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How to save money on holiday: top tips and advice

Updated 09 May 2022

4min read

Kate Morgan
Staff Writer

As summer is one of the most expensive times of the year to take a break, more often than not you’ll need a huge holiday fund to do all of the things that you and your family want to do. 

But fear not. We’ve pulled together an extensive list on how to save money for your holiday

Here are our top tips to keep prices down.

How to save money on holiday: top tips and advice

Set a budget

Before you start your search, it’s important to set yourself a target of what you are willing to spend, and how much you think you could save without causing too much strain on your life.  

First, make a list of all the items to take care of before you go: 

  • Travel (flights or fuel costs) 

  • Accommodation 

  • Travel money 

  • Travel insurance 

  • Sun cream and toiletries 

  • Holiday clothes and swimwear 

  • Car hire (and car excess insurance). 

Next on your list should be the day-to-day expenses: 

  • Excursions 

  • Holiday treats 

  • Entertainment 

  • Food and drink. 

Add all these costs together and you have your savings goal

Do some digging

Although you may be eager to go with the first deal you see, this won’t necessarily be the best option for your trip – do some digging on different websites for deals on flights and hotels to try and save some money.  

Skyscanner, Trivago and Expedia all compile deals from multiple websites at the touch of a button, saving you time (and money) for your trip. Use these comparison sites as a starting point and check the hotel or airline’s website directly. You never know, it may be cheaper to go through them directly. 

Pack light

Some travel packages may include hold luggage (fantastic!), but some airlines do charge per extra bag, and some may charge per kg too.  

If an airline does offer reasonably sized hand luggage, then this may be enough if you’re going on a short break. 

Try to only pack the essentials to save you from paying the extra weight.  

Stay for a shorter time

Most holiday packages are either 7, 10 or 14 nights, but other options are available. 

Whether you go for a few nights or a little less than two weeks, there will be a package to match your holiday funds. If you book the hotel and flights separately, you may be able to find shorter trips within your budget. 

Go last minute

If you have a job that offers you the luxury of being able to take time off with minimal notice, there are usually a few last-minute cheap deals available. If you’re willing to be flexible with your destination, then you should be able to find the perfect summer holiday to suit your budget. 

Enjoy free entertainment

It’s not just food and drink that costs money when you’re on holiday – you’ll need to think about entertainment too.  

Wherever you choose to go, look at local free events ahead of your trip. Most cities will have iconic sites and landmarks to check out, or you could take advantage of any free entertainment available at your hotel.  

Make the most of free kids’ places

This is an excellent way to save money on your family holiday – and with First Choice’s Free Kids’ Place Finder, you don’t need to search all over the internet for deals.  

Whether you’re looking at Malta or Madrid, you’ll see all the top resorts side by side for you to browse at ease. 

Try all-inclusive

If you’ll find it tough to stick to a budget while away, going all-inclusive can help keep holiday spending low, as the bulk of your trip will have been paid for upfront.  

And it’s not just your flights, accommodation, and transfers – most in-resort food and drinks (even snacks and a la carte dining, if you’re lucky) can be included.  

All you will need is money for the things your heart desires, like souvenirs, sightseeing, or a delicious bottle of wine.  

But if you’d like options to eat locally too, or cook for yourselves, a room-only basis or self-catering accommodation could be more up your street. Think about how you want to spend your holiday and save the money accordingly.  

Expect the unexpected

Did you know almost three out of every four people experience at least one unforeseen expense a year? Car breakdowns, the oven giving up on you, or even a parking fine could put a real dent in your savings goal. 

To ensure you don’t get caught out, put a little away each month to cover these costs (just in case), even if the main saving goal is your summer holiday.  

List out possible expenses that could come up. Does your car look tired? Is the washing machine making a terrible racket? Can you reduce the chance of a higher cost, by getting a service or insurance?  

Work out how much a typical emergency fund is for you, and this will help you toward your summer fund. 

Free things for the kids

Entertaining your kids on holiday doesn’t need to break the bank – in fact, there are numerous free activities which are fun for the whole family to enjoy.  

UK & Ireland

Abroad

  • Visit a waterpark  

  • Head to the beach 

  • Visit local historic sites 

  • Explore flora and fauna 

  • Visit a place of worship 

  • Visit a market 

  • Get to know the locals in town 

  • Walking tours. 

Alternative summer holidays

Who decides what equates to a fun summer get away? Perhaps a beach holiday or city break isn’t quite what you’re looking for this year. But have you ever considered a volunteering or working holiday for the whole family? 

Not only will this make saving money that much simpler, there’s also the added bonus of activities that are sure to feed the soul.  

Volunteering holidays UK

Volunteering holidays abroad

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About the author
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.