6 last-minute holiday money-saving tips

Did you know that this is the week there are the most online searches for holiday money?

According to Google Trends*, in 2015 there were 100,000 online searches for holiday money in the week ending 4 July, higher than at any other time in the year.

Before you go on holiday this summer, it’s worth remembering that there are many ways you could cut costs before you’ve even touched down.

  • Waiting until you get to the airport to make essential purchases makes you a captive customer – you’ve literally got nowhere else to go, so you’re likely to pay a premium for exchange rate and small items. So get your pounds to euro, pounds to dollar sorted out in advance, get your sun cream & toothpaste from pound shops, and book your airport parking as soon as you know your flight times – and you might save a packet.

  •  If you’re planning to get a new card for your holiday spending, you may want to check your Experian Credit Report before applying. If you buy goods or services on your credit card, you have extra protection if things go wrong or there is a dispute, compared with paying by cash or even debit card, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
  • Just make sure you don’t get carried away and can afford to make regular repayments, as missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years. There are specialist credit cards available that don’t charge for overseas cash withdrawals or have no foreign exchange fee.
  • If you’re taken ill while away, a free EHIC card could help. While it’s no substitute for proper travel insurance, in the EU (at present) and selected other European countries a valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) will at least get you the same state health care available to native citizens. It only covers medical care though – if you lose your bags or miss your flight, you’ll need travel insurance.
  • To avoid come home to an inflated mobile phone bill, you could turn off both mobile data and data roaming, but keep the wi-fi on. That way you can still use phone apps if you need to make a call, using free wi-fi hotspots – most hotels will have one.
  • And sometimes just planning ahead what you want to do can help you save money – for example buying or borrowing the right guidebooks, getting advance or discounted deals on day trips or guided tours, or just working out which restaurants or bars you want to visit.

*data from Google Trends, 2015 searches for ‘holiday money;, peaking 28 June-4 July

(updated July 2016, original blog post July 2014)

One thought on “6 last-minute holiday money-saving tips

  1. Frequent Flyer

    Thanks Darren, great points (and vid)! If I can add one more though… with everything in the news recently about the UK family being denied boarding their plane (I won’t mention airlines) it has highlighted a trend in airlines intentionally overbooking to fill the seats.

    I know this article was about holidays… but actually if you’re happy to wait overnight for another flight, or even a later one that delays your arrival you’re entitled to a significant amount of compensation under EU 261 (still valid while we’re in the EU and probably will be afterwards). My point is you shouldn’t just take the the obligatory offer of a meal and even a hotel, it could be a huge saving on a holiday for just a few hours delay.


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