Five ways to get the best bang for your buck on your summer holiday

Make sure you shop around - and don't forgot to ask for an update as you might have a better chance than you think


The summer holidays are almost upon us but whether you’ve already booked your trip, or are waiting for a last minute deal there are a number of ways you can make your budget go further.

Shop around

Once you've decided where you want to do, always make sure you check you are getting the cheapest deal. If you have gone into a travel agency then make sure you check their website to see if the deal is cheaper - it often will be and they'll typically match that price in store if you want to book in person.

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If you are booking things separately and are shopping around for a hotel room or flights, you'll probably be using one of the travel comparison websites. A top tip here is to be careful about your cookies - the little files dropped onto your computer by websites you visit that allow companies to offer specific deals, but also to track your browsing habits.

There are rumours that travel websites keep track of repeat visitors and repeated searches for trips or flights using their cookies and put their prices up. Whether this is true or not remains unclear, but to be on the safe side clear your cookies regularly and clear them one last time before you book to make sure you are getting the best possible deal.

Get the best foreign exchange deal

Once you're all booked for your trip, don’t wait until you get to the airport to get your cash changed into the local currency. Foreign Exchange bureaux at airports know you can’t shop around so their exchange rates are pitiful - and in the past year they've actually been offering less than one euro to the pound.

Plan ahead and use to see where is offering the best rates for the currency you need. If you need to buy €1,000 you would save almost £100 by shopping around rather than buying it at the airport.

Use your credit card

When you are shopping abroad consider using a credit card rather than taking out more cash. If you have one that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees they tend to have much better exchange rates than you’ll get on cash and you get added consumer protection.

The Halifax Clarity card is one of the best. Spending €1,000 on it would cost you £10 less than with best exchange rate on cash. Just make sure you clear your balance on time to avoid interest charges wiping out your savings.

Ask for an upgrade

The old ‘don’t ask, don’t get’ adage is certainly true when it comes to upgrades. Less than a third of us ask for a room upgrade when we check into a hotel, according to Vogue, but of those that do 68 per cent get bumped up to a nicer room or get a discounted rate.

If you are going to try and blag a better room try to hold off checking in until after 6pm. By then reception staff have a pretty clear picture of which rooms are going to be unoccupied that night so there is more chance of getting an upgrade.

Get travel insurance

Hopefully nothing will go wrong on your holiday. The only thing you’ll break is bread and the only people feeling sick will be the people looking at your pictures from rainy England. But, if things do go wrong abroad the bills can mount up fast. Break a leg in the US and you could face a bill of up to £40,000, even getting treatment for severe sunburn in Tenerife could cost you more than £100.

Avoid the cost by getting a travel insurance policy for as little as £15. Just use a comparison site such as or to find the best deal.

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