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How to cut the cost of your holiday

 

As millions of Brits head off for their annual summer holidays, the cost of paying for all the extras on top of the booking price can mount up. 

But there are ways to save money by doing a little planning ahead. 

 

A Which? spokesman said:

"Even little things like taking an empty plastic bottle with you when you go to the airport and filling it up after you have gone through the security checks can help – all those pounds soon add up." 

 

Here is our essential holiday survival guide and a few travel insurance tips…

small_tickBook currency online

You can make huge savings by simply pre-ordering your cash on www.travelex.co.uk or Thomas Cook's website for collection at the airport. 

small_tickTake the slow train

The Gatwick Express from London Victoria will set you back £16.90, but the Southern Trains service will cost you £11.90 when booked on the day, or as little as £5 if you book a day in advance. If travelling to Heathrow, you could spend as much as £18 for the single 15-minute journey to the airport from Paddington on the Heathrow Express. The journey on the slower Heathrow Connect train takes 26 minutes, but it costs just £7.90. The Tube will take much longer but at only £2.40 using Oyster off-peak from Zone 1, it's good value. If you do choose the express route, book online and check promotional codes. Or try a coach deal at www.nationalexpress.com.

small_tickBook parking in advance

Price comparison websites such as www.gosimply.comwww.airport-parking-shop.co.uk and www.compare-airport-parking.co.uk will help you search for the best on and off-site parking deals at UK airports. Check rates But if you're travelling from a BAA airport, have a look at www.baa.com – they have a "best rate promise" and no credit card fees. BAA quoted £87 to pre-book two weeks parking online from mid-August at Heathrow's Long Stay Terminal Five. On the day it would have cost just under £220. 

small_tickSkip the "speedy" boarding

Priority boarding can be bought from some no-frills airlines whose seats are not allocated. This gets you through the gate first – although not always on to the plane if a bus takes you to it. If travelling with children under two on easyJet, you can take advantage of the "special assistance boarding" which is free.

small_tickUse Ryanair to your advantage

If you are looking for a quick get away and aren't fussy about location, you could benefit from Ryanair's heavily discounted fares. Travel light, book early and pay with a pre-paid Mastercard. Fares are as little as £7 one way, before baggage fees and taxes 

small_tickGet free health care

The European Health Insurance Card gives you free state-provided treatment in EU countries or Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. It's free to apply at www.ehic.org.uk 

small_tick Always pay in local currency

If you're using a card abroad, pay in local currency, rather than in sterling. This is generally cheaper as you'll be using your bank's own rate. 

small_tickTry a cash deal

If you've booked accommodation separately from your flight, check whether paying by cash is cheaper. Which? investigators saved more than £20 a night at a hotel in Amsterdam. 

small_tickFee-free credit

Most credit cards will charge a foreign exchange loading fee if you go shopping abroad. It is usually between two and three per cent of what you spend. The Post Office, Saga and Halifax all have credit cards with no charges on transactions. If you need to take out money abroad, opt for a pre-paid card. Check these out at www.which.co.uk/advice/prepaid-cards.

small_tickMobile phone charges

If your network provider's international roaming charges are high, you can save money on calls from abroad by using an international calling card for the UK or using pay phones for local calls.

Visit www.roamingadvisor.com to compare the costs of roaming with UK mobile networks.

small_tickOnline insurance

Travel insurance tips: If you take more than two holidays a year, you're probably better off with an annual travel insurance policy. Covered2go have a range of cover available. For more travel tips follow Covered2Go on Twitter and Facebook.

small_tickCheck baggage in online

Checking a bag into the hold used to be part of the holiday package. But most no-frills airlines now charge for hold luggage. The cheapest way is to check your bag in online. Ryanair charges £10 per bag if you check in luggage online and £20 at the airport. EasyJet asks for £18 online and says it could double at the airport. 

small_tickBuy lunch before you board

Take a packed lunch, or buy snacks and sandwiches at the airport to save cash. Boots offer a Meal Deal at airports. Get a sandwich, drink and snack for less than £4. 

small_tickDon't over pack

Ryanair charges £20 per kilo for excess baggage and easyJet £10 per kilo. 

small_tickCheck hand luggage

Don't fall foul of restrictions on liquids. You may have to bin the toiletries, suntan lotions and alcohol in your hand luggage. 

small_tickBag a bargain

Many airport shops have duty free prices as standard. For instance, at Monsoon a pair of sunglasses costing £14 on the High Street is £11.91. A maxi dress is £29.78, not £35. 

small_tickUse available kids entertainment

Those travelling with Thomas Cook from Gatwick and Manchester can call on the Fun Squad who sing songs and perform magic tricks to entertain bored kids. Check out other airports' play areas. 

small_tickBe a canny car hirer

Always take digital photos of the hire car when you pick it up – useful for defending claims of damage. Buy independent cover before you fly. See www.icarhireinsurance.com and www.insurance4carhire.com 

small_tickBuy suncream at home

This is cheaper in the UK than abroad. According to a Which? survey, Sainsbury's £4 Sun Protect Lotion and Asda's £3 Sun System compared with expensive brands.

 

You may also be interested in a few articles from our blog:

small_tickFCO Advice – Know Before You Go

small_tickA Guide To Travel Insurance

 

Or have a read about the services we offer:

small_tickSingle Trip Travel Travel Insurance

small_tickLong Stay Travel Insurance

small_tickCruise Travel Insurance

small_tickSporting and Activities Travel Insurance

small_tickWinter Sports Travel Insurance

 


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