Are Holiday Travel Savings in Your Future?

Planning holiday travel can be a challenging process. And if you don’t have experience working out the details, it’s easy to pay too much for air travel, accommodation, and other holiday expenses. Fortunately for novice UK holidaymakers, seasoned travelers and bargain hunters have identified the best ways to reduce holiday travel costs, without interfering with family fun.

If you’re primed for the best possible holiday, but also need to keep costs under control, these strategies can help you plan rewarding travel that doesn’t leave you broke.

Get the Best Price on Airline Tickets

It can be hard deciding when to buy airline tickets. On one hand, you want to secure arrangements well ahead of time, so you’re locked-in when the holiday travel season arrives. On the other hand, the best travel deals may not show up until closer to your proposed departure date, presenting opportunities to save money. Wait too long though and you could lose access to affordable seats, or worse, miss out on your preferred dates and destinations.

Various studies and surveys have analysed the cost of air travel, offering clues about the best time to buy. For example, one group found that tickets purchased 5 months before departure were actually nearly 20 per cent more expensive than those bought just three weeks before traveling. The information points to the three-week mark as the most economical time to purchase airline tickets. It is also thought air travel providers inflate prices for business travelers, during the week, so online airfare deals are best on weekends.

Air travel is a big investment, so passengers ticketed for travel within the EU or booked with an EU airline are protected from financial loss. When your airline fails to provide timely service, resulting in additional travel expenses for you and family members, the company is responsible for the charges. If you experience air travel slowdowns or cancellations during holiday, you may qualify for Flight Delay Compensation. It’s easy to prepare your claim online.

Consider Self-catering Accommodation

Travel circumstances are different for every family, so you have to take the most sensible approach for your household. One cost-effective alternative to consider is booking accommodation with all the comforts of home – including a kitchen. You don’t want to be saddled with food prep duties that interfere with holiday fun, but self-catering can save considerable sums of money for families with many hungry mouths to feed. Of course you’ll want easy access to a supermarket, or it may not be worth paying extra for well-equipped accommodation.

Avoid Big Balances

There’s more than one way to pay for holiday, but many UK travelers choose credit cards to fund family outings. If you have a repayment scheme in mind, with funds available to quickly wipe balances, credit cards provide a convenient option at the point of sale. But if you simply pile charges on the card, without a way to pay, you’ll fight with the balance for many months, after your holiday comes to an end.

Making regular deposits to a dedicated holiday savings account can help you set aside cash for travel. If possible, establish automatic withdrawals from your pay deposits, so the money’s tucked away, before you’re tempted to spend it. And if your holiday is near, but you’ve come up a little short, a personal loan can help you cover costs between paychecks, without reaching for plastic. As long as you make timely payments, short-term lending rates are more affordable than carrying big balances on credit card accounts.

Can You Travel Outside Peak Season?

Travel timing isn’t always in your hands. School schedules and other limitations often funnel holiday travelers down the same chute, leaving everyone scrambling for affordable travel and accommodation, at the same time. It almost goes without saying, but is worth reinforcing: traveling during off-peak periods not only gives you the best access to tours, events, and attractions, but you’ll also save sizable sums on the cost of plane tickets, resort stays, and other holiday expenses.

With so many details to work out, it’s easy to overspend on family travel. With these tips and a little luck, you may be able to save money on your next holiday. For savings you can count on, travel outside peak season, and when you need to finance part of your trip, use cost-effective credit, or you’ll pay for holiday pleasures all year long.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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