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How To Save Money On Holiday

Piggy Bank

So you've snagged yourself a bargain break - cheap flights, discounted accommodation, pre-booked airport parking - but wouldn't you like to save even MORE?

We're not talking sacrificing your adventurous day trips or souvenir shopping, and we're certainly not suggesting cutting out the evening cocktails ...this is about being creative with your spending.

  • Do

    1. Take to two wheels. Swapping that expensive open-bus sightseeing tour or hire car, for a bike is cheaper, greener and healthier... that's three good deals for the price of one.

    2. Make like a student and get a Youth Hostel card. Don't get us wrong, hostels can be noisy, backpacker-ridden hell holes ... but designer dorms are on the increase, offering budget-conscious travellers a genuinely stylish option.

    3. A little research. Explore your options before-hand and you'll be amazed how much you can see and save. Lots of museums and galleries offer free entry one day a week, and local venues often programme free events, lunchtime shows or alfresco concerts.

    4. House swap. You don't need close friends in every country to crash at someone's pad. Home swapping can be an ideal way of living like a local, while saving pounds on hotels and meals out. To sort a home swap it's best to go through one of many agencies such as Home Base Holidays.

    5. Drive like your granny. Cutting your speed will shave pennies off each mile - it may not sound like much, but if you're on a big road trip it adds up to quite a bundle.

    6. Eat lunch. Lots of countries, particularly European, have fantastic deals on three course lunches, including wine, for a fixed price (Prixe-Fixe). Opt for a large lunch and skimp on dinner, it's better for your wallet and your summer tummy.

    7. Walk, walk, walk. Avoid expensive metro tickets and pricey taxi rides, make like Nancy, and get your walking boots on! You'll likely discover hidden attractions - and remember taxis rarely go off the beaten track.

    8. Treat yourself! And friends and family of course. Stock up on your favourite duty free fragrance, then trawl the local markets and shops for pretty local crafts and produce. Xmas might be months off, but when it comes, think how much money and stress you will have saved.

  • Don't

    1. Buy a map. It's no surprise that maps are losing their appeal: these days anyone with a decent mobile can find a (customised!) route online. Roaming charges can be pricey though, so print out online maps before you go, or grab one from the local tourist office when you get there.

    2. Make your child bunk off school. Admittedly, it can be cheaper to travel off-peak, but major operators have recently introduced free child places and money off deals during holiday time. Check for offers before you travel and avoid the backlash of the government's Every Lesson Counts campaign.

Last Updated: November 2008