Cost of living: 12 travel mistakes Brits make that could set you back hundreds - and what to do instead
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With the summer holidays in full swing, many Brits are preparing to head abroad for a well-deserved break. But getting away can be pricey, especially in the current climate, so the last thing you’d want is to be hit with extra costs.
With this in mind, thimbl. has revealed the common travel mistakes you could be making which will set you back hundreds of pounds. The credit card provider said searches for “cheap holidays abroad” have soared by 53 per cent in the past year, suggesting holidaymakers are looking to nab savings where they can.
Here are 12 travel mistakes you could be making and what to do instead, according to thimbl.’s Joe Lytwyn.
Being inflexible with holiday dates
“Being inflexible with holiday dates can quickly turn what could be a cheap getaway into something much more costly. When you’re planning your holiday, it could be beneficial being flexible with the dates you can book your holiday for.
“This could help you to book the most affordable holiday on the market - you could save hundreds of pounds, simply by booking your holiday one, two or three days earlier or later.”
Only opting for package deals
“Booking a package deal holiday might not be the most cost-effective option. As a starting point, it could be worth checking out price comparison sites to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
“It could then be worth checking the cost of booking flights and accommodation separately, if you’re looking to bag big savings. For instance, some hotels offer large discounts if you book a room directly from their website, rather than through a third-party website for package holidays.”
Neglecting travel insurance - or leaving it late to arrange cover
“Choosing not to take out travel insurance, or leaving it late to arrange cover, can be a costly mistake as you will not be protected from having to pay out any cancellation costs. It’s worth considering taking out travel insurance the moment that you book your holiday abroad.
“This will allow you to cancel your trip beforehand and get some money back, whether this be due to a stolen passport or you’re suffering from an injury and won’t be able to attend your trip.”
Exchanging currency at the airport
“The worst place to exchange your money can be at the airport so it’s worth trying not to leave it until the last minute. Opt to change your money at a bank or ATM instead as, although they charge fees, the markup will often be less.”
Overspending on luggage
“A common mistake travellers can make is overspending on luggage. Consider taking the time to assess how much luggage you are planning to bring on your trip and be realistic about whether you will need to purchase checked luggage. There’s no reason to pay over the odds for excess luggage weight, that you’re more than certain you won’t make use of.
“However, if you think there’s a slim chance that you’ll pack too much, consider opting for an excess weight option to avoid being stung with a hefty fine. It’s also worth considering using luggage tags so, in the case your luggage is unfortunately lost, there is a better chance of it arriving safely with you in a time-efficient manner.
“This means you won’t have to worry about purchasing replacement clothes or toiletries whilst you are on your holiday, or even the entire contents of your suitcase if it never gets returned to you.”
Trying to use cash for your hotel room deposit
“Thinking that you can use cash for your hotel room deposit can be a huge mistake, so consider checking in advance to see if your hotel accepts this. Most hotels abroad will require that you bring your debit or credit card to check in.
“This is so that they can hold your card details on file, in the event that they will need to charge your card for damage to your room. Try not to be caught out by simply thinking you can put a cash deposit down as hotels have the right to refuse this.”
Not using a safe to protect valuables and important documents
“Not using a safe could lead to valuables or important documents being lost or stolen. For example,losing your passport abroad could cost you £100 as you will need to apply for an emergency travel document, according to official government advice. When researching hotels to stay in, it’s worth checking out whether the facilities offer safety deposit boxes.
“Whether these are complementary or there is a fee charged, it could be worth considering using one to protect against the costs associated with replacing your personal belongings.”
Being unaware of roaming charges
“Not being aware of roaming charges could leave you with an unexpected phone bill that you hadn’t accounted for. Since leaving the European Union, a number of mobile firms have re-introduced roaming charges for Brits on holiday abroad.
“If you’re currently on a SIM-only plan, which charges for roaming abroad, it may be worth considering taking out a SIM-Only deal that offers EU roaming. This means that you can use your data allowance as you would in the UK, in Europe.”
Making purchases in sterling rather than the local currency
“One important mistake to avoid is making purchases in sterling when you’re abroad. The exchange rate will not be as competitive as what you would be offered by your card network for paying in local currency. The difference in price could be more than 10 per cent per transaction, according toMoney to the Masses.
“If you’re looking to save the most money on holiday, consider making your purchases in the local currency rather than paying in sterling.”
Racking up charges when using your bank card abroad
“Being unaware that your bank charges fees for using your card abroad is an unfortunate way to rack up unwanted expenses. It’s worth checking whether your bank card charges fees for you to use it abroad.
“If this is the case, consider using a pre-paid card instead to avoid having to pay these charges.”
Booking attractions for peak times
“Attraction ticket prices can vary, with peak days that are selling-fast potentially more expensive as availability is limited. Consider checking out when you can get cheaper tickets for the attractions you would like to visit during your stay - often this will be during off-peak times.
“This way you can book ahead and schedule the visit into your itinerary to save a pretty penny.”
Shopping at expensive supermarkets
“Tourists can easily be stung by carrying out their food shop at an expensive supermarket. If you know anyone personally who has been to the area before, consider asking them for a recommendation on the best local supermarkets which cost the least.”