14 ways you’re paying too much for your travels

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When it comes to going on holiday, we all have our own idea of the perfect getaway. Yet, whether you are sunbathing or sight-seeing, we probably all have one thing in common: we spend more than we actually need to on our travels. Making really simple changes to the way you travel could be the difference between extra time in paradise, and an early return to your desk.
To help you out, we have compiled a list of ways you spend too much for your travels and some tips on how to save some serious money.

1. You always travel on a Saturday

Travelling over a weekend might be more convenient, but it can be a lot more expensive. Whether you’re planning a short getaway or a long holiday, you can make huge savings if you fly mid—week. Next time you’re looking at flights, check how much you could save by travelling during the week instead of a Friday or Saturday.

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2. You use your everyday credit card to withdraw money abroad

It’s sensible to take a credit card on holiday with you. They’re an easy and safe way to carry money and they can be very useful in an emergency. But taking your everyday credit card might not be the best option. Most credit cards impose extra fees and charges for foreign transactions, which means they actually work out pretty expensive to use abroad. To avoid getting stung by foreign transaction fees, it’s a good idea to shop around for a credit card that offers a good deal on foreign spending, or consider getting an overseas spending card like Revolut or WeSwap. Don’t forget to let your bank know that you’re going abroad, as they might be able to offer you some good deals on exchange rates and travel insurance.

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3. You exchange currency at the airport

It’s always a good idea to have some cash on you when you travel, particularly if you plan on paying for taxis, tips or refreshments. However, you may not get the best exchange rate if you wait until getting to the airport before changing your currency. To save money, shop around for the best exchange rates and get your cash before you travel. You can now exchange currency at select supermarkets and department stores, so it is worth checking where you can get the best deal. Make sure you also find out if your own bank or building society offers preferential rates for its own customers.

A photo by Erez Attias. unsplash.com/photos/KqVHRmHVwwM

4. You only look at direct flights

Flying direct is definitely the fastest and most convenient way to travel, but it can cost you a lot more. If you’re looking for a cheap getaway, you could make huge savings by opting for a stopover. Instead of seeing it as an extra hassle, make the most of your layover by having a look round a city you would never otherwise have visited, or even just spend a bit of the cash you have saved on some guilt-free duty-free.

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5. You eat out for every meal

Eating out on holiday can cost a small fortune, particularly if you’re feeding the whole family. Instead of paying out for costly meals three times a day, try opting for accommodation that includes breakfast in the price. Making the most of the breakfast buffet can keep you feeling full for most of the day. Instead of paying for refreshments in pricey cafes and coffee shops, find a local supermarket and stock up on snacks and drinks to keep you going. If you do fancy eating out, try to eat at lunchtime rather than in the evening, as lunchtime menus are almost always cheaper.

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6. You buy individual train and bus tickets

Visiting a city with good public transport is great for sight-seeing on a budget, but most of us don’t think to ask the bus driver or train guard how we could save even more. Rather than forking out on individual bus and train tickets, have a look to see what offers they have on weekly passes or citywide tickets. This could help you save money and avoid the hassle of buying a new ticket every time you want to travel. Also, make sure you ask about student, senior or disabled discounts if any of these apply to you, as you might be eligible to save even more.

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7. You travel during the high season

Yes, we know, it’s really tempting to book a holiday during the summer. The weather is lovely and it feels like everyone else is jetting off somewhere exotic. However, if you’re not tied by school holidays, you could save loads by travelling off-peak. Shoulder season is a great time to travel as it’s almost always cheaper and it’s a lot quieter than going away over the high season months. Plus, you can smugly skip off to enjoy some well-deserved sunshine abroad while all of your colleagues are digging out their winter coats and putting their heating on.

A photo by Nick Karvounis. unsplash.com/photos/8PR1tT9UmmU

8. You take out a new travel insurance policy every time you travel

Paying for a travel insurance policy that just covers the dates you’re away might seem like the most cost-effective plan. But an annual policy could actually work out cheaper, particularly if you’re planning on going on more than one holiday in the next year. You will also save the hassle of shopping around for a new policy each time you book a holiday.

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9. You buy food at the airport or on the plane

Food at the airport can be really expensive, but while you can’t take any liquids over 100ml through customs, you can take food with you. Check out our tasty pre-flight and in-flight meal ideas that you can prepare at home for a fraction of the cost of airline prices.

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10. You don’t let your phone company know you’re going abroad

Having to come home after a perfect holiday can be depressing enough without having to fork out for a huge, unexpected phone bill. This can be easily avoided by contacting your phone company to let them know you’re going abroad. It’s easy to forget when you have so much else to think about before going away, but it can actually save you a lot of money. Some providers offer free solutions, while others offer a daily or monthly fee to allow you to use your phone to make calls, send texts and use data without running up a huge bill. Just remember to cancel it when you’re back.

A photo by Jordan McQueen. unsplash.com/photos/1eWaod96d3k

11. You always buy mini toiletries

When it comes to shopping for holiday essentials, most of us stock up on mini toiletries. But travel-size lotions and potions can be expensive. Instead, get some small empty bottles and fill them up from your everyday toiletries, so you can take your favourite shampoo and shower gel with you for a fraction of the price. Also, don’t forget that most hotels provide complimentary toiletries, so make the most of them.

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12. You spend money on maps, sat navs and travel guides

Buying travel guides and maps when you’re on holiday can seem like a sensible idea, but it’s often really expensive. Save money by searching for information online and printing out maps and guides to take with you. You can also download free travel and sat nav apps for your smart phone that come with pre-loaded maps, route planning and travel tips. Just remember to download the apps before your holiday so you don’t use up your data abroad.

A photo by Sylwia Bartyzel. unsplash.com/photos/D2K1UZr4vxk

13. You always buy a fresh bottle of sun cream every time you go abroad

If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off somewhere sunny, you will definitely need to pack some sun cream. Rather than forking out for a new bottle from a pharmacy or supermarket, it might be worth checking the Period After Opening (PAO) number on any half-used bottles of factor 30 you might have lying around. The number will normally look like a jar with an open lid and a number (usually 12 or 24) next to it. This is the number of months after opening it that it should be good to use. To make sure your sun cream lasts well, store it in a cool, dark place, and avoid leaving it in direct sunlight where possible.

A photo by Maciej Serafinowicz. unsplash.com/photos/BC49M6wl--8

14. You hire a car at the airport

From extortionate insurance to paying well over the odds for sat navs and children’s car seats, hiring a car at the airport can cost you a small fortune. By booking it all before you go, you can pay significantly less for the hire of the vehicle, as well as insurance. If you take out a European Excess Policy, you will almost always get better, cheaper cover than you could by using a car hire company. Make sure you also take your child car seats and sat nav with you to avoid paying out for extras.

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14 ways you’re paying too much for your travels was last modified: December 19th, 2016 by Catherine Hiley
Author: Catherine Hiley (5 posts)

A writer and traveller with a lifelong love of loud music, theme parks and football. Always planning my next big adventure.