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The MoneyHub guide to booking holidays

The MoneyHub guide to booking holidays

How you can avoid those unnecessary holiday troubles by proper planning and budgeting.

Holidays should be fun-filled and memorable whether on your own, with a loved one or with family.

Sadly, it doesn’t always work out that way. The internet is swarming with tales of dodgy hotels, crammed tours with other tourists, flight delays and over-priced car rentals.

When this happens, your holiday excitement is ruined in minutes.

With summer just passed, many of us are considering our next holiday. This MoneyHub guide covers every stage of your holiday so that you can book and travel with the knowledge that you have the best deal.

Getting affordable flights ?

The most reliable way to navigate the tangled network of routes and airlines and routes is to use a travel comparison website or airline aggregator like
Skyscanner
to find the cheapest option. Skyscanner also lists countries and their COVID restrictions depending on where you are permitted to fly to and from your original destination.

However, be aware that the most affordable option isn’t necessarily the best for the trip.

Skyscanner is excellent at finding and weeding out lengthy stopovers, questionable airlines and stupid indirect routings where your trip could add hours to your flying time.

Whilst your bank account may thank you for flying a few more hours in the opposite direction, the environment and your tired body surely won’t!

Booking accommodation

So where to stay?

There is a cacophony of hotel booking websites around today.
Booking.com
states they have 2,308,000 hotels on their site – indeed you can find one that suits the purpose of your trip?

Not only do they have reviews from those who stay there. But they also list what types of beds and what’s included in the room price. Plus discounts for booking early or reservations without paying.

Don’t wish to stay in a hotel?
Then Airbnb
has thousands of unique accommodation options that offer more charm to a tourist stay than a hotel chain.

Another tip is to check out
TripAdvisor reviews
.

Yes, accommodation seekers shouldn’t place all their faith in the platform’s algorithm; plenty of great hotels don’t rise to the top of the ranking lists. Seekers can drill down the menu to weed out options they feel they can manage without, like gym, jacuzzi, pets allowed, room service, etc.

Doing this will present cheaper options that fit your budget yet still get the desired room options.

Another popular option for solo travellers is couch surfing. Tourists are not required to rent an Airbnb or book a hotel room; they can stay on someone’s sofa and stay with them.

There are numerous sites, including:

So, couch surfing is the way to go if you prefer to interact more with locals. Plus, you’ll get fascinating snippets of where to go directly from a local.

Protecting yourself with travel insurance

The majority of us leave purchasing travel insurance at the very last minute. More alarmingly, most don’t even have travel insurance, preferring to rely on the
blue E111 cards to cover them within the European Union
.

Travel insurance protects against holiday cancellations or medical issues arising abroad.

If you take several trips per year, consider purchasing multi-trip insurance; this will work out cheaper.

Check with your bank or credit card terms and conditions – many now include travel insurance, so no need to buy any. Check how much it covers and whether you need to buy your holiday on the card in the first place.

Car rentals without the extras

Car rental companies charge fees and make more money from various add-ons customers need.

For example – sat-nav, second drivers, child seats and even vaguely worded insurance small print for car extras you never wanted and only took because of the hard sell at the rental desk.

Once again, check that your credit card covers you for car insurance. If you have a data roaming package on your smartphone, you could install some navigation apps like
Waze
and
Google Maps
rather than renting a sat-nav.

When you collect your car, carefully inspect it and check what is inside the glove box. Take photos on your phone to ensure any potential disputes do not arise once you return the car.

Plus, if you are collecting your car towards the day’s end and they have no vehicles left in the same class as you have booked, then the rental car companies are obliged to upgrade you to a better vehicle for free. If you do not wish to rent a car, then depending on your destination, consider using a ride-hailing app like Shop, Uber, and if travelling to the USA, Lyft. Alternatively, consider a carpooling service like
BlaBlaCar
that connects drivers with empty seats for people travelling in the same direction for long distances.

Avoiding guided tours from hell

Guided tours can quickly discover many sights without learning how to drive abroad, plan what to see or make decisions on the day’s schedule.

However, a lousy tour can feel like a never-ending escape situation. An entire day with a terrible guide on an uncomfortable bus with nervously photo-clicking tourists or those of a loud-talking disposition can derail your holiday excitement.

The trick here is to ask several questions before booking any tour:

  • Who is the tour guide?
  • Where is lunch eaten?
  • What will you see?
  • How big is the group?
  • Will there be a lot of walking involved? (It is good to know if you have children in your group or if others are mobile-challenged).

Sites like
Vayable
and
Airbnb’ Experiences’
pair tourists with locals for a more personalised tour than large money-making tour groups.

Before planning, budgeting, and booking your holiday, consider these tried and tested tricks to ensure you do not overpay and over-worry about your summer holiday.

Get the best flight and hotel that matches your needs, save on your travel insurance and car rental and ensure that you avoid any other mishaps with your tour.

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[…] Even if you have not used your credit cards to pay for the purchases, it does not matter. Spending all of your disposable income each month will eat away at any financial goals you seek to achieve – clearing existing debt, saving for a deposit for a first-time buy, or that summer holiday. […]

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