By Jeremy Muscat,
22 March 2017
Spring has finally sprung and Easter is just around the corner.
The era of the pre-packaged holiday is over and more and more people are choosing to book all the aspects of their holidays individually. With this in mind, this month’s blog takes a look at what’s involved in planning your own holiday and as always, includes some tips you might not have thought of when it comes to saving money and hassle.
Planning ahead will always pay off in the long run. The more time you have to plan and research the place you want to visit, the more value you’ll get out of the time you have at your destination. The internet is a great place to start when planning your trip. With travel guides from most of the national newspapers and traveller reviews available from the likes of TripAdvisor, you’ll have no shortage of opinions and advice helping you get started.
Try to find a happy medium where you can loosely plan each day of your trip. This will help you have a good idea of how much time you can spend in each place. Don’t try to plan your time down to the minute because it won’t work and you’ll just heap a whole load more stress on yourself (which is entirely what we’re trying to avoid).
If you’re going to hire a car and driving whilst away, make sure you factor in potential traffic delays and time to rest along the journey. Consider avoiding the motorways if you’re not in a rush. Some countries have great service stations with decent food, but you’ll enjoy a relaxed meal in a local restaurant far more without traffic thundering by!
Take a look at our previous posts for more helpful tips when collecting or dropping off your hire car. Remember, you’ll save money by taking out Car Hire Excess Insurance, and we have both single trip and annual cover that you can get at a discounted price by using the link at the top of this article.
Spending too much whilst on holiday is a major stress area for almost everyone. There’s no harm in trying to set out a budget in advance. I’d also recommend getting to know the exchange rate for your foreign currency. This way, you can start buying your Euros or Dollars when the price is good and not at the last minute when the exchange might be suffering.
When it comes to spending money, nobody likes to pay exchange commissions. They’re like the hidden ‘tax’ in holidays! If you’re planning on getting away, look at what exchange commissions your bank will charge for using your debit or credit cards abroad. If you do a lot of travelling, it might be worth looking at an account that doesn’t charge fees for using your cards abroad at all. One tip we give all the time is to make sure you pay any bill in the local currency.
As an example, if you’re paying for a hotel in Spain, pay in Euros not Sterling. It’s fairly common for the hotels to increase the exchange commissions artificially as a way of making money out of your transaction. By paying in Euros, it’s your bank that will be charging the exchange commission, and that’s almost always less than what you’d pay the retailer.
Finally, Mark from our office says: “Buying currency at the airport will probably cost you the most, so if you want to pick it up at the airport it’s worth pre-buying on the internet in advance.”