As inflation rises to 9 percent and a recession approaches, millions of families are wondering if they can really afford a summer vacation this year.
But there are creative ways to cut costs – and even get vacations for free – if you know how to do it.
Here are our top tricks that save you hundreds of pounds on travel, accommodation and on the go.
Life is a beach: there are creative ways to cut costs – and even get a holiday for free – if you know how to do it
Save hundreds of pounds on travel
Vacationers generally prefer to travel by car, plane or train, but by bus it is usually cheaper. For example, Megabus has tickets from London to Cardiff for less than £ 7 or from Manchester to Edinburgh for £ 10. The BlaBlaBus bus service has tickets from Paris to London for £ 25.
Share the elevator
If you are going to an event or festival, pick up. GoCarShare and LiftShare are two websites that connect people who travel with those who need a lift.
Lifts are offered for the Reading Festival, the Womad World of Music Festival, the Arts and Dance Festival in Wiltshire and the Hay Festival in Wales for a few pounds from across the country.
Book a cheaper flight
Often all the extra services add up, not the ticket itself. Make sure you keep them under control. Buy earplugs and eye masks before hiking. Avoid buying expensive road-sized toiletries by pouring the products you use into small containers.
Prepare a sandwich for the plane and check the baggage allowance so as not to pay the excess. You can also save if you are not anxious to book a place in advance.
Save on car rental
Car rental prices are rising in the summer, but there are often add-ons. A little planning can save hundreds of pounds.
For example, renting a child car seat costs an average of £ 58 and £ 82 for two weeks, according to iCarhireinsurance research. Remember to bring them can provide significant savings.
Also be sure to purchase advance insurance against unnecessary waivers. Most car rental services require you to pay the first few hundred pounds on the cost of repairs if you damage the car – or offer insurance against excessive failure.
But if you buy insurance separately and not from a car rental company, the cost will be much lower. Use a price comparison website to get the best deal.
Your stay may even be free
Change houses Find a house where you can stay for free – changing it to your own for a week or two. If you know someone who lives near where you might want to stay and who wants to change the atmosphere in your home, contact them.
Otherwise, there are several websites that suit homeowners who want to swap places for a week or two for a small subscription fee. These include lovehomeswap.com, home-exchange.com and trustedhousesitters.com.
You can either make a direct exchange on the same dates, or stay in someone’s house under a contract that they can stay with you another time.
In addition, home exchange websites allow you to earn points if you allow someone to stay in your home. You can then use these points to stay in someone else’s house. Websites typically charge £ 10 a month and offer a resolution service if something goes wrong.
If you are in someone’s home, you may need to take on extra work, such as watering plants or feeding pets. But the advantage is that a guest in your home can do the same for you.
Check with your homeowner’s insurance provider to see if your policy will be affected. In general, accidental damage and theft are not covered by the insurer when you make the exchange.
Aviva, for example, claims that its standard home insurance allows people to rent out their homes on a temporary basis, but the coverage eliminates theft, accidental or malicious damage as a result of paying guests.
Adventures: Anna and Hugh Tatan Brown and sons in Santa Fe
40-year-old Anna Tatan-Brown in two or three years changes houses through Love Home Swap and regularly rents out her home in London.
She and her husband Hugh, 41, have stayed in Spain, the UK and Santa Fe, New Mexico, with their two boys, five-year-old Jake and one-year-old Zack.
Florida is her favorite place. She says, “People think I’m a multimillionaire because of the places we stop. But if you only pay for flights and your accommodation is covered, it’s much cheaper. ” She adds, “You can stay in areas you wouldn’t necessarily visit, and you can explore neighborhoods that wouldn’t be there if you stayed elsewhere.” For parents of two young children, a well-equipped kitchen and a place to spend the evening are ideal. ”
Help for travel at discounted prices
Volunteering is another way to cut back on vacation costs, as you get free or cheap housing in exchange for help.
Opportunities are listed on websites such as helpstay.com. Options include home gardening in southern Italy and assistance in running a boarding house in Quebec, Canada.
Some charities offer volunteer vacations. The Waterway Restoration Team has a week-long stay in which participants help rebuild waterways, during which they can learn traditional skills such as brickwork and masonry.
If you want to learn about organic farming, consider Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms UK. Your host will provide basic food, shelter and knowledge in exchange for your help on the farm. Go to wwoof.org.uk.
Find a mountain or hostel
Hostels are not just for young people – they can be ideal for families and people of all ages on a budget. The Association of Youth Hostels has dormitories everywhere, from city centers to rural escapes. Go to yha.org.uk for details.
If you want to go to a remote place, stay in one of the 100 both scattered across remote parts of the UK. These are basic free shelters that are perfect for pedestrians looking for an alternative to camping. See mountainbothies.org.uk.
Other ways to save while you have fun
Pay in local currency
If you use a bank or make a card payment abroad, you are often asked if you want to pay in pounds or in local currency. The latter is always cheaper.
Pay in pounds and you owe the exchange rate offered by the retailer or bank – which is unlikely to be better than the one used by your own bank.
Keep track of data transfer costs
This year, millions of British holidaymakers will once again have to pay for roaming to use their smartphones in Europe.
Telephone operators have been allowed to charge roaming charges since we left the European Union, and are gradually reintroducing charges.
EE, Vodafone and Three have introduced them to some customers, although O2 and Virgin Mobile have said they have no plans to do so this year.
Check the telephone operator’s rules
To reduce costs, connect to free Wi-Fi while traveling, rather than using data over the phone.
If you use data, you can save by buying a data package from your ISP in advance instead of paying a daily roaming bill. You can also reduce data costs by downloading movies, ebooks and podcasts to your home Wi-Fi network before traveling.
You can download maps using Google Maps, which you can access even offline.
Save on currency exchange
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the airport changes money – fares are a bad value for money. Instead, shop and buy in advance.
If you prefer to pay by card, consider a debit or credit card with no exchange fees.
Halifax Clarity and Barclaycard Rewards Visa are among the best credit cards for travel abroad.
They do not charge exchange fees for overseas expenses or cash withdrawals.
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