Your summer holiday can be one of the biggest expenses of the year – our tips and ideas will help your budget stretch further.

Make a plan

Make a list of all the different things you’ll need to pay for both before you go and while you’re on your holiday.  Apart from travel and accommodation, include travel insurance, car hire, holiday clothes, food and entertainment – you’ll probably think of others. This will help you to estimate the costs and set yourself a realistic budget. It also means you won’t be caught out by any ‘extras’ you hadn’t planned for while you’re away.

A handy online budget planning tool is available on the Government’s Money Advice Service.

Review your finances

Look at ways you could save money on a regular basis, eg, on your weekly shop, to put towards the cost of your holiday. Maybe you could cut back on luxuries like trips to the cinema or meals out in the run-up to your holiday? Every little helps.

For inspiration, read How to make your money go further in the New Year, 10 tips to save money by shrinking the weekly food bill and 20 ways to save money.

Shop around for the best deal

Compare prices online and on the high street and make sure you get the best price on everything from flights to theme park entry.  Check websites like Groupon for deals – some have downloadable apps to keep you up-to-date with the latest offers. Travel Supermarket and the Money Saving Expert website are great starting points for your research.

Don’t be afraid to haggle – ask high street travel agents what discounts are available, or be brave and ask if they can match, or even better, a cheap deal you’ve found online.

Remember that package deals (where flights, accommodation and connections are all included in one price) are usually cheaper.

Pre-book online where possible:

  • Book airport parking in advance, not on the day.
  • Don’t use a credit card abroad, or you’ll rack up some steep charges. Order currency in advance online and pick it up at the airport
  • Pre-book your luggage online.
  • Book car hire in advance.
  • Don’t automatically accept the travel insurance you’re offered by your travel agency or tour operator – again, shop around to find the most suitable deal at the best price.

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Get a last-minute deal

If you’re flexible about where and when you go, you can grab a real bargain. Alternatively, booking early can shrink the cost of the deposit and gives you the best choice of flights and accommodation. Remember that going away at the beginning or end of the holiday season can work out cheaper, as can travelling mid-week.



Save on toiletries

Save and collect the free samples of shampoo and shower gel that you get in magazines or through the post – they’re the perfect handy size to take on your hols and save you shelling out for travel-sized toiletries. They’re often luxury brands, so they’ll be an extra little treat for your holiday too!

Get an EHIC

If you’re holidaying in Europe, make sure you’ve got an up-to-date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles you to free or discounted medical care. And it doesn’t cost you a thing to get one – apply at However, it’s not a substitute for taking out travel insurance.

Consider a ‘staycation’

Why go abroad when there are adventures to be had on your own doorstep? Plan a summer exploring local attractions and events – many of which will be free – or doing family activities such as going for picnics, swimming or baking together.

If you fancy a few nights away from home, consider going camping – it can be an adventure for the whole family even if it’s in your own back garden! Or arrange to stay with friends or family in a different part of the country – you could repay the favour by offering to host them during the next holidays.

We’ve got more Handy tips for the perfect ‘staycation’, and ideas for 10 cheap or free family days out.

Once you’re booked and are ready to go, check out our Top tips on packing for your holiday to make the most of your luggage space!