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How to get the cheapest holiday possible

Jasmine Birtles 16th Aug 2012 No Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We all like to save money on holiday but did you know you can get an iPad at Gatwick Airport for £38 less than on the high street? Or a Hugo Boss blazer for £50 less?

No, nor did I until I started my term as a member of the Gatwick Passenger Panel, representing shoppers.

It’s amazing what you can get. Check out the shops that are there at the moment. They’ll be getting more in the next few years, as well as some rather better restaurants too so it’s worth going early if you’re flying off somewhere so that you can check out the bargains and the food!

And while you’re on the Gatwick site, check out my latest tips for saving money on holiday. In fact, I’ll give you a sneak preview here…

Book early

save money on holidayIf you want cheaper flights with the major airlines, especially long-haul, then you should try and book as early as possible. Over a matter of weeks or sometimes days, prices can change immensely. Planes, trains and buses all have a quota of seats they will sell for the lowest price and then prices increase from there.

Check out destination costs

If travelling to another country, take into account the strength of the pound against the currency of your destination as well as the average cost of living at your destination when planning a holiday. Good places to keep track of changing currency rates are xe.com, Travelex and Moneycorp which also has an exchange service.

Pre-order your currency

It can definitely pay to use pre-paid credit cards on your trip so you don’t save money on holidayget stung by exchange rates or fees or to pre-order your currency. For example, Gatwick’s online currency exchange service enables you to order currency in advance and pick it up at the airport before you jet off – allowing you to benefit from preferential rates as well as saving you a trip to the high street! If the exchange rate is better when you collect your currency than when it was originally ordered, Moneycorp will refund the difference, whereas Travelex offers commission free rates for those who order online.

Be aware of local public holidays 

Many countries have their own public holidays and (just like in Britain) these usually prove peak periods for travel. Hotels, flights, buses and trains may be more expensive and will book up quicker than at other times. Do your research and plan well ahead of your holiday to make sure you don’t get caught out. Public holidays may also mean shops are closed so if you do choose to travel, make sure you don’t get stranded without food!

Consider an international house swap

save money on holidayIf you have a family or simply want room to spread out then a house swap might be a great way of securing a big space without the big price tag. It’s usually for 2-4 weeks and cars are included. No money swaps hands. People post descriptions of their house and facilities, their exchange destination and how many people they would bring to stay in your house. You can become a house swapper with websites including Home Swapper and Intervac.

Plan ahead for airport travel

For maximum savings on airport parking, it pays to be prepared. If you’re driving and need a car space then make sure to book in advance – online directly through the airport or through your travel agent – to make savings of up to 65%. For those of you taking the train to the airport, it’s always cheaper to buy tickets online before you travel.

Take advantage of credit card treats21 brilliant ways to be poor

If you pay off your credit card each month, it’s worth looking for the ones that reward you with cashback, points or air-miles. These often offer a great incentive to stay out of the red and mean you can trip yourself during or after your trip. Read up about credit cards with rewards to see how you can take advantage.

Indulge in duty free

If you want to buy beauty products, sunglasses, jewellery, electronics, alcohol or chocolates then the airport duty-free shop is normally a winner as there are always fantastic bargains to be had. Tax-free savings mean airports offer great deals at departures plus there are often exclusive deals on offer that aren’t available on the high street and shouldn’t be missed! Check out Gatwick’s Airside magazine available in departure lounges or on the website www.gatwickairport.com/shopping-eating which highlights special offers from retailers and food and beverage outlets.

Avoid excess baggage

A-Z guide to making more moneyOne sure-fire way to put a downer on your holiday is to find yourself forking out for excess baggage. To avoid this, always be sure to pack within your airline guidelines. Buy a light suitcase and remember the amount of stuff you take away is never going to be the same as the amount that you bring back. If you plan on hitting the shops at the airport or while you are away make sure you have space for them. Take advantage of services like Gatwick Airport’s Shop & Drop which allows you to stock up on duty free and then pick up your items on your return. This is a free service that is available to all passengers travelling within the European Union.


Use a travel guide for cheap eats

Pick up the latest travel guides from Lonely Planet, Rough Guides or Let’s Go to see what they say about eating out. Often they’ll tip you off about tourist-centred places where you’re bound to get ripped off, and instead direct you to traditional, better value places that will give you more of a local experience. You can also book abroad with OpenTable and gain points that will help you towards a free meal.

Make money from your trip

If you have a talent for writing and want to get paid for blogging about your holiday then visit Pay Per Post. You have to submit samples and they must first be approved, but if they are you could earn as much as £10 a post.

If you have an aptitude for photography and tend to visit places that are a little unusual, then selling your pictures to photo agencies could be an easy way to make money. Microstock sites such as Fotolia often have a travel section and are always on the lookout for professional-quality photographs of interesting things.


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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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