How to avoid blowing the holiday budget when the heat is on

You may be looking forward to that long-awaited summer holiday, but will you blow your budget this year?

A little extra planning can ensure your spending stays on track. Picture: PA
A little extra planning can ensure your spending stays on track. Picture: PA
A little extra planning can ensure your spending stays on track. Picture: PA

One in four (25 per cent) of us went over the amount we’d planned to spend on our last trip, according to a survey by Post Office Travel Money. On average, these holidaymakers spent £184 more than they’d bargained for.

To avoid following in their footsteps, here are six tips from Post Office Travel Money to stop your holiday spending spiralling out of control.

Get good value for sterling

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It’s wise to go where the pound in your pocket is worth more. Turkey is a destination where UK holidaymakers may find their money stretches further this year, with sterling having strengthened against the Turkish lira. The pound has also strengthened against the Norwegian and Swedish currencies and increased on 2018 levels against the Icelandic krona. If you want to head further afield, South Africa could be a bargain bet, as the rand has fallen against sterling since last year.

Budget realistically

Make sure to take account of all your costs before you set off, to avoid having to top up abroad and potentially incurring fees for using cards. You could consider loading money on to a pre-paid currency card to avoid transaction charges. If you do want to use a credit or debit card abroad, avoid paying in sterling in shops or restaurants because it may cost more than if you paid in the local currency.

Exchange rates

Get the most you can for your pounds by monitoring exchange rate movements before you go, and purchase your foreign currency when the pound is looking stronger. The Post Office found that one in 10 people left it until they got to the airport on their last holiday to buy foreign currency – potentially meaning they got a poorer rate.

Cost of living

Pick a resort where the cost of living is low. Over four-fifths (83 per cent) of families say the cost of meals, drinks and other tourist staples in their holiday destinations is a bigger worry than the value of sterling.

For those who haven’t already booked, the latest Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer of European beach resorts suggests that prices are likely to be relatively low in Sunny Beach and other Bulgarian Black Sea resorts. The Algarve, the Costa del Sol and Marmaris were also tipped as good value.

Consider self-catering

This could be a very effective way to keep the cost of meals to a minimum and explains why two in five families in the Post Office’s research are planning to take the DIY approach this year. It makes good financial sense because, according to the Post Office, the average amount that holidaymakers spent stocking up on provisions on their last self-catering holiday was £89 – around a quarter of the cost of eating out daily in many European resort restaurants.

For those going self-catering, research suggests the Balearic Islands offer relatively cheap shop prices, while supermarkets in the Algarve and the Costa del Sol are also seen as good value.

Go all-inclusive

If you don’t want to cook while you’re away, think about choosing an all-inclusive deal. But make sure you check what is included in the package price and don’t get caught out paying for extras.