It’s almost the end of the year and now is the time to start your holiday planning. Whether you are going skiing in France or just a trip up the coast, having a good budget is crucial to enjoying your holiday and taking the stress off your journey. So follow deferit’s easy guide to budgeting for your Christmas escape!
1. Set a holiday budget limit from the outset.
Holidays are an occasion to relax, and nothing is more stressful than worrying about whether that family meal at the Thai restaurant is going to break the bank.
Don’t fall into the trap of just tracking your spending without having pre-determined limits. Set yourself appropriate limits for what you will spend on food, transport, etc before you go. If you need help, there are plenty of free holiday budget templates on the internet, I recommend this one by Microsoft.
Do your research on your destination to ensure you have a realistic budget set up and what to expect, I recommend budgetyourtrip as they have average daily travel costs from real travellers.
2. Switch to incognito mode.
3. Travel mid-week.
When booking a flight, opt to travel mid-week. Tuesday is almost always the cheapest priced day of the week to fly, but the smartest move here is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month on Skyscanner to see what days are the cheapest for your specific direction. Consider red-eye international flights (overnight flights), not only will you save on ticket price but it also means saving on one night’s accommodation.
4. Save money on accommodation.
Accommodation is such a big proportion of holiday spending that saving even a little bit per night can make a huge difference to the overall cost. Trade expensive hotel rooms for Airbnb where you can book a room in a local’s apartment or house for the fraction of a hotel room’s price.
If you really prefer a hotel, use a comparison site like Skyscanner to compare hotel prices and make sure you’re getting the best deals. Hoteltonight is great for finding some last-minute bookings. Make sure to keep an eye out for specials if staying more nights and when comparing remember to consider which hotels offer breakfast included.
Staying in the city on weekends when business travellers have gone home and visiting weekend leisure getaways during the week can save you up to 40 per cent. It’s also worth doing your homework to make sure your stay doesn’t coincide with a big festival or university open day which will spike accommodation costs through the roof.
For extra points if you’re a budgeting pro, you can even look at renting out your own house on Airbnb while you are away.
5. Be smart with your car rental.
Car rentals can be one of the most expensive parts of your holiday so it’s worth paying a bit of attention to reduce your costs. Firstly, shop around for different pick-up locations. For example, if you can pick up your car in the city rather than at the airport, you can often save a decent amount of money. Additionally, make sure you invest in good travel insurance before you go, as it will often mean you don’t have to buy additional insurance on your rental.
Also, keep in mind whether you will have a rental car and will be needing parking. Many hotels don’t offer free parking, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when budgeting.
6. Say yes to public transport.
Not only are trains and buses cheaper than planes, but a journey on an overnight train also means you don’t need to pay for a hotel room. So embracing public transport is actually a financial life-saver!
7. Eat local produce.
Whether I’m in Europe or just a small country town, I am always excited to sample the produce. Instead of spending $50 on a restaurant dinner, spend $10 at some local stores for produce and eat it in a nice spot. Sitting by a river with some bread and cheese is something I initially began doing to save money. But now, I would choose it over a restaurant any day!
8. Find the best card for you.
This is such an easy way to save money with almost no effort. The bank card you use while travelling can cost you a lot of money between ATM fees, international transaction fees and bad exchange rates. Do some research into which card will charge you the least and ask your bank what is best for your situation. I saved 10% on my last holiday just by reducing bank fees! If you’re unsure, a great option to check out is TransferWise or Revolut.
9. Travel light.
Packing light may seem like an onerous challenge, but it will help you to avoid paying for check-in baggage and save a big chunk of money. It will also mean saving on rental cars as you won’t need such a big car, saving on uber costs etc. If you’re not sure how to pack like a minimalist, check out this guide!
Now that you’re equipped with all these tips, all that’s left to do is to book your tickets! If you have any other great holiday budget tips then leave them in the comments!