It’s the time of the year when many of us are looking to go abroad and soak up some sun for a week or two. Unfortunately, holidays don’t come cheap and it can be very easy to overspend.
If you’re planning to go abroad on holiday this year, make sure to read our Holiday Saving Guide.
You’ll need to plan how you’re going to spend your money while abroad. The pound is currently at a five year high against the US dollar at $1.70 and at an 18 month high against the euro at €1.25.
Traditionally most people exchange their money for foreign currency at a bureau de change. Increasingly however, more people are using specialist credit cards to spend their money abroad.
If you prefer using cash, travelmoneymax.com is a comparison website where you can find the best rates for foreign currency. You can choose to have your money delivered, or collect it from an exchange.
Specialist credit cards can often work out cheaper than using cash when abroad. See our comparison of some of the most popular travel credit cards below.
|Credit Card||Exchange Rate Fee||Cash Withdrawal Fee||Interest on cash withdrawals?||Spending APR||Cash withdrawal APR|
|Capital One Classic Extra||0%||3% (min £3)||Yes||34.9%||34.9%|
|Aqua Reward||0%||3% (min £3)||Yes||34.9%||39.9% – 59.9%|
If you plan on using one of your existing credit or debit cards, make sure you check the fees you will be charged. Foreign transaction rates vary between cards and many charge for each transaction.
Don’t buy flights directly from an airline. The price you will get will usually be much higher had you gone somewhere else. We recommend using a comparison site such as SkyScanner, Travel Supermarket or KAYAK.
Flights and Hotels
If you are looking to buy flights and accommodation together, it can be often cheaper to go through a flight broker. Flight brokers have commercial relations with airlines and can offer their own deals. They can often provide discounts on hotels if you book through them. The most popular flight broker websites areExpedia, Opodo and Travelocity. If you book through a flight broker, you will not get ATOL protection just like with package holidays.
If you’re flexible on dates, you can use the FlighChecker service on MoneySavingExpert.com to find when flights are the cheapest.
Airbnb has seen a big increase in popularity over the past year. The website allows people around the world to rent out a room, or an entire apartment/house/villa.
Not only does this allow you to save money but it can also be an interesting way to visit a country if you stay with a host.
Prices can be as low as £20 a night for a room which is cheaper than most budget hotels.
If you’re planning a 7, 10 or 14 day holiday in a popular destination, a package holiday can often be cheaper than booking everything yourself.
As well at looking online, it’s worthwhile going into a travel agents on the high street. Not only do they have good offers, but you can often haggle to get a cheaper holiday.
It can be easy to forget about travel insurance, or think that you don’t need it. However if you have an accident or become ill, your cheap getaway could become very expensive.
If you have no pre-existing conditions travel insurance is cheap. Google has their own comparison page which searches 46 providers to find the cheapest rate.
Remember that some financial products such as current accounts and credit cards come bundled with free travel insurance, so check to see if you have it before you buy elsewhere.
European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC)
Make sure you also apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card from the NHS. This entitles you to treatment by state hospitals and GPs in the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
An EHIC doesn’t mean you get free treatment, but means you will pay the same as natives. If it’s free for them, it’s free for you. If they pay, you pay.
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