10 ways to save on your holiday before you set off

packed suitcase

We all spend months looking forward to our holidays – counting down the days until we can finally get away and relax. But as great as holidays are, saving up the money to book the tickets and then have enough to spend while you’re out there can be stressful. After all, none of us want to spend a fortune preparing to take flight, only to find that we’ve got no spending money left over to enjoy the holiday itself.

We all fall into the trap of overspending while preparing for our travels – whether from overexcitement, over preparing or just not knowing there are cheaper options out there. That’s why we’ve put together a list of things you can do to save money on your holiday before you even step out your front door, so you can save your money for enjoying your actual holiday. Take a look to find more ways to save those pennies for your well-deserved vacay. If you’re going skiing you might want to check out our post on skiing holidays first.

Save on your flights

plane window in sky

First things first – you need to book your flights. There are plenty of great tricks to save money as you book. One easy tip is to set up flight alerts on price comparison websites like Skyscanner, Budget Air, Priceline, lastminute.com and Travel Supermarket so you’ll be the first to know when the price for your preferred destination goes down.

It’s also well worth booking using incognito mode. This is so websites can’t use cookies to look at your previous route searches to get you to panic buy. They do this by increasing the price of the routes they know you’re interested in to prompt you to buy now rather than waiting until the price goes down. Don’t be fooled! To change to incognito mode, click the three dots it the top right hand of your browser and click ‘new incognito window’ to keep your search private and cookie-free.

Also, try to be flexible with your travel dates to get the best price. Travel at off-peak times and, wherever possible, avoid the school holidays, unless it’s the October half term which would still be considered off-peak.

Check to see if getting an indirect flight is cheaper, and try flying overnight for long haul flights. Get the cheapest price and spend the flight asleep to wake up refreshed and ready to enjoy your holiday when you land.

Check alternative travel

travel by train in countryside

Alternatively, why not check to see if there are any other ways you can reach your destination to save both money and do your bit for the environment? Environmentally-friendly operators like Flixbus and Rail Europe have coach routes all around Europe so you can explore on a budget, while companies like Omio make it easy to search for trains and coaches as well as flights. You may be able to catch a ferry or a train, so check all your options before you book the flights.

Beat the baggage fees

man at airport with suitcase

Did you know most airlines are pretty generous with hand luggage allowance? If you’re going away for a long weekend, you may be able to get away with bringing hand luggage, a small suitcase or rucksack along with a handbag and avoid paying extra for checked baggage.

Weigh and measure your luggage based on your airline’s specifications to check it qualifies and that you won’t incur any surprise charges at the airport. You can get a luggage scale from Wilko for just £4 so you can check you’re not over the limit, and use it for all your future trips.

Bring your own toiletries and travel essentials


toiletries travel set

Pic: Boots.com

As cute as mini travel toiletries look, they’re terrible value for money. Instead, get a refillable travel set from Wilko for £2.50 or Boots for £3 or £5.10 or other high street shops and fill the empty bottles with your own toiletries. Take your favourite shampoo with you without paying a fortune for something that will run out in a day or two.

Again, you can use these sets for all your future journeys, meaning you won’t have to use the low-quality shampoo you’ll find in the hotel shower but will still be saving money.

Speaking of which, avoid the pricey fees at the airport and get all your travel essentials ahead of time. Get plug adaptors, neck pillows, travel scrabble and whatever else you might need before you set off for the airport at budget stores like Wilko and Primark, so that by the time you arrive at the airport you’re fully prepared with more money in your pocket.

Cut costs on your journey to the airport

car park

Before the real journey, there’s the trip to the airport. If you can, it’s cheapest to get public transport. Hope on the train, tube or bus to get to the airport on a budget.

If public transport isn’t an option for you and you’d prefer to drive, book your parking ahead of time to get the cheapest rates. Driving yourself is likely to be far cheaper than booking a taxi, plus if you book a parking space ahead you can save a bundle, as well as minimising travel stress. Pre-book through websites like Official Gatwick Airport Parking to save up to 60% on your parking, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Most big airports have a pre-booking service for car parking, including Heathrow, Stansted and East Midlands Parkway, so make sure you don’t miss out. Check out our Gatwick Airport Parking to see if you can make the most of any great new offers.

Pack a sandwich

woman eating sandwich

Make a sandwich and pack other snacks so you don’t get tempted to buy pricey food at the airport. As you’re whiling away the hours it’s always tempting to buy a coffee and a full English, and we can’t blame you, but if you really want to save money it’s well worth bringing your own supplies to keep your appetite satisfied. You can always save the fry up for the journey home if you have any leftover cash.

