Have you got a long list of countries that you want to explore this year? Follow our tips on planning your holidays like a pro and your money will travel much further…maybe even far enough to tick off another country or two.
We don’t just have tips for getting a better deal on your flight or accommodation, we also have tips for those expenses that are sometimes forgotten (like travel money and the cost of eating out).
Travel money is often an afterthought when it comes to organising a holiday. You book the flight and hotel in advance but leave travel money to the last minute – that’s a mistake.
With our Euro Card and Dollar Card you can lock in an exchange rate when the pound is having a good day. This means you’ll get more to spend on your travels and you’ll avoid being hit by a fall in the exchange rate when you are travelling.
Load a FairFX Prepaid Mastercard® with smaller amounts throughout the year and by the time you travel you’ll have squirrelled away the spending money you need for your trip.
Sign up to our Rate Alert service to find out when the exchange rate is in your favour.
If you’re not heading to the Eurozone or US, consider ticking off countries on your list where the pound is at its strongest. You could have enough to visit even more destinations if you think about the value of the pound before you even book.
Whatever you do, don’t leave buying travel money until the airport. In the last quarter of 2016 airport rates were as much as 26 per cent different from the market rate, which is nothing short of shocking.
Any money loaded on the FairFX Card is not protected by the FSCS.
All major holiday destinations have ‘on’ and ‘off’ seasons, and the ‘on’ season is of course the busiest and most expensive time to travel. If you still want to get the benefits of the ‘on’ season (e.g. the weather and local events) but don’t want to pay the high prices, try to travel at the beginning or end of that season.
You should also consider being flexible on the day of the week that you travel, and look at the prices for flying to alternative nearby airports.
Find out which months it is cheapest to fly by using online tools such as Google Flights. To make your money go further you need to be a bit flexible with your dates and, like the experts, you need to do plenty of research.
Instead of manually checking prices for your dream destination every day, you can let comparison sites do the work for you.
As with flights, comparison sites are a good place to start your accommodation search. Once you find a hotel that you like, make sure to head to the hotel’s website to check if they offer a lower price for booking direct.
Many hotel comparison sites won’t show you the actual price you pay until the final step. Make sure that you’re comparing like for like rates, including any local taxes or charges for card payments.
Don’t be afraid to also look beyond hotels – sites such as Airbnb allow you to live like a local and hostels too can be far cheaper than hotels.
Many people are still reluctant to stay in hostels due to the bad reputation some have gained. Europe and the US, among other destinations, have some absolutely fantastic hostels though, with many even resembling boutique hotels!
European hostel guide >>
If you choose to wine and dine right next to (or even in) the largest tourist attractions, expect to be charged a higher than average price for your meal. Don’t be afraid to walk to the next street or square to grab your dinner or a coffee, rather than settling in a tourist trap. You’re also likely to benefit from a nicer atmosphere and more authentic local cuisine.
Eating like a local throughout your trip will mean that you can enjoy more for your money. Try out the restaurants that are full of locals or, if you are feeling adventurous enough, restaurants that don’t even have menus written in English.
If you’re keen to try a local experience you can even dine in a local’s home with VizEat. VizEat connects travellers and local hosts around an authentic culinary experience at their home. To help your food budget stretch further, signing up for VizEat with this link will get you €10 off your first booking.
Plan your 2017 travels like an expert and you’ll be able to take your travel money much further. Think about your travel money before you travel and you can take advantage of movements in the pound. Tick off those destinations where the pound is performing well and experience cities like a local.
Failing to consider currency early on is one of the biggest traps to not getting the best value for your holiday. A survey by ourselves and Holiday Extras found that more than half of Brits (53%) don’t think about their travel money until the week leading up to their holiday.