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Having the Money to Enjoy Your Holiday

Updated on July 30, 2014

Preparing for Your holiday

Whatever kind of holiday you're planning, get the most out of it with these four steps to getting the money together to have a great break.

No matter where you're looking to visit, be it a short city break or a lengthy Savannah safari trip, ensure you arrive ready to go by taking the advice below.

1. Create a Savings Plan

Start by working out roughly how much you’ll need for your break, including flights, accommodation and travel money and how much time you have before you want to go on holiday. Once you have a figure in mind and you know how long you have, you’ll find it simple to see how much you need to put aside each month.

2. Cut Down on Spending

Take a good look at where all your money goes each month. Are there little luxuries like comprehensive satellite TV packages that you could cut back on?

Could you save on commuting? Why not try taking a bus instead of a train or taxi. Or, if you drive to and from work, cut back on parking charges by parking for free further away from where you need to get to, and walking from there. If you use the train to get to work, see if the company you work for could help you cut the cost of travelling with a season ticket loan.

Consider what you’re eating, and how often you’re going out. Perhaps you could eat and socialise at home instead.

When doing a regular grocery shop, remember that most supermarkets stock a range of brands. Could you go with a cheaper brand, or try the shop’s own brand of goods to save money? Preparing your meals from scratch instead of going with ready-made could also help you cut back. And, why not try shopping at a no-frills supermarket rather than the mainstream stores? Or try a traditional food market instead, but be wary of gastro markets that can be fairly expensive.

If you’re planning far enough ahead and really want to tighten your budget, as well as cutting back on food bills, you could also see if comparison sites could help you save money on utilities like gas and electric. The savings you make on power could really boost your holiday money.

Once you've worked out where you can cut back your spending, you could open a separate bank or prepaid card account so you have a place to put the money you save each month for your holiday.

3. Shop Around Before You Book Your Flights and Accommodation

Once you have your cash together, don’t just go with the first flight offer that you see.

When you’re ready to book your flight, try both travel agents and online comparison sites, such as skyscanner.net. And, although you’ll probably find it cheaper to book online, travel agents do sometimes have very good deals or a ‘guaranteed best price’ offer.

Booking a hotel can be a similar process to booking a flight. Decide upon the quality of accommodation you want and use a travel comparison site to see the best deals available at the time of year that you want to travel. Just as with flights, if you’re prepared to go a little off the peak holiday periods, you’re likely to get a cheaper hotel deal. Take a look at Booking.com and see for yourself.

4. Maximise Holiday Spending Money

Don't spoil the good work you make on getting a good deal on your holiday. Make sure you get a good deal on the money you'll be spending abroad. For example, exchanging pounds for foreign currency at the last minute at the airport will probably leave you with less money to spend on your holiday - because the exchange rate will probably be poor. And when you get to your destination, avoid using a bureau de change in a tourist hot spot, as the rates might not be great there either.

However, it can be risky to walk around with large sums of cash, so consider carrying your cash on a prepaid credit card instead. If your card gets lost or stolen, you could receive a replacement card with the amount you had on it when it went missing. This will depend on the issuer and that you've used the card in line with the terms and conditions. And, because the exchange rate is generally set by a payment network, such as MasterCard® or Visa®, you can be sure of a competitive rate. Although there'll usually be a currency conversion charge each time you make a purchase abroad, unless you add a credit option, you won't go home to a debt that you've built up whilst you've been away.

Another alternative option is prepaid currency cards, which allow you to top up your card when the rates look particularly favourable to you, so you can, in effect, lock that rate in. Currency cards are generally available in Euros and US Dollars. The advantage they have over using a bank debit card is that whereas a bank will often charge you a foreign usage fee, prepaid currency cards used for transactions in the denomination they were intended for, will often have no ATM or purchase fees. Wherever you'd like to travel, follow our tips and you're bound to be able to make more of your holiday.

Thanks for Reading

I hope you've enjoyed my lens and found it useful. I like to write on a range of topics including personal finance, business and travel. Be sure to check out my other lenses, such as Getting Funding and Managing Finances for a Start Up with Bad Credit, and follow me on Twitter too.

Jeff Nevil

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