Cut the cost of your holiday abroad

3 ways to save money on your next adventure

We’re all dreaming of a foreign holiday. Sun, sea, sand and exciting sights - what could be better? There must be a catch…

Well usually there is: the price. Unless you’re unbelievably lucky and win yourself a free break, all that fun in a faraway place doesn’t come cheap.

But there’s good news! As with all big-ticket items, it is possible to make large savings on holidays if you play your cards right.

And we’re here to show you how. Here are three ways to cut the cost of that holiday you’re dreaming of.

1. Grab an early deal… or a last-minute bargainYou’ll usually find the best holiday deals either well ahead of time, or very late on. So should you book early or hang on till the last minute?

It all depends how flexible you are. If you have to stick to school holiday dates, booking ahead (ideally 6 months or more in advance) is probably your best bet. This will give you a good chance of finding an early bargain before all the family deals get snapped up.

If you’re flexible on dates though, and aren’t too worried exactly where you go (as long as it’s sunny!), booking last-minute could land you an even bigger discount.

Last-minute deals start appearing around two months in advance, but the later you can leave it the bigger the price drops tend to be. (Just make sure you check your passport in advance - leaving this till the last minute too could end in disaster!)

Good places to hunt for deals are comparison sites like Ice Lolly and Travel Supermarket, or try Holiday Pirates for last-minute flash sales. Don’t forget to check holiday providers’ websites direct as they often have exclusive deals. Shop around, and be sure to check up on the holiday company before booking.

Quick tip: If you’re limited to school holidays, try looking for breaks right at the end of the summer. Many people won’t want to be away the week before schools go back, so you might find a better bargain.

2. Use the right credit card - in the right wayYou can save money on holiday by using the right credit card (and it’s safer than carrying lots of cash). But only if you use your card wisely.

The first thing to know is that different cards can have very different costs. Some have lots of added charges for using them abroad; others have minimal or no fees.

So the first step is to find out how good your current credit card is for overseas spending. Use Money Saving Expert’s card checker to find out (you’ll need to scroll down to find it).

If your card isn’t the best, you might be able to save money by applying for a specialist overseas credit card. With minimal or no overseas fees, they are often the cheapest way to spend abroad - but only if you repay in full at the end of the month.

Remember: if you haven’t got enough money set aside to cover your holiday spending, using a credit card and taking out one of our loans to pay it off may well work out cheaper than borrowing on the credit card.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be eligible for a specialist card. You can check your eligibility - without it affecting your credit score - using Money Saving Expert’s Credit Card Eligibility Calculator. Even if your chances of getting a specialist card don’t look good, the calculator could still help you save money, by finding a better option than your current card.

Quick tips:

  • Avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash - it’s nearly always cheaper to use your card to buy things direct. Taking out cash with a credit card leaves a mark on your credit file too, and with some cards you’ll be charged interest straight away (even if you pay your bill on time).
  • If you’re given the choice to pay with your card in Euros or in pounds, choose Euros - you’ll usually get a better exchange rate.

3. Shop around for currency 

It’s a good idea to take a bit of currency on your holiday abroad, as not everyone accepts cards.

But whatever you do, don’t wait until you get to the airport to sort it out! You tend to find the worst exchange rates here, so you could save big by shopping around in advance.

Use to search for the best currency deal - and don’t forget, delivery charges can be high, so you might be able to make a good saving by collecting your cash in person.

Quick tip: Use a debit card if possible to buy your currency. If you use a credit card, it counts as a cash withdrawal abroad, so you’ll pay any fees that apply.


Need to spread the cost of your next holiday? It’s much cheaper to borrow with us than with payday or doorstep lenders - visit our loans page for full details.

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Posted on
15 June 2017