At PayingTooMuch.com we had our busiest ever month in January as the long, gloomy new year nights sparked a spree of holiday and travel insurance bookings. But today, more than ever, consumers need to make sure that their money goes as far as it possibly can. Here are our top moneysaving tips for your holiday this year.
1. Insure your holiday when you book!
OK - let’s get the most important one out of the way first. You insure your car from the moment of purchase to protect your asset against unforeseen circumstances such as other drivers and falling trees. So why would you not insure your holiday as soon as you book?
Travel insurance covers so much more than just medical expenses. Cancellation cover (included in most policies) will refund you the cost of your holiday if you are unable to travel due to illness or a number of other reasons.
Don’t leave your huge holiday investment uninsured!
2. Get a 0% credit or debit card
Buying euros in the UK before travelling can leave you feeling robbed by high exchange rates. Equally, you can incur charges using your debit card abroad (typically 3% + a fee) so a simple £100 in euros could end up costing £103+ fees. HOW ANNOYING!
In 2015 we published a blog on travel money. Today there are plenty of credit cards that charge 0% for transactions abroad. Nearly every bank has a zero fee credit card, and approval will be quicker if you apply from the same bank that you have a current account with. Remember to set up a direct debit to pay in full each month to avoid paying interest.
However, credit cards WILL charge you a high fee for cash withdrawals. As the travel money blog points out, Metro Bank don’t charge any fees in Europe. This is by far the easiest and best way of getting cash within Europe.
Whatever you do, don’t wander blindly into paying high fees to your bank or get suckered into bad exchange rates on the high street. And always select ‘EUROS’ on the card machine when given a choice.
3. Be flight savvy
- Easyjet customers should keep checking the price of their flights. If the price drops after you have booked, you can call up and ask for the difference in vouchers. Note : sale prices are excluded.
- Use a flight comparison website such as SkyScanner to find the cheapest flights. Broaden the search from, for example, ‘London Gatwick’ or ‘Birmingham’ to just ‘London’ or ‘UK’ to see the best prices from different airports.
- Go prepared – you can’t take liquids through security, but you can take a packed lunch. Low cost airlines make most of their profit from extra sales such as sandwiches and extra legroom. Save money and take your own mid-flight snacks.
4. Compare your airport parking
Like most things, the earlier you book your airport parking the better the price is likely to be. Use our airport parking comparison tool to save up to 60%.
5. Pre-book your hire car
Pre-booking your hire car before you arrive can save you hundreds of pounds and a massive headache. Compare prices and book before travelling using a comparison website such as www.comparecarhire.co.uk. Remember the following points:
- Check the fuel policy. Some will make you pre-purchase fuel and offer a partial refund. This is bad.
- Young drivers will have to pay significant extra fees
The initial rental price may appear cheap online (less than £5/day sometimes!) but when you collect the vehicle you should be prepared for the hard sell on insurance. If you choose not to take extra insurance, expect to pre-authorise the excess, which can be up to £2000, and must be done on a credit card!
It’s possible to get ‘car hire excess insurance’ before you travel, which will be significantly cheaper than the hire car company’s own extra insurance. A quick Google search will point you in the right direction. If you do this, you will need to pre-authorise the hire company’s excess on a credit card, and if you damage the car then you can claim back the money from your excess insurance provider.
Confused? Look out for a blog on hiring a car abroad.
6. Last minute? – check out the package holidays
If you are travelling with short notice don’t forget to check out last-minute package holiday deals. The hotel room will remain quiet and the flights will go empty if the holiday company don’t sell them, so look out for some killer bargains.