Don’t forget to pack yourself some tasty essentials for the holiday too. Make room in your suitcase for extra treats like tea bags, sweets, biscuits, crisps, instant noodles and other snacks that will stop you reaching for the overpriced minibar.

Buy a sightseeing pass

rome Colosseum

If you’re heading to cultural capitals like Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Paris or other top destinations, there’s tons to see and do – but doing it all adds up fast. Book a sightseeing pass ahead of time online, you’ll get access to tons of tourist must-sees for free, as well as discounts on selected stops and free public transport for as long as your pass lasts. Perfect for a long weekend, there are lots of different passes for you to choose from which are all customised for your destination.

For example, grab a Turbopass for Rome and you’ll get to see spectacular sights like the Colosseum for free, as well as skipping the line at the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. When you add up how much public transport and entry fees would cost without the pass, you only need to visit a few top spots to make your money back. Plus, there are tons of great guides and recommendations to give you some travel inspiration and help you find hidden gems off the beaten track and delectable restaurants.

Here at Savoo, you can save on the Barcelona Pass, the London Pass and the Dublin Pass. Search online to find the right tourist pass for your holiday, and don’t forget to check the T&Cs to find out what’s included and what fab discounts you could get for your trip.

Raid your wardrobe

packed suitcase

As the excitement builds, it gets all too tempting to head to the shops and buy some new looks. Especially if you’re heading somewhere hot, the instinct is to buy some new summer clothes to enjoy the sun. However, before you start your shopping spree, raid your wardrobe and dig out last summer’s fashion to fill your suitcase and save before you travel.

If you just can’t resist some new threads, check out sites like eBay or Depop to find some cheaper, second-hand clothes, or use some of our top fashion voucher codes to treat yourself to for less.

Better safe than sorry

man skiing

Injuries abroad can be a massive problem both personally and financially. If the worst happens, both you and your bank balance will face the consequences. That’s why it’s always better to get travel insurance before you go, especially if you’re going skiing or doing something potentially dangerous.

Make sure you’re getting the best deal on your travel insurance by using comparison sites like Go Compare, Confused.com or uSwitch, or go straight to the insurers at Aviva, Flexicover and more to find the best rate. If you’re planning on taking a few trips this year, opt for annual multi-trip travel insurance as it works out cheaper in the long run.

Plus, if you’re heading to Europe you can get yourself a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This handy card allows you to get medical treatment either for free or at a reduced price in other EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

However, with Brexit looming, it’s still well worth getting extra travel insurance too, just in case. Take a look at the government checklist before you visit Europe after Brexit.

Take extra cash or go contactless

man counting money

Avoid those pesky ATM withdrawal fees abroad by getting cash out before you go. Use this handy tool from Money Saving Expert to find the best real-time exchange rate to get the most for your money. Get more cash than you need, and then if you have any left over at the end of your trip, the post office will buy it back from you so nothing is wasted.

Alternatively, check to see what exchange rate your debit card uses abroad. App-based bank cards like Monzo and Starling use Mastercard’s exchange rates abroad, meaning you can use your card as you would at home without any fees and at a fair rate. There’s also a range of travel credit cards that don’t charge you for spending abroad, so make sure you check ahead of time to find the easiest and best value option for you.

Donate to Brake for free when you book your parking at Gatwick Airport

Brake road safety charity logo

If you’re heading on holiday this June and are flying out from Gatwick, book your parking ahead to save through Official Gatwick Airport Parking. Not only could this save you a bit extra and help make your journey that extra bit smoother, but from the 3rd to 16th June, you’ll be helping to donate to road safety charity Brake every time you book through Savoo.

Brake promotes road safety awareness to prevent car-related injuries and tragedies, as well as providing vital support for grieving friends and family. Brake also strives to get the government to prioritise cutting down road pollution and encourage sustainable, safe road use to make our roads safer for everyone.

Between the 3rd and 16th of June, 4% of all confirmed sales and car parking stays made through Savoo for Official Gatwick Airport Parking will be donated to Brake on your behalf, so you can donate to an important cause without spending an extra penny. Find out more about how it works so you can start giving to charity every time you use one of our handy, money-saving voucher codes.

Are you going to try any of these money-saving tips before catching your flight? Let us know in the comments!


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