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Many Brits will be doing their annual holiday at home in the UK this year to cut costs. But travelling around the UK can sometimes work out just as expensive if you’re not careful. We show you how to save money with these top tips, whether you’re looking for cheap accommodation, best value parking or free days out.
Hotel price comparison sites are a godsend but we recommend using at least three to be sure you’re getting the very best prices. You’ll probably already know about sites such as
However, always check directly with the hotel to see if they can offer you a better deal.
Pay for your holiday online and see if you can get cashback by shopping through sites such as
There are plenty of theses sites around and absolutely nothing to stop you signing up to several of them – particularly because different sites cover different retailers but note that they will only pay out once you’ve accumulated a set amount of cashback.
On average, the payout will be between roughly 2.5% and 10 per cent of the price of the holiday.
Travelling around the UK can soon rack up big bills but there are simple ways to cut costs. Take a look at Megabus for prices from as little as £1! National Express is also a really useful site offering competitive fares to lots of UK destinations. They often run promotions for trips from as little as £1 but they do tend to go pretty quickly so sign up to the newsletter and you’ll be the first to know about the latest special offers.
Perfect for families, National Express also has a 2plus2 annual family pass for £16 a year which allows two full paying adults to take two children for free. You can also purchase a Brit Xplorer pass from National Express for £79, which allows unlimited travel in England, Scotland and Wales for a set period of time. There are three different passes to choose from – Hobo which lasts 7 days at £79, Footloose for 14 days at £139 and Rolling Stone for 28 days at £219.
For train tickets a family and friends railcard allows four adults and four children to travel on one card. The pass costs £26 and saves adults a third of all fares and 60% of children’s fares on travel throughout the UK. To buy your pass, visit the Family and Friends railcard website. Find more money-saving ideas in our article on getting the cheapest train tickets.
Head to the eBay site where you can grab a real holiday bargain. The auction site has a pretty extensive holiday and travel section covering airlines, cruises, hotels, B&Bs, packaged holidays, car hire, coach holidays.
Try not to get carried away with the bidding or you’ll end up paying over the odds, but if you set yourself a realistic budget you can pick up a great deal because travel companies recognise the benefit of selling unsold rooms or deals at a reduced rate.
eBay does have a Fraud Protection Programme which pays out up to £120 but always do your research before bidding and take a look at the sellers ‘Feedback Profile’ which lists comments from other bidders who have used them previously.
Gumtree is another fantastic site for picking up other people’s holiday leftovers – often because they can no longer take their holiday and would rather sell it on cheaply, instead of losing out completely. Go to the ‘Stuff for Sale’ section and then under the ‘tickets’ tab. There are new entries everyday so keep checking to see what comes up – but – never hand over cash before meeting (in public) in person.
LetsGoWithTheChildren.co.uk is the must-see website for parents planning on a family holiday in the UK. The search facility is brilliant for finding great places to visit this summer. You can set a budget and search by age of children, location, indoor/outdoor activities, category (such as animals, museums, sport) and of course price – but don’t forget to check out all the free things to do in the UK. Simply select the ‘free’ option from the price drop down menu when you search.
LetsGoWithTheChildren.co.uk has one of the most extensive search engines we’ve found so it really is one not to miss. Also they were kind enough to write a helpful directory for us full of great places to visit this summer and they rather helpfully organised it by theme so whether you’re a family of adventurous explorers, animal lovers or arts and crafts enthusiasts you’ll find the perfect place to visit.
Trade in your Nectar points for travel bargains. Earning Nectar points couldn’t be easier – it has partnerships with many different companies, including online shopping sites like Amazon, restaurants, petrol from BP and of course Sainsbury’s.
Once you’ve built up enough points you can exchange them for vouchers and get money off hotels, flights and transport. Nectar has some fantastic travel partnerships including Expedia, Eurostar and Orient Express.
With Expedia, 2,000 points are worth a £10 voucher and to redeem points all you have to do is visit the website, pick a hotel and then call Nectar’s redemption helpline on 0844 811 0811 to exchange your points for a ‘money off’ voucher. Nectar will then put the voucher into your Expedia account – which can then be used next time you book online at Expedia. The voucher is then valid for one year.
Discover a different side to the UK with the Orient Express which runs the Northern Belle and British Pullman trains. If you’re planning a trip on the Orient Express you can save 35% when booking 6 to 8 months before departure, or 25% when booking 3 to 6 months before departure and 15% when booking less than 3 months before departure.
Both trains offer day and weekend trips from London and other cities to various UK destinations. You’ll be travelling in style too – the British Pullman consists of restored vintage carriages, while the Northern Belle features exquisite marquetry panels.
If you’re having a staycation however, you can still take advantage of some great Nectar discounts. Currently Nectar points are worth double at Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers at the minute – 500 points gives you £5 off – so there’s no excuse to not get out there! Nectar have also teamed up with ASK to offer cardholders a double value discount: for every 500 points you can get £5 off your bill. Check out the Nectar website for more details.
Make the most of your Tesco loyalty points by spending them on fun days out with the family this summer but make sure you spend your points online for better value. Tesco Clubcard points are worth four times more when you spend them online rather than in-store. So for every £2.50 worth of vouchers you can spend £10 worth of deals tokens. These tokens can then be spent on fun days out, airmiles, restaurants and activity days.
Pitch a tent at one of the many UK campsites for a budget family break. If you’re struggling for inspiration Holidaypad.net is a great place to start. UKCampsite.co.uk also has a useful search facility which enables you to whittle down results by features or facilities that you want such as adults only, fishing etc.
To get you started here are a few campsites we’ve heard good things about:
Wherever you end up this summer make sure you’ve signed up with OpenTable before you go. OpenTable members gain points every time they book a meal through the site – and once you’ve built up enough you can even put those points towards a free meal. OpenTable covers lots of cities and towns in the UK (as well as abroad) and there are always great deals to be found – simply click on the ’special offers’ box on the city/town of your choice and see where all the bargains are.
If you’re planning a city trip and need to drive around a lot don’t hire a car – join a car club instead for a cheaper and more convenient way to get around. Zipcar has the cheapest annual fee for just £25 and costs from £3.95 per hour or £29 per day, with 60 free miles per day and then a charge of 23p per extra mile. However, this is only for London so if you’re going elsewhere try City Car Club and look at our alternatives to owning a car article for more information on how car clubs work.
Take advantage of all the summer festivals and events – many of which are free – for that summer holiday feeling without the price tag. Here are some upcoming events:
Take advantage of promotional offers from travel companies – set up a new email account so that your personal account doesn’t get clogged up with spam. One of the best newsletters to sign up for is Lastminute.com – which will give you early bird access to their amazing one day sales which run throughout the year and offer impressive discounts that tend to go really, really quickly. Travelzoo also has its extremely popular Top 20 newsletter which highlights that week’s best travel bargains on the internet.
Also, make sure you sign up for our free bargain alerts and our free weekly newsletter – we’re always on the hunt for the very best deals on everything from travel to supermarket shopping and we often have exclusive special offers just for you MoneyMagpies.