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)