9 travel tips to save you money on holiday

Written by

Stephanie Reid

Stephanie Reid is a financial services expert with over eight years of experience writing money-saving articles at Novuna Personal Finance. She has written hundreds of articles on a variety of topics including interior design, home improvements and weddings - with a keen eye for spotting money-saving opportunities and passing these tips onto readers. As a mum of two, Stephanie knows how important budgeting effectively is for parents and often incorporates family budgeting tips into her guides.

Monday 19th June 2023

Getting away from our routines can give us some much-needed rest and time to recharge. But it can also come at the expense of wasted time - and money - if you don't thoroughly organise your trip.

Luckily, a little planning can go a long way in helping you cut back on unnecessary expenses when booking your holiday.

In this article, we're sharing some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your travel money...

1. Do your research before you arrive

Holiday time is precious and should be spent resting, having fun, and exploring.

Before arriving at your location, always investigate the top reviewed restaurants and pubs in the area where you'll be staying. This will help you to enjoy the best meals within budget, avoiding any last-minute panics when trying to find somewhere to eat.

Use Google Maps to earmark locations for later reference. Download an offline version of Google Maps so you can navigate to your starred places without using up any valuable mobile data.

2. Don’t dismiss priority boarding

Low-cost airlines are notorious for charging more for things like extra luggage, seat selection, and priority boarding. However, there are situations when it’s worthwhile to pay for it.

Many European budget airlines now provide 'add-on' packages that include an extra hand-luggage bag and priority boarding for a bargain price.

Priority boarding allows you to skip the rush to board the plane - a small price to pay for less stress.

3. Ask for an upgrade

Take inspiration from the popular saying “if you don’t ask, you don’t get."

If you fancy trying to bag yourself a free upgrade, politely try emailing the hotel ahead of time to express how much you're looking forward to your stay. If you forget to email, you could always try speaking to reception when you first arrive.

You might want to upgrade to a bigger room, bag yourself a late checkout, enjoy free upgraded WiFi or simply move to a room on a higher floor.

Hotels will try their best to accommodate requests so that they can ensure a positive rating and recommendation. The worst that could happen is that they say no. If they do, accept it and move on.

4. Don't forget your holiday gadgets

Don't forget to pack everyday gadget essentials that'll make your life much easier when going on your next adventure, such as:

  • A portable charger
  • A universal adaptor plug
  • Mini wireless speakers
  • Headphones

Make sure you add these items to your packing list well ahead of time so you don't end up leaving all-important items behind. This will save you having to buy a spare at the airport!

Don't forget your travel documents, either. They're essential for everything from checking into your hotel to returning back home. Items such as passports are priceless when heading off on holiday, so keep all your most important documents in one place so it's quick and easy to check you have them with you.

5. Get a travel credit card

Even though buying currency online can usually get you a decent price, the best conversion rates can be found by using a special currency top-up or credit card.

These cards function similarly to debit/credit cards, allowing you to pay with chip and pin at your destination or withdraw cash from an ATM with no fees and some fantastic exchange rates.

Using one of these cards eliminates the risk of carrying big sums of cash and allows you to quickly withdraw money from an ATM whenever you want.

Make sure you stick to a strict budget, though, so you're able to pay back your travel credit card in full once your holiday is over. Failing to do so could mean you're hit with interest charges, which could soon become expensive.

6. Book your transfers and car rentals in advance

All you want to do after a long day of travelling is get out of the airport, check into your hotel, and start your holiday.

Pre-booking in advance allows you to avoid excessive airport taxi charges and 'pay on the day' vehicle rental rates. You'll not only be more organised and know what you're doing when you arrive, but you'll also save money!

7. Be creative when planning your activities

Tourist attractions or guided tours can be pricey. Do some online research and ask locals (such as hotel staff) when you arrive to find out of there are any hidden gems in the area for you to explore.

Create an itinerary that allows you to see the sights your own way, without splashing too much cash on expensive entry fees or tour guides.

There's also the option to look into a sightseeing pass. These passes often give you free or discounted entry to the most popular attractions, and often public transport is included too. This is ideal if you're keen to experience the main tourist hotspots while keeping costs down.

8. Keep a list of average prices

Heading abroad on holiday? Do some research in advance to find out the average price for drinks or other everyday items. This will help to make sure you don't end up paying over-the-odds while on your trip.

9. Book online using the hotel WiFi

Most hotels will offer free WiFi for guests, so don't use your valuable mobile data unless you absolutely have to. It's recommended to simply turn your roaming off while you're abroad. But, if you can't be without on-the-go access to the internet, make sure you know your mobile provider's roaming charges in advance of your trip so you don't end up with a surprise bill on your return!

Where possible, though, it's always a good idea to try and use the hotel's WiFi to book activities and excursions online. You'll often find ticket prices are much cheaper if you book online in advance, compared to just turning up on the day. Even if you only decide on a plan while you're on holiday it could still work out much cheaper to book online a day or two in advance.

Get a holiday loan to finance your next adventure

If you've been dreaming of a beach vacation or an adventurous trip trekking through the mountains, our low-cost holiday loan can help you access the money you need.

A personal loan allows you to pay for your dream trip in monthly instalments over the course of up to seven years, giving you more time to relax and enjoy creating those lifelong memories.

Borrow between £1,000 and £35,000 with rates from as low as 7.4% APR Representative (£7,500-£25,000). What are you waiting for?

Apply for a holiday loan