The spring flowers are poking out to say hello, and we’ve survived the bleak winter months. Nonetheless, for many of us, we are now counting down the days until our summer holiday.
How can we make sure that we budget well, so that this summer holiday leaves us only rested and relaxed, with a new batch of memories in the bank, instead of short of pennies?
Budgeting for a Summer Holiday may seem off-putting, however, it can be the make or break difference to an incredible summer. You can even have fun along the way. The average Briton spent £1300 on their summer holiday last year, so wise-up and take a sensible approach to summer holiday budgeting.
How to budget for your summer holiday:
1. Set the Budget
Before you can begin to work out the ‘how to’ of budgeting you need to know what to budget for. Make sure you don’t only think of the basic cost of the holiday such as accommodation or flights, but also budget for insurance, transfers, spending money, clothes and accessories…as well as food and drink.
2. Think About Your Destination & Shop Around
One of the most exciting stages in a holiday is the planning. Think about possible destinations and then research their costs. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, try to compare prices without getting tied in to certain providers. For example, compare the costs of all flights going to your destination around the same date using Sky Scanner. Also consider different options for accommodation such as organising a house swap through agencies such as Home Exchange.
3. Start Saving
It’s never too soon to save up for your next summer holiday. In fact, the savvy holidaymakers are the ones who save a little every month into a designated holiday account. This way you know what you’ve got to work with, and what your goals can be.
However, if your holiday savings need a boost we recommend a few added extra ways of increasing your holiday funds. Try swapping branded products (whether shampoo, clothes, food) for own-brand equivalents. Have a look around the house for unwanted toys and electronics and get them listed on eBay or your local Facebook selling page. Look at your bills to consider whether swapping providers, especially for utilities, might be worthwhile. Reduce your spending on luxuries such as take-aways. Finally, start a loose change jar. You probably won’t miss the odd pound or two out of your day, but it’ll soon add up, and can be used for spending money.
4. Set the Limit
It’s easy when we’re on holiday to get a little splash-happy with the cash. Often we’re using a different currency so it almost doesn’t feel like ‘real’ money, and at the same time we’re feeling relaxed and want to indulge. However, to prevent post-holiday blues, set a daily spending limit that you can afford and try to stay within this.
5. Timing is Everything
The travel industry favours the planners, but only up to a point. Then it favours the last minute spontaneous types. To get the best deals either book a very long way in advance, or leave things until the last minute. Also, make sure you give some thought to when you plan to take your holiday: Obviously outside of school holidays is cheaper. However if you are forced to use the school summer holidays then opt for the last week in August or the first week in September, to minimise costs. If your child’s school has teacher training (INSET) days tacked on to the start or end of term you may also be able to use these to book slightly cheaper dates.
6. Keep an Eye on Exchange Rates
Finally, when everything is booked and you’re nearly ready for the off, it’s time to give some thoughts to exchange rates. For a while in advance of your holiday, keep an eye on the exchange rates of where you are visiting, so that you can time your money exchange most favourably. Also, don’t assume that all providers will give you the same deal. It’s worth shopping around for foreign exchange, and the Money Saving Expert tool for doing that is great.
Once you’ve budgeted carefully, all that’s left to do is get on and appreciate your summer break. Enjoy!