Summer holidays can cost a fortune. Save money with these 20 holiday hacks...
1. The best way to save money and still enjoy a summer holiday on a budget is to go camping. But the annoying thing is that even this option can be expensive during the school summer holidays. Check out Pitchup. I found this five-night break in Devon, for two adults and two children for £48 from next Monday July 30.
2. If you’re holidaying in a UK city, check out your destination’s student area. Clifton in Bristol is an upmarket part of my city but because it also has a huge student population there are often meal deals and drinks promotions running at the local bars and restaurants. And, of course, you don’t have to be a student to take advantage of them!
3. The key to saving money is research, research, research! Book meals and days out in advance through Groupon, Wowcher and LivingSocial. Or send me an email to find out how you can get a free Gourmet Card which offers up to 50% off the bill at a number of popular restaurant chains.
4. Taking a trip to one of the UK’s cities or seaside towns this summer? It’s well worth investing in a Friends & Family railcard. which will give you 1/3 off adult fares and 60% off kids' fares. Use your Tesco vouchers to bag it for £15 instead of the usual £30. You should also check out offers from train companies like South West Trains. Little Miss Diva and I tend to take a day trip to London during the school holidays where you can get 2 for 1 entry on Shreks Adventure, London Eye, London Dungeon and London Zoo.
5. Stock up on your summer essentials like sun cream and mosquito repellent by paying your local pound shop a visit. Yes the sizes are smaller than the supermarkets (30ml compared to 100ml) but they still tend to work out cheaper.
6. If you can afford to go abroad, the golden rule is to book your flight 56 days in advance with some hotels also offering discounts on early reservations. If you’ve left it too late for this but don’t mind where you go, check out last minute bargains instead. Try travelrepublic.co.uk, directline-holidays.co.uk, travelzoo.co.uk and lastminute.com
7. Switch on private browsing when you’re searching for a holiday. Cookies know what you’re looking for because you’ve searched for similar flights before. Beat them at their own game!
8. Get yourself a cashback card if you're spending a lot of money on a holiday. Even with just 1% cash back you could save £10 on a trip costing £1,000. I have a Utility Warehouse cash back card which offers me fantastic savings and the money comes straight off my bills. Send me an email if you'd like to find out how you can get your hands on one.
9. Unfortunately the weakened pound means UK holidaymakers are having to fork out extra money if they are going abroad this summer. Save money where you can by applying for a credit card that’s great for overseas spending. The best credit cards according to moneysupermarket.com include those from Santander and Nationwide.
10. The price of food and drink at airports is nothing short of daylight robbery! Take your own lunch and an empty water bottle (or two) to fill up at drinking fountains after you’ve passed through check in. They’re not usually well sign posted (funny that!) so get the kids to see who can be the first to spot them.
11. Many of the affordable airlines make money on baggage costs. Pay for less luggage by learning how to pack like a pro! Watch this video for some useful tips…
12. We’ve all heard of Airbnb but have you thought of swapping your home to live in someone else’s home for a week? Check out www.lovehomeswap.com and www.guardianhomeexchange.co.uk and with any luck when it comes to your next holiday all you’ll have to pay for is flights!
13. Take advantage of the free Wifi! Make sure you make the most of this at the airport, hotel and anywhere you can to save money on your phone bills. Always check with your mobile phone provider before making calls or using the internet abroad.
14. Use public transport rather than an open top tour bus. It may not be as fun, but it’s usually a hell of a lot cheaper. Last year, a bus tour in Malta for one adult and one child was 30 Euro, yet a local bus journey to the beach cost just 1.50E each.
15. Shop around when booking your excursions. Don’t assume the hotel representative will offer you the best deal on local trips. We found agents had better deals further away from the hotel and that those from our home country were more happy to help and save us a few quid.
16. If you’re brave enough to drive abroad, don’t pay for your sat nav. Try Navfree where you can pre-load your journeys so you don’t have to dig into that data! Also, consider hiring a bicycle or even buying a second-hand one and selling it on before you return.
17. If staying at a hotel and you only have a USB charger for your mobile phone or tablet, modern TVs tend to come with a USB port in the side, allowing you to recharge. Don’t go out and spend money on unnecessary extra adapters!
18. Eat like a local. Venturing further afield (if abroad) will ensure you don’t have to pay over inflated prices just for a view of the sea (although it’s nice to splash out at least once!). Ask locals, including expats, for their recommendations of not only where to eat, but also for tips on family days out that they’ve discovered off the beaten track.
19. Choose your time to fly. Flying on a Tuesday and a Wednesday is better for the pocket and experience has taught me that early morning flights can save you hundreds of pounds – although it may mean dragging the kids out of bed in the middle of the night for that transfer.
20. Go all-inclusive but check TripAdvisor first! If you’re holidaying abroad on a budget, all-inclusive is likely to work out cheaper because of the weakened pound. That said do read the reviews on TripAdvisor first. If you can’t eat the food and end up dining out every day, you’ll be forking out for more than you bargained for.
Have you got any money-saving holiday hacks I haven’t mentioned? Please feel free to share them on the Broke in Bristol Facebook page and don't forget to like our Facebook page to need miss an update.