It’s cold out there; the days are short, the nights are long and the Christmas gift list is getting unmanageable. I apologise in advance for painting such a bleak and depressing picture when, in fact, it’s a time for celebration, sharing and love! But, come January, there’s no escaping that things will be about as bad as they get during the year. And if you combine the weather and your financial situation with an alcohol-free January, then you really don’t have much to look forward to.
And that’s where Savoo wants to help.
I’m a great believer in having something to look forward to and the things I look forward to most are holidays. Booking a holiday at this time of year can do wonders for your general outlook and disposition, but I appreciate holidays are a luxury and they don’t come cheap. However, the good news is that the world has never been so small and holiday companies have never wanted your flip flops in their apartments and hotel rooms more.
So here are some tips if you’re thinking you need a break and fancy booking a holiday for Summer 2015:
- Do your research: like many things in life (and money-saving in particular) spending some time doing your research will not only make your trip more enjoyable, but will save you a load of money. Think about when you fly, where and when you stay and what you’re going to do when you’re there. Last minute planning in a foreign country always tends to lead to expense.
- Check for deals: like Thomson discount codes which tend to come out in the January holiday blitz. So keep an eye open for mega deals that can be used as the base for your holiday in 2015.
- Remember: that you now pay less air tax for children under 12 years old, but it doesn’t kick in until May 2015.
- The essentials: take the essentials with you. I don’t know about you, but I love a cup of English tea when I’m abroad and you can never find a decent brand. So take the essentials (Marmite, tea etc) with you so you don’t need to go out and buy stuff you will just leave behind.
- AirBnB: we’re a big fan of this accommodation service, so much so that we now use it for all our international work trips abroad. You can find a really cost-effective apartment / flat in a location (that you’ve researched – see 1) you want to stay in. No more room service, lobby bar bills and even ‘pay for movies’ for us. Check it out.
- Branch out: I’m a great believer in new experiences and – dare I say it – don’t particularly like going to the same place twice. But when plotting a new adventure, I look at which currency is doing badly against the British pound. This is why Thailand has become such a popular destination for Brits now you can get a direct flight to Bangkok that doesn’t cost the earth. If you’re feeling particularly flush and adventurous, then think about Japan as it’s almost never been cheaper to go there. And South Africa is also worth looking it with the pound at just over 18 rand (at the time of writing).
- Friends in need: do you have any friends anywhere you might want to travel to? If so, do your research and use their knowledge to find cheap places to eat, drink and be happy.
- Travel 4G style: I recently went to a friend’s wedding and used a 4G ‘puck’ which actually came as part of the AirBnB service (you see, I practice what I preach) and it was a revelation. Immediate and cheap internet access that can help you get around, research good, cost effective eating options and not have to incur those pesky data-roaming charges – http://www.cellhire.co.uk/. Particularly good if with teenage kids!
- No more bank charges: use a Moneycorp card when abroad so you don’t get hit with ATM fees etc. It’s also safer than carrying cash with you and you can see what you’ve been spending and split the bill with anyone else you’re travelling with.
- Culture: it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, but immersing yourself with the local culture will not only open your eyes to the world, but save you money. If it’s a choice between an Irish pub for a fry up, or sniffing out a local tapas bar, I bet you’ll have more fun, spend less and have a better meal at the tapas bar.
Think about how much fun you can have planning all the above! Even writing this has made me feel better about the dark and cold journey home this evening. So instead of just sitting in front of the TV, have a think about where you want to go next year, plan a budget and how you can save some money and get exploring; it’s remarkably therapeutic!