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How To Budget A Holiday

Bank Notes

One customer told us he'd travelled round New York with $4500 in his pocket because he didn't want to incur bank charges. Another admitted he'd flown to Egypt with his wife but decided against a trip to the Pyramids as - at the time - he thought it was too expensive. Then there was the family of four who booked the cheapest flight to Florida - and ended up changing planes three times and arriving at 3am.

We've all made - and lived to regret - these kind of false economies. With nuts and bolts planning and a sensible budget, families can go on holiday and see the sites, enjoy local restaurants and stay in a nice hotel...

Our top ten tips for getting the most out of your travel budget - and your holiday.

  • Do

    1. Plan ahead

      Draw up and agree a holiday budget before you go away - then stick to it.

    2. Travel light

      Write a packing list and stick to it religiously - the more bags you check, the more many airlines will charge you. See out How To Pack tips for a inspiration!

    3. Be social

      Making calls from your mobile phone while on a roaming network can be incredibly expensive. Better to unlock your phone and buy a local sim card when you get there (your kids will explain how).

    4. Go sightseeing

      Decide which sites or attractions you want to see before you go and commit to seeing them. There's no point in going to Paris and not seeing the Mona Lisa, or going up the Eiffel Tower, just for the sake of saving money. Buying a multi-museum/attraction entry card will save you money as well as getting you into additional sites.

    5. Pay for a guide

      They don't need to be expensive and a good guide will make a country's sites, streets and history come alive.

    6. Get insurance

      Be sure to take out a travel insurance policy that meets all of your requirements and check the excesses: some cheap policies charge excesses of up to £250 - that's the cost of the camera you just lost.

    7. Double check

      Check out your accommodation carefully before you book. There's no point in saving money on a hotel or villa if, when you get there, you're not where you want to be.

  • Don't

    1. Carry cash

      It's best not to try to save money on overseas bank charges by travelling with excessive amounts of cash. Losing the money or, worse, getting mugged, will ultimately cost far more than the charges you're avoiding.

    2. Leave it too late

      Try not to leave booking extras such as airport car parking to the last minute thinking you'll get a better deal. You won't. The early birds get the best buys!

    3. Follow the pack

      Avoid the tourist areas, and instead follow the locals - and join them! Locals know the best places to eat, and you'll get a more authentic experience at significantly lower prices.

Last Updated: June 2009