Essential tips for saving money on holiday

Holly Thomas / 29 June 2015 ( 24 July 2020 )

If you bag a well-priced trip, there are still plenty of things that can push the overall spend up. Here are some tips to make sure you don't rack up unnecessary bills on extras.

Cheap airport parking

Getting to the airport can be a stressful and expensive experience so it can make sense to drive and use airport parking. Prices can vary significantly so shop around. It's also crucial to book early.

As well as looking at the airport’s own website for costs, check out the prices listed on Holiday Extras which are usually up to 50% cheaper than going direct.

Stop and unwind in an airport lounge with 10% off when you book with Saga. Find out more here.

Pre-paid cards

Instead of using your credit or debit card while you’re away, you could load up a pre-paid currency card which is used in the same way with a chip and Pin. The exchange rates offered can be very competitive and if you choose the right card, you can save on charges.

Mobile phone charges

It's good news that roaming charges were scrapped in the EU in June 2017. This means that calling, texting and browsing should cost the same as it does at home.

But do make sure that you don't exceed your data allowance or you could still face the same charges for going over your limit as you would back in the UK. Make sure you use free Wi-Fi if it's available in your hotel or accomodation. 

If you're travelling further afield, always contact your mobile provider to clarify what the charges are in your destination before you go. No one wants to come back from their holidays and discover a sky-high mobile bill.

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Car hire

Having a car abroad is a major plus but can really ramp up your holiday costs. Booking far in advance will get you the best prices, as well as comparing different companies. 

It pays to look at buying a car hire excess waiver insurance - this can protect you if your car is accidentally damaged, as many care hire companies can charge high prices for repair. Or the hire company will try to sell you an expensive policy at the desk when you collect your hire car.

Saga Travel Insurance has an option to add Car Hire Excess Waiver Insurance when you buy your policy. 

Save 15% on global vehicle hire with our partner Hertz, plus free additional driverFind out more here.

Cheap suntan lotion

Protecting your skin is terribly important whatever country you visit. Some premium brands might put you off stocking up on sun creams.

According to a Which? survey supermarket own brands – starting from just a few pounds – rank alongside pricier brands and in many cases offer best sun protection. With some internet browsing or even perusing the high street, there are plenty of bargains to be found so don’t grab the first thing you see – and don’t buy it at the airport where decent discounts are unlikely.

EHIC for free

The EHIC, or European Health Insurance Card, is free of charge and can get free or discounted medical care in all 27 EU countries, plus a few others. However there are some internet firms that charge to apply for one on your behalf. Many fall into this trap by typing “EHIC” into a search engine and following the first link they find.

Find out more about the cover that the EHIC offers

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.