Common mistakes we all make when booking holidays – and why they could end up getting worse, says a financial expert
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A financial expert has revealed Brits could be missing out on holiday deals due to common mistakes we all make when booking getaways.
Picking the wrong flights, booking too early (or too late), and simply packing too much stuff in your suitcase could actually put you at unnecessary extra cost when planning your trip.
Luckily Jonathan Merry, CEO of MoneyTransfers.com, is on hand to reveal how to avoid some of the common mistakes vacationers make, from the moment you start planning to when you’re actually on vacation.
Check out his advice below…
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Book your flights too early – or too late
Booking your flight too early could actually cost you more, with airlines often slashing their flight prices closer to the departure date. However, you don’t want to wait too long or else you might see prices go up due to demand the week before the holiday.
The sweet spot? Research shows that booking around three to four months in advance could help you avoid paying more than necessary.
The day you fly
Friday nights and weekends are known to be the most expensive days to fly, with most airlines charging more for flights on these days.
Arrange a flight that departs mid-week and you could save a lot of money.
Not buying travel insurance
Travel insurance is essential; although it looks like an additional upfront cost, it could save you money in the long run.
You can find cheap policies that cost less than a coffee and will still cover you for illness, injury, theft of valuables and cancellation. Not having insurance at all could put you at risk of bills of thousands of pounds if things go wrong.
Not comparing hotel/flight prices
You might have a favorite airline, but shop around because you might miss great deals elsewhere.
If you don’t mind a longer travel time, opt for non-direct flights. Regularly clear your browser history and start monitoring prices months in advance to get a good idea of what offers are available.
Use the wrong currency
When traveling, you should avoid paying in sterling and instead always pay in the country’s local currency to avoid being hit by high exchange rates, which can be up to 5% more than the cost.
When you are abroad, always check which currency you are going to use before paying and insist on paying in the local currency to avoid such charges.
Not verifying your credit card
You should always check whether your bank charges you for using your card abroad, as some charge transaction and purchase fees; it can all add up quickly.
Another option can be a prepaid card, which you can transfer money to before you travel, to avoid fees when paying abroad.
If you plan to be abroad for a long time, a money transfer provider could be the solution. Shop around as not all providers are the same and due to the large sums of money involved you need to find a provider that not only offers attractive exchange rates but is also regulated and safe.
Change your currency at the airport
Yes, it’s more convenient, but you’ll probably end up paying more. If you left at the last minute and have no choice but to use the airport’s currency exchange services, check to see if you can buy your currency online.
The majority of airports offer this service and you can get your money back once you arrive – not only does this mean you can sort it out the day before, but you can also get better fares than in person on the day.
Ignore Baggage Fees
Check your airline’s baggage rules for both carry-on and checked baggage.
Fines for overweight baggage can be costly, so always weigh your bag at home before arriving at the airport to avoid the rampant redistribution of your overweight baggage at check-in. Try to wear all bulky clothes and shoes such as jackets or sneakers, to avoid having to pack them.
Visit attractions during peak hours
Booking a holiday over a weekend is usually more convenient, but it does come at a cost.
Often tourist attractions charge more during peak hours, which tend to be weekends. Some countries also offer free admission to museums on certain days; for example, Barcelona offers free entry to most museums on the first Sunday of every month.
Check the details of the attractions you have chosen before you go abroad to plan your itinerary intelligently.
Dine at tourist hotspots
Go where the locals go; it’s generally better value for money and also allows for a more immersive travel experience.
Although you may want to sit and admire the tourist attractions while dining, restaurants in tourist hotspots will almost always have higher prices.
There are already plenty of offers for summer 2022, including hotspots such as Greece, Spain, France and more. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best:
- TUI offers free places for children, including during school holidays – book here.
- Loveholidays offers all-inclusive packages from £165 pp – book here.
- First Choice offers free places for children on all-inclusive holidays – book here.
- Jet2holidays has various offers including free babies – book here.
- Mirror Holidays offers dream tours – book here.
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Explore a city on foot whenever possible – it can be a great way to soak up the history and culture. Other alternatives include bike rental or public transport; all of this is often cheaper than taking taxis everywhere.
Oh, and if you need to book an airport transfer, make sure you do it well in advance to avoid having to pay the high prices on the day.
Splurge on tourist or travel passes
Before splurging on tourist or travel passes, always calculate whether they are actually worth it. Try to plan a rough itinerary before you travel so you can see exactly how often you’ll need to take public transport or how many sights you’ll realistically fit into your vacation, as you may not get what you pay for.