With fewer flight routes available, and costs creeping up, is it possible to book a cheap summer holiday anymore?
You can certainly try to cut costs as much as possible. To avoid paying through the nose for your holidays this year, here are some useful money-saving tips for summer 2023.
Get holiday deal notifications, and be prepared to pounce
Great-value holidays do come up now and again, so make sure you register with your favourite companies and airlines so you’re kept informed. It’s now even possible to delegate the research, although there is a fee involved. By signing up to newsletters such as Jack’s Flight Club, you’ll get tipped off on great deals, which go straight to your inbox. They also offer a premium service which is £15 a quarter or £39 for the year at the time of writing, which claims to deliver all their top deals, and with early access as well as trip alerts, and if you get a great deal, you would easily make this back.
This approach does mean you’ll need to be flexible regarding destinations and departure airports, but if you make a list of dream locations, something will come up sooner or later. You’ll also need to be ready to grab the great deals before they disappear.
If you’re fairly open to where you stay, it’s worth looking into websites which either facilitate home swaps, or where you can look after pets or tend to a property in return for board.
Guardian Home Exchange, for example, connects homeowners looking for house-swap holidays. It’s free for two weeks, and costs £35 for six months or £59 for a year. It also gives you the peace of mind that someone trustworthy is looking after your home in your absence.
Likewise, if you’d be happy caring for someone’s pet or pets, sites like, housesittersuk or animalaunts, match owners with those who’d like to stay in their homes in their absence. There is usually an annual fee, which could cover as many stays as you like. If you find dogs too much work, , it’s possible to look after different pets, that are lower maintenance, such as cats. Or even fish. If you fancied a trip to somewhere like Cornwall, but find the prices too high in the summer, this could prove a great money-saver.
Package holidays can work out cheaper than DIY
Since the advent of online flight comparison, and plentiful accommodation options on sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com, DIY holidays have become the way forward for savvy shoppers. Unsurprisingly so, as you can create your tailor-made holiday, whatever your requirements, with a pick ‘n’ mix of deals to be had.
But have things come full circle? According to MoneySavingExpert, package holidays may well work out cheaper nowadays. This is especially the case if:
- You’re prepared to leave it last minute, and keep an eye out for flash sales
- You want to go for exactly a week, 10 days or two weeks
- You’re aiming for the last two weeks of August, rather than the beginning of summer
- You fancy going all-inclusive
In addition, package holidays tend to offer better protection in the event of coronavirus-related restrictions, travel disruption or even bad weather.
Pack light and smart
Taking luggage on a plane is becoming increasingly expensive. Some budget airlines are now charging between £15 and £35 per flight for cabin bags to fit in the overhead locker.
If you can, try to slim your packing to the bare minimum. Take note of the airline’s luggage dimensions, and bear in mind that backpacks squish down more easily than cases. If you can, share one bag between a few members of your party.
It’s easy to overpack with clothes you’re unlikely to wear, so keep it to a few main items. You can minimise the space taken up by vacuum packing your clothes, or – at the very least – try rolling them into cylinders, which is the most effective way of squeezing them in.
And if you’ve booked accommodation with a washing machine, this could make your wardrobe work harder.
Finally, consider a credit card with 0% on overseas transactions
An oldie but a goodie is to take out a credit card with no fees on spending or ATM withdrawals while abroad. Although, remember to try and stick to your budget and pay the card off in full before you start getting charged interest. If you’re taking out a credit card for travelling, try to be disciplined and only use it for this purpose. When your trip’s over, hide it away somewhere until you go on holiday again.
Also, if you’re given the option, you should always choose to pay in the local currency rather than sterling, as the retailer’s currency conversion will not be as good as your card issuer’s.
It’s important to do your research and look at the terms and conditions before getting a credit card, checking out independent online sources and what your bank offers is a great starting point.