Saving Money On Holiday

Going on holiday this year but want to keep an eye on your cash? It’s important to watch your spend and ensure you don’t get into any unnecessary debt. We are a responsible lender and we don’t encourage customers to take a short term loan with us to cover the costs of a holiday. There may be other ways you can still have your needed beach break or city break, whether locally or overseas. Here are 10 tips for saving on a holiday.

Get a roaming deal

When on holiday, you’ll probably want to use your mobile phone to stay in touch with friends and family and post the odd photo on Facebook and Instagram. But don’t forget about roaming charges when you leave the EU. Roaming charges are the fees that mobile operators charge you to make calls, send texts and use data outside of the EU. While roaming charges in the EU were abolished completely in 2017, after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, we could see these charges return. The government has recently released guidance stating “From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end.” “Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.”

Check your contract to confirm what it covers and see if your operator has a roaming package – this usually allows you to use your minutes, texts and data for a certain cost per day. It could save you a pretty penny.

Check travel times carefully

If you’re travelling independently, it’s a good idea to look at all flight/ferry/train times available to you – both on and around the days you want to set off and come back. There can be big differences in costs depending on the time of day or day of the week you travel, so make sure you consider all the options.

If you are flexible on when you travel, it can help to use a tool such as Skyscanner, using the search whole month option to give you the opportunity to choose the most cost effective flight price for you.

Another way of saving money is by being flexible on airports. If you live in close vicinity of multiple airports you will be able to see which one reduces your cost the most. But please do check your additional extras such as how you will get to the airport, if you need to stay overnight before or after your flight, and parking charges, as those additional charges soon add up.


Why ever not? In most countries, haggling isn’t frowned upon and in some places it’s positively encouraged. Haggle away, especially at markets and street vendors – you might make some decent savings.

If you feel shy, which most of us do, listen to some of the locals and how they haggle. They will visit the retailers on a regular basis so will know the tricks of the trade in order to get the best bargains. It is also important to note what value the item has to you – if you just want the item for the thrill of the barter, it’s probably not best practice to buy for buying’s sake. However, if it is a gift you think someone would love, or it’s something you have had your eye on for a while, think of the highest price you are prepared to pay for it and keep that in mind.

Don’t tip too much

You might, unconsciously or otherwise, end up tipping more than you need to on holiday. In some countries, a tip is included as part of the bill as gratuity, so technically you don’t need to add anything extra. In other countries, such as Japan, it is seen as an insult to the owner of the restaurant to tip the waiting staff. Find out what the tipping culture is like in the country you’re headed – it could help you stretch your budget even further. Which? Have a great guide to how much you should be tipping in each country.

Would Airbnb be better?

The rise of accommodation marketplaces like Airbnb has increased the number of options for places to stay, as well as arguably offering a cheaper option than hotels. What’s more, it’s a more enriching experience as you’ll probably get to see a side to your destination city you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Utilise Clever Credit

Since January 2018, it has been illegal for airlines and travel companies to charge a fee to people paying for their holidays via credit card. This means that whatever method of payment you choose, it now costs you the same fee to process, so there is no additional benefit to paying for your holiday via bank transfer or similar. However, by using a credit card to pay for your holiday, the entire cost of that holiday will be protected through Section 75 of UK Consumer Protection Law. This means that you can claim back the entire cost of your holiday should the airline or travel company not fulfil their duties to you. However, when paying with credit, it is important to ensure that you can afford to make the repayments (or even pay the balance off in full), to avoid penalty charges or additional interest.

Borrow guides and maps

Do you really need to buy an expensive travel guide and city map? If you have a well-stocked local library, you’ll probably be able to borrow from there – otherwise ask family and friends, go on eBay, or pop to your local charity shop. Another place you could get travel guides from are car boot sales, you could even practice your haggling skills before your holiday. Just make sure that your chosen guide is a relatively recent edition.

If you will have access to your smartphone, and have your roaming package sorted, you could use an online guide such as Lonely Planet. Google Maps and Apple Maps are also very helpful as they can help connect you to public transport or walking routes to where you need to be, as well as help you identify local cafes and restaurants, and points of interest nearby.

Take your own food

Buying food and drink on trains, planes and ferries can be expensive, so save a few bob by taking your own. Most airports and train stations also offer free drinking water, so take your own refillable bottle and not only will you be helping to save the environment, but you will be saving yourself some money too. Just bear in mind that since the increase in airport security procedures, certain foods and volumes of liquids are not permitted to be taken through security.

Buy cheaper suntan lotion

Top-of-the-range sun-tan lotion can be very expensive – but with high-street supermarkets now offering their own ranges, why not save some cash by buying from them instead. One thing to be careful of, is take into consideration the UVA star system. The NHS recommends using sunscreen which has at least 4-star UVA protection. They also recommend checking the expiry date of your sun cream – it may even be worth writing the date of opening on the bottle on a label. This helps you understand when it should be thrown out, and makes sure you don’t use something that is past its shelf life.

Use public transport

Most major cities have efficient, regular and relatively inexpensive public transport systems, so consider hopping on the bus or subway instead of shelling out for a hire car or taxis. Generally speaking, public transport should work out cheaper than hiring a vehicle, especially if you take advantage of cheaper weekend or week-long passes. Not to mention an interesting, truly local experience to boot. Another alternative to try is walking. If you feel comfortable traveling the area you are in on foot, then it is worth walking. This allows you to take in your surroundings more and come across some otherwise hidden gems.

All-inclusive option

If you have the budget, it can be more cost effective to go all inclusive. Especially when all drinks and snacks are included, allowing you to eat and drink what you want, when you want. Usually, when you book excursions from an all-inclusive resort, they will provide the meals out that you have missed, minimising your external costs for food and drinks.

Do you have any tips for saving money on your jollies? Share them with us.


Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.