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Before you go: 5 essential and practical money-saving travel tips

Everyone likes to spend a little money on holiday: nice meals out, the odd drink, an exciting excursion or a small memento are all worthwhile uses of our holiday money. That’s why you should do all you can to save money on your holiday before you even go. Here are five top travel tips for maximising your spending money by minimising your pre-holiday outlay.

1. Leave as little to buy at the airport as possible

Try to minimise your spending at the airport where prices can be higher

The airport has a captive market, and the traders there know it. The airports charge them high rents so they try to make their money back from customers. Make sure you shop around before your holiday for the best rates to change money as they are always higher at the airport. If you need travel accessories, such as travel pillows or adapters, get them from your local pound shop in advance rather than pay airport prices. Have you been collecting mini toiletries from hotel stays of the past? Refill them with your usual shampoo as convenient travel size bottles tend to cost far more relative to larger bottles as manufacturers know customers will pay for the convenience of airport-security-friendly bottles.

2. Make sure you’re mobile savvy

Make sure you know what you'll pay to use your phone abroad

Gone are the days when we flew off on holiday and the only communication with back home was the sending of a postcard that you knew you’d be home before anyway. Now we take our smartphones and update Facebook the moment we land. However, be careful when abroad and turn off roaming and data services if you don’t want a huge bill on your return. Many places have free WiFi these days so try to limit your internet browsing and updating for those spots. If you do plan to use your phone when abroad, speak to your provider before you go to find out exactly what the charges are.

3. Turn off electronics before leaving

Switch off everything you can at home to save on your bills

The news has been full of stories about energy companies increasing bills for homes across Britain. This means it’s more important than ever that you don’t waste energy. Before you go on holiday, make sure you switch off anything at the wall – don’t leave televisions and suchlike on standby. If you are travelling over winter, do make sure you have the heating set to come on to prevent pipes bursting.

4. Get a European Health Insurance Card

You're entitled to free medical treatment in the EU with an EHIC card

No one wants to think about getting ill or injured on holiday but it can happen so it’s best to be prepared. You should, of course, ensure you have travel insurance for your whole party – this is sometimes included with current accounts and covers a whole family so check with your bank as you may already be covered. Also, if you’re travelling within the EU, make sure you have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and that it’s still valid. This entitles you to free healthcare in any EU country. These cards are FREE although some unofficial websites do charge for them so make sure you don’t end up paying.

5. Consider an all-inclusive holiday

All inclusive holidays can save you money in the long run

All-inclusive holidays have become more and more popular in recent years and the likes of First Choice now only offer all-inclusive breaks. Now, there’s no doubt that the up-front cost of an all-inclusive trip is going to be higher than a more traditional holiday but it will often end up cheaper in the long run. Consider the food and drink that you’d be forced to fork out for during the day on a regular holiday and offset that against the all-inclusive price and you may be surprised at the potential savings.

Images by Derrick Coetzee, RobW_, Mal Haigh and Giampaolo Squarcina used under creative commons licence

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