a ferry and go by car. There are plenty of websites which can calculate your mileage and petrol costs and it could work out cheaper than paying for air travel over and over again, particularly for a family. Whilst driving can be fun though, it might also be quite tiring, so if you are someone who does not enjoy driving long distances you may want to consider whether this will detract from your enjoyment of the holiday.
When it comes to planning a holiday, budgeting for spending money might just be the trickiest part of all. Once accommodation and travel have been paid for, you must then try to estimate how much money you will need for the essentials (such as food and local travel) and how much you will want for the things that create the holiday (such as entertainment, museums trips and those cocktails on the beach!).
One good tip for any holiday is to allow more than you think you will spend. If you can manage it, put aside an extra 10% of what you already have, and treat this as money not to be touched unless it's an emergency or you are at the very end of your holiday and want to splash out on a souvenir. There is probably nothing more unnerving than being far from home and knowing that you have no money left in your bank account!
These days, going away with friends for the first time is something of a rite of passage for young people. It is also a time when parents are kindly to receive sheepish phone calls home, asking for an emergency bank transfer. It can be so easy to get carried along with the tide of those around you. Who does not want that extra round in the bar, or to have a go on the hire-out jetskis? But you must be ready to accept that your friends may have more to spend than you do.
Sticking to your own budget is all about balance. For example, if you overspent yesterday, why not take today easy and read on the beach? Equally, if you know that you prefer daytime activities, slow down in the bar at night and leave some cash for travel and activities the next day. Alternating between your tipple and a glass of water will leave you with a clear head and save you money.
Festivals are a great way of having some holiday fun without having to go abroad. The UK has a thriving festival circuit, and many people are choosing them as an alternative to expensive overseas breaks. However, while you might save money on the big stuff – travel, accommodation – they are notorious hotspots for expensive food and drink stalls.
While most festivals have restrictions on bringing alcoholic drinks onsite, there is no limit to how much food you can take with you. Rather than splashing out half your spending money on overpriced snacks, why not plan your meals in advance? Taking along washed and tinned food and preparing it yourself or with friends will be considerately cheaper, and can also be fun. You are camping, after all!
When saving for your holiday, the earlier you start planning, the better. Make sure you research travel and accommodation prices for the time at which you will be traveling. Costs increase considerably once the school holidays start in July, so ensure you plan your saving for the right prices, and not the ones quoted for April! Many people find it easier to put their holiday money into a savings account . Keeping holiday savings separate from your everyday account should remove the risk of them being spent, and give you a more realistic idea of how much you can afford to put away.
Whatever type of holiday you're going on this year, thinking ahead can make your money go so much further. So plan ahead, save, be spend-savvy, and enjoy!