The summer holiday season has well and truly begun, and whilst Ireland is reeling from sky-high food costs and energy price hikes, Irish people are more determined than ever to spend their hard-earned cash on having fun in the sun.
The demand for flights and holiday packages is back to pre-pandemic levels but that doesn't mean you can't still find ways to get more bang for your buck.
The price comparison experts over at Switcher have put together some hot holiday tips for spending wisely whilst holidaying abroad as well as how to enjoy a happy holiday without breaking the bank.
1. Explore and compare prices
It's tempting to book a foreign holiday on impulse when it's cold and wet outside, but take time to explore choices before you buy. Comparison websites and travel portals like SkyScanner or BudgetTravel.ie can help you compare costs and find holiday bargains. Start your research early and set up price alerts for flights and accommodation so you get the best deals first.
2. Be flexible and open-minded
The key to bagging a great value holiday is to be flexible about travel times and open to new horizons. Consider self-catering, travel midweek or off-peak, and avoid cities or busy resorts. Staying off the beaten track or booking out of season saves money, widens your choice, and means you'll get a more genuine taste of the culture.
3. Join a rewards or discounts scheme
Check out discount platforms like Groupon and Living Social for hotel discounts and travel deals. If you're a frequent flyer and use an airline or hotel group regularly, join their loyalty program to earn points and redeem them against future bookings or exclusive travel perks. Some credit cards offer travel rewards too.
4. Buy travel insurance when you book
One in three Irish consumers have never bought travel insurance, yet it saves so much money and hassle if things go wrong. Missing luggage, medical emergencies, and theft are just some things that can spoil your trip, and if you buy it when you book it, you're protected if you have to cancel or change your plans.
5. Order travel cash in advance
If you're spending abroad with foreign cash, you'll get the best deal if you order currency online. Buy in advance and consider locking in the best exchange rates for optimal savings. If you're making a last-minute dash, then an airport bureau de change should be your last resort - An Post and some supermarkets offer far better rates.
6. Get data roaming savvy
Holidaying in Europe means your mobile call plan covers capped data, calls, and texts at no extra cost, but avoid getting stung by data roaming charges if you travel outside Europe or breach your data roaming cap. Find out about international add-ons and bundles for the cheapest way to use your phone abroad or use a local SIM card and Wi-Fi hotspots to stay in touch while on the go.
7. Download important stuff in advance
Chances are you'll store your holiday details, travel tickets, and insurance docs on your phone, but may only get a patchy signal or wifi, so download important stuff before you set off. It makes sense to download movies, music, and maps in advance too. Reduce the risk of costly downloads and shock charges by disabling background apps, turning off data roaming, or switching to flight mode.
8. Buy hire car excess independently
Renting a car abroad is expensive but sometimes vital if you've booked a remote destination or plan to tour. Shop around and reserve as soon as possible to get the best prices. Rental car firms may offer optional add-ons at the rental desk to cover the 'excess' charge, but it's often overpriced with hidden clauses, so consider buying car hire excess insurance independently before you go.
9. Pack a picnic for lunch and dine in
Splashing out on restaurant meals and takeaway food can end up eating most of your holiday budget. To save euros, pack a lunch and fill your water bottle before travelling to avoid sky-high airport prices. Book an apartment or holiday let instead of a hotel so you can lunch al fresco by day and dine in on local cuisine at night to save a fortune.
10. Use a prepaid or digital account card for spending
The rise of contactless payments means paying by card or mobile is gaining popularity at home and abroad. Its safe, simple, and mobile banking apps make it easier than ever to keep track of your holiday spending. Prepaid cards ensure you stick to a preset budget, and digital accounts like Revolut, N26, and Wise offer low or no-fee foreign transactions and competitive exchange rates.
Eoin Clarke at Switcher said: "Everyone needs a break, and a holiday abroad can really lift the spirits, but with everyday costs still rising, it pays to do your homework and plan ahead to get the best deals and reduce holiday spending.
"Cutting back doesn't mean less fun, but getting things like insurance, mobile roaming, and travel money sorted in advance and being flexible about when and where you travel will make your holiday money go further."
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