Most of us have a list of items we have to remember before heading off on holiday. But if you don’t have a money-saving checklist, you could be missing out on some of the best vacation deals – so read on to put that right.
Do you have a checklist of things you simply can’t forget to take on holiday? Passport, toothbrush, jumper for the flight, that blockbuster you’ve been meaning to read for the last six months…
Lists like these are important – after all, they’re not going to let you on the plane without your passport!
But if you want to save money on your holiday as well as enjoy every moment, it’s a good idea to put together a cash-saving checklist that will help you snare the best deals long before you set off.
Here are the first three items on our list. We’ll be adding some of the others in a future post.
1. Compare flights and hotels
Life’s too short to spend hours visiting the website of every airline or travel agent in search of the best prices and offers.
That’s where price comparison sites like Travelsupermarket.com and Gocompare.com come in handy – you can compare a whole range of offers at the click of mouse, choosing the one that suits you best.
And if you’re a tech-savvy traveler, finding the best price for a flight or hotel is now even easier with a slew of travel apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.
Some of the most popular include Kayak, for flights and hotels, and Hipmunk – a website and smartphone app that gives an ‘agony’ rating to each flight, so you know what you’re in for.
What you’ll save: If you shop around for long haul flights, you could save hundreds of pounds by comparing carriers and routes. You can also make significant savings on hotels, especially if you book early.
2. Choose the right travel insurance
When you’re shopping around for travel insurance, the cheapest isn’t always the best.
All travel insurance has basic emergency medical cover, but not every policy covers injuries from extreme sports, personal loss in freak weather conditions or a range of other possible exclusions.
So do a bit of research on where you’re headed and what conditions will be like when you arrive there. If you’re going to India in the monsoon season, you might want to upgrade to a policy that covers every likely eventuality.
Unless you’re very good at predicting the future, it’s also a good idea to opt for cancellation, abandonment or curtailment insurance. That way, if something unexpected happens, you won’t lose both your trip and your money.
Personal belongings insurance also needs to cover the full value of what you’re taking along – and make sure your travel documents (tickets and passport) are included in the policy. If they get lost, having them registered with your insurer makes it a lot easier to get replacements.
Duplicates of all documentation can now also be stored securely online using free data storage services such as Dropbox, Box.net and Evernote. These give you easy access to copies anywhere with an internet connection.
What you’ll save: you can’t put a price on your health, but you can on your belongings. Comprehensive insurance will ensure you get a quick response if you run into problems, and it’ll minimise the stress of missing your flight or losing your belongings.
3. Secure your cash with a prepaid travel card
The days of travelling with large sums of cash and travellers cheques are all but over.
A better alternative is to get a prepaid travel card over the counter. It will not only give you secure access to your money, but get you a more favourable rate of exchange on your foreign currency.
Recently, prepaid travel card technology has improved significantly, and because the market is competitive there are some great deals out there. CaxtonFX now offers a prepaid card that lets you draw cash for free anywhere in the world. It can also be used wherever Mastercard or Visa are accepted.
Best of all, you can now also top up your card online, over the phone or even by text –making managing your money simpler and letting you get on with enjoying your holiday.
What you’ll save: Unlike the UK, many other countries charge you a small fee each time you use a cash point – and a bigger one if you’re converting currency at the same time. As you travel, this adds up. A prepaid card will help you avoid those charges and give you an important safeguard against theft and fraud.
These are the first three items on our cash-saving holiday checklist. Why not tell us what you’d add to yours?