Summer holiday Money Saving
I like to write a summer holiday post every year telling you how to do holiday money saving and save a stack of cash before you depart to sunny seas & beaches. I always surprise myself with my new money saving tactics. We have an added advantage this year as we are returning to the same Spanish village as last year with our friends who own a place out there. Over the past few weeks I have been planning away and saving as much cash as possible.
The apartment and flights were booked and paid for months ago. We are staying in an apartment from the same holiday letting company as last year and we booked our EasyJet flights as soon as they were released back in January. For 2 weeks in Southern Spain is has cost £1300 for a 3 bed apartment (with shared pool, near beach, air conditioning and Wi-Fi) and £800 for 5 return flights Luton to Alicante.
I am sat here right now on our balcony. Its beautiful. The apartment is lovely has more than everything we need, the pool is amazing, the roof terrace is beautiful. A few pictures to illustrate…well worth the money.
I bought my Euros from Holiday Currency Exchange in the days leading up to Brexit. I had a sneaky feeling the country would vote leave so I hedged my bets and bought some Euros. For any more currency I need abroad I will use my Halifax Clarity card. This is the best credit card for spending when abroad and has consistently for the past 2 years given the best exchange rate. Currently showing as 1.20 Euro to the £1. I only use it on holiday and its paid off as soon as I get home to avoid any interest. Withdrawing cash is also fee free abroad. If you need to exchange cash before holiday, I recommend Holiday Currency Exchange a comparison site for foreign currency. Their best rate currently is 1.19 Euro to £1. (Shocking, the article I wrote this time last year the rate was 1.4 Euro to £1)
I booked our seats and luggage last week.
1 20kg hold bag, 1 20kg golf bag plus 5 hand luggage. I am hoping that’s enough as that lot cost £138!!! Tips I have learnt from friends (thank Liz & Andy Partner) use the extra space in the golf bag. The bag and golf clubs weigh 12kg so we have an extra 8kg in that bag to fill with clothes. Also think about priority boarding seats as they include one extra hand luggage. This could mean you can avoid the £40 hold luggage charge.
I am also going to buy some flight snacks to avoid the high cost of food at the airport and on the plane. We are not in the air for long but a large packet of starburst could be the difference between tears or smiles!
We were actually delayed and sat on tarmac for 2 hours due to an ‘electrical fault’ luckily with mobile network access allowed. So YouTube, stickers and star burst kept everyone happy.
I wrote a packing list last week and got hubby and Dylan, 8, to check it. We needed to buy a few things. We started at Aldi, we got a suitcase for Jack (Finding Dory not an essential but it’ll keep him happy at the airport). I got a bikini, I was going to pay £50 for an underwired fancy bikini in my actual size but ended up spending £8 on a black and pink Aldi bikini. Its really great, and fits really well, I cant believe it only cost £8
We also needed goggles x 2, armbands, luggage scales, small travel bottles, inflatable for Jack (£7 in total) so we headed to Poundland where we got everything. We needed new swimming shorts, these came from Primark. Along with a pair of sandals to fit Jack. 5 swimming shorts and 1 pair of sandals were £28.
Sun cream and first aid kit. Aldi have sent me a bundle of health & beauty goodies to try out, including sun cream, after sun and make up wipes. So this was free. Thank you Aldi. I applied factor 50 yesterday at 11am and didn’t re-apply during day and I am sunburn free.
First Aid kit I need anti-histamine and paracetamol. Both from Aldi costing 50p each. We have already at home aloe vera, plasters, child’s nurofen, nexum, buscopan, piriton. I think that’s enough;-) We have already used Piriton for heat rash, plaster and aloe vera 😉 I did need a trip to pharmacy yesterday though as a cold sore has erupted, thank you body.
Toys and Entertainment for flight and apartment
Great ideas supplied by my friend Teresa Clowes last year, all still very relevent this year
Balloons – Pack balloons in with the children’s toys. They are always a treat for a child and can provide entertainment for all the family in the smallest of spaces such as hotel rooms for a quick game of balloon volleyball!
BBC iPlayer – You can download programmes to watch while offline- perfect for long journeys or if your usual TV package is not available where you are staying or there is shock horror no Wi-Fi. So glad we did this, particularly for 2 hour wait on Luton airport tarmac 😉
Small Cars/Animals – As a Mum of boys, we have tons of these things, they provide endless entertainment and can be used in many places
A new treat -Especially good for taking up time on a long flight, buy them some new treats and wrap them up in paper like a present. This adds to the excitement and fills in an extra few minutes! I found sticker books particularly successful and managed to find one about an airport, perfect for teaching my son about all the things to see!
Paddling pool – If you’re going somewhere warm and sunny and will have your own outdoor area at your accommodation, pack a small paddling pool to help them cool off.
Let them do the packing! Get the children involved with getting excited about their trip by allowing them to pack a few things for themselves, guide them towards small books and toys!
We have hired a car from Affordable Car Hire, this is a comparison site for all the companies that operate from the airports and you can use your Tesco Clubcard vouchers!!! We know that Goldcar hire had very long queues from last year, they are no-frills so we have avoided them. The decision was to go for Centauro where it is costing £476 to hire a people carrier for 2 weeks, and I have £195 worth of Clubcard vouchers to help pay for it. Not quite free and I am a tad annoyed with Tesco. I have £100 worth of vouchers due to be released on 1st Aug but they won’t release them early 🙁 It could have been completely free 🙂
We have bubble bum car seats from last year. There is a cheaper equivalent on Amazon for £8 if you need them, don’t get them from the hire company you will spend a fortune maybe £50 per car seat. I have also taken out excess removal insurance in this country from Insurance4carhire. But be sure to take this cover out via Topcashback as you will save an additional 15% off the policy cost of £39.99 🙂 This will cover us for any huge excess claims and will mean we don’t have to pay the 266 Euro excess removal fee when collecting the car. Yes, 19 Euro per day!!!
Parking and or getting to Airport
This year we are flying from Luton, just 30 minutes from where we live and our lovely friend Stu is dropping us off and collecting us. If you don’t have this luxury and require parking I would go via Topcashback and check out the prices on Holiday Extras. They often offer the best value on the market and choosing it through Topcashback first will get you an extra 10% or so off. We have got a cab in the past but at £50 each way it’s a fairly expensive way of getting to an airport just 30 minutes away. Train is not an option for us as airport is on a different line. If you’re looking to find out whether airport parking will be busy at your local airport, Staysure have produced a guide to UK airport parking which shows how busy parking at major UK airports is!
Travel Insurance and European Insurance Card
Ensure you have travel insurance. We have an annual policy covering all 5 of us worldwide. It cost me £40 back in March, a bargain when a one off package normally costs around £30 to £40. I searched for the best deal on again Topcashback and went for Debenhams. I checked the small print to ensure it had good coverage.
Also make sure you have you European Health Insurance Card in date and with you when you travel. If you fall ill, you will be seen by a person of that country in the public health system so will mean avoiding un-necessary costs. To apply for one, go to Euro Health Insurance card. You apply for yourself, partner and children all at the same time, the cards take a few days to arrive.
So that’s it for my top tip essentials for holibobs. I ‘d love to hear of your top tips below!
Bookmark it for your next holiday abroad or share with your friends. Happy summer holidays.