If you've yet to book a summer getaway and you're watching the pennies then you're in luck. According to travel money specialist, FairFX, Brits can save thousands of pounds on a summer family holiday just by making a few smart choices.
And the company decided to put it to the test; looking at a family travelling in the peak August school holidays, potential savings added up to a staggering £3,153!
And here's how they did it.
Be flexible with the length of your holiday – save £176
If you’re not fixed being away for exactly 14 nights, check out the cost of departing on alternative days.
FairFX found that a flight from Gatwick to Malaga on Saturday, August 5, returning two weeks later cost £232 per person. However, coming back a day earlier will reduce the cost down to £188.
It’s even cheaper to return home a day later at £192. That’s a saving of £44 a person – or £176 or a family of four – and you add an extra day to your break.
Visit two holiday hotspots for less – save £76
Save money and see a bit more this summer by considering a stopover en route to your destination. Play around with available flights and you could find that breaking up your holiday and exploring two hotspots works out cheaper.
For example, a direct flight from Stansted to Barcelona cost £76 on Friday, August 25. However, flying to Milan for two nights before travelling on to Barcelona came in at £57. That’s a saving of £19 a person – £76 for a family of four.
Switch your home airport – save £828
You may have an airport close to home but are you paying over the odds for the convenience? Sometimes departing from a bit further afield can mean big savings – more than enough to justify your travel time.
A summer holiday return flight from Cardiff Airport to Portugal cost £358, but flying from Bristol Airport just over 60 miles away can more than halve the cost to £151 – that’s a saving of £207 a person or £828 for a family of four and you wouldn't have even spent that on petrol getting to the other airport.
Not bothered by unsociable flights? – save £793
Travelling overnight may not be the easiest option, especially if you’re holidaying with children. But is the inconvenience worth £800?
The least popular flight times will mean you’re likely to fork out less for your holiday. FairFX found that a week package holiday for a family of four to Rhodes from Manchester Airport dropped from £6,854 to £6,061 if you’re happy to travel during the night. That’s a saving of £793 for a family of four!
Book your parking in advance – save £22
Set on driving to the airport? Book your parking in advance and scour the internet for deals – you can even get discounts by signing up to the airport’s free mailing lists.
For example, booking parking in advance at Birmingham Airport knocked the price down from £108 to £86. And if you’re local to good public transport links, you can save even more –Birmingham has a free Air-Link system from Birmingham International Station. Save £22 – £86.
Alternatively, do what I do and look at JustPark – parking on people's driveways for the holiday duration for a fraction of the price it costs for airport parking. And the best news is that very often the homeowners incorporate lifts to and from the airport in the price – it's like your own private chauffeur service!
Be flexible with your dates – save £664
Supply and demand means that summer holidays will cost more outside of term time – but you can still find savings by playing with your travel dates during peak times.
There are huge price variations across August for example; if you want to book a flight from Manchester to Lisbon in August, prices range from £30 if you depart on Wednesday 30th August to £100 on Friday 4th August.
Equally, return flights range from £73 departing on Thursday 3 August right up to £169 on Monday 1st August. This means you could save £166 per person on a return flight if you pick the best days – that’s £664 for a family of four.
Make sure you book luggage when you book your flight – saving £40
Some of the low-cost airlines charge up to £50 for a small 15kg bag checked in at the airport, but if you do it online it's £10 less per person – that's an extra £40 for a family of four.
If you're opting for a short city break then you can always opt for hand luggage if you're a savvy packer.
Avoid car rental ‘extras’ – saving £185
With car hire rental companies charging around £14 a day to hire a Sat Nav, this could cost you a whopping £196 over a two-break.
You could hire one from eBay for example, which will set you back just £11 for two weeks, saving £185. And you can now take advantage of free roaming charges across EU countries by using apps such as Maps on your smartphone.
Bring your own food on board – saving £30
With British Airways recent move to abolish free food on short-haul flights, always check with your airline provider if food is provided.
BA’s new M&S sandwiches cost up to £4.75 each alongside a packet of Percy Pigs at £1.80. The cost of this in flight ‘snack’ is likely to cost a family of four up to £30. And that's even before you've started on the drinks.
If you buy your food (minus the drinks) at a supermarket on your way to the airport, you'll save a small fortune. Alternatively, do like I do and make the most of airport lounges – it's free reading materials, free food, free Wi-Fi and comfortable surroundings galore.
Follow the pound – saving £70
If you’re open-minded about holiday destinations, you can save considerably by visiting places with a favourable exchange rate. You could even end up visiting a dream destination you never thought you’d be able to afford.
Currency analysis by FairFX reveals you can get 8% more for your money in New Zealand compared to three months ago – that’s more than £70 for every £1,000 exchanged. You’ll also get 7% more for your money in Australia and Canada, 6% in Jamaica and 5% in South Africa and the Seychelles.
Don’t leave changing money to the last minute – saving £109
You’ll miss out on better rates and could end up paying as much as 18% more for your currency at the airport, meaning you could lose £118 for every £1,000 exchanged.
Start thinking about currency even before you book your holiday to get the best value; set up a currency email alert so you can buy when the rates are in your favour and lock in rates on a prepaid currency card, which you can use abroad without paying costly credit cards charges.
Travel insurance. Saving: Cost of your whole holiday
For full protection, book this as soon as you book your holiday. If you don’t and there’s a problem and your holiday is cancelled, you could lose everything.
Also, if you take two or more trips a year it's worth opting for annual travel insurance rather than single cover as this usually works out more cost effective. Use online comparison sites to look for the best deal too.
Silly mistakes. Saving: £160
Double and triple check your details before you book as making a change to an airline ticket can set you back £160.
The name on the ticket has to match the passport so make sure these match and you haven’t used a nickname or a short form.
Hopefully that has given you a few ideas on how to cut costs when holidaying this summer. And if you're looking for more inspiration on saving the pennies for a getaway, have a read of ‘How to Cut Costs on Summer Holidays'!
What's your favourite money saving tip?
A pin for your thrifty board!