Most of us are feeling the financial strain at the moment due to steep living costs, so it's important to try to avoid racking up further bills while you are away. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to keep holiday spending to a minimum, without spoiling your break. Here are some of the best ways to keep those Easter holiday bills down... .
Find a bargain break
If you have yet to book your Easter holiday, then you may be able to pick up a
last minute bargain and save yourself hundreds of pounds. Check out the travelsupermarket.com website for cheap holiday deals. Current deals include seven nights at a 4* all inclusive hotel in Turkey departing from the North West in April starting from £252 per person, or seven nights self-catering at a 3* property in the Algarve leaving from London in April from just £85 per person. Don't pay over the odds for holiday cover
Once you have booked your holiday, you should
buy travel insurance as soon as possible so you are protected in the event that anything goes wrong while you are away - or if you have to cancel your holiday before you go. Don't automatically accept the policy that is offered to you by the travel company or agent which is selling you the holiday, as prices can often be significantly more expensive than if you opt for standalone cover.
Shopping around can result in significant savings. For example, according to moneysupermarket.com research, the average premium based on a couple going to Spain for two weeks is £39.50. In comparison, the cheapest policy available is from Cheaper Travel Insurance and costs just £9.01, a saving of £30.49. However, bear in mind that you shouldn't buy covered based on price alone - it is vital to check cover limits so you can be certain you have sufficient protection in place.
As a minimum, the policy you choose should provide £2m for medical expenses, £1m personal liability, £3,000 cancellation - or enough to cover the cost of your holiday - and £1,500 for baggage.
Sort foreign currency in advance
Buying your holiday cash at the airport is likely to prove a costly mistake, as rates of exchange are often unfavourable and commission can be steep. Instead, you should
buy your foreign currency in advance.
Online companies usually offer the most favourable rates, but always stick with the bigger, better known operators such as Travelex, ICE or Thomas Exchange Global, rather than companies you have never heard of.
Take the right plastic
Many debit and credit cards typically charge a cash withdrawal fee and foreign exchange fees, often up to 3% or £3 per withdrawal, so make sure you know what fees you will incur before you use your card to withdraw cash; this will avoid any unforeseen amounts appearing on their credit card bill once you return home.
When using a
credit or debit card abroad, the Halifax Clarity Card comes out trumps as it has no charges for overseas usage and no transaction fees in both Europe and the US - all of which can help boost holiday spending money. However, you will be charged interest on cash withdrawals at an annual percentage rate (APR) of 12.9% representative variable, even if you repay your balance in full.
Sainsbury's Gold card is also well worth a look, as it charges no fees for overseas spending, and doesn't charge interest on cash withdrawals provided they are paid off in full each month, but there is a £5 annual fee. However, the card does come with annual worldwide family travel insurance which covers two adults and up to six children.
If you want to take a debit card, the
Norwich & Peterborough Building Society's Gold Classic account card won't charge for overseas spending or cash withdrawals wherever you are in the world. There is a £5 monthly fee unless you pay £500 a month into your account. Anyone who applies for the card via moneysupermarket.com will get a £150 holiday voucher for an overseas holiday of not less than seven nights for a minimum of two adults. You can choose your holiday from any ABTA or ATOL tour operator brochures.
Alternatively, you could consider
prepaid cards from CaxtonFX or FairFX which have the benefit of no purchase, withdrawal or foreign loading fees. Avoid car hire traps
If you are
hiring a car while you are away, check the small print carefully to avoid being stung by any unexpected costs when you hand the keys back. You usually have to give the car back with a full tank of fuel, and if you fail to do this, the car hire firm could charge you well over the odds to fill it up themselves. Alternatively, the car hire firm may say you can return the car empty for an extra charge, but this can still cost you nearly double the amount it would cost to fill it up yourself.
If you are taking your own car, make sure you take out breakdown cover so you can avoid costly repair fees while abroad. Some motor insurance policies, for example, Marks & Spencer's Premier Policy, automatically include UK and European breakdown cover, so check your policy before buying.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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