14:51 12 March 2013
The Easter holidays are fast approaching and whether you’re taking your family abroad to sunnier climes or are making the most of the bank holidays and planning an extended break, the last thing you’ll want is to spend a penny more on your travel extras than necessary.
The best way to save money on extras, from travel insurance to your hire car, is to shop around and book them before you set off to the airport.
Here we explain how being organised this Easter could result in you saving more than £500 – that’s a nice sum to put towards another holiday later in the year.
Pre-order your foreign currency and pocket an extra £82.36
When your flights and accommodation have been booked, it’s all too easy to think you’re set for your holiday and everything else can wait.
But, with the value of the pound falling in current weeks, it’s now more important than ever to shop around for your currency in order to get more for your money.
We did some number crunching at TravelSupermarket and found that, if you wanted to buy €1,000, there was a difference of £82.36 between pre-ordering your travel money online and buying it at the airport at the last minute.
For example, if you shopped around online looking for the best exchange rates for delivery, €1,000 would cost you £876.04 with Fair FX – with free delivery on orders over £750 and next day delivery on orders made before 1pm.
If, however, you just turned up to Heathrow and bought the same amount from the Travelex desk, €1,000 would cost you £958.40.
And, if you’ve left it too late to pre-order money for delivery, all is not lost. Get online and pre-order your currency for collection in the airport. For €1,000, this method would cost you £883.78 – that’s a saving of £74.62 for a few clicks of a mouse. But be sure to check how many hours in advance you need to do this – with Travelex, all orders have to be made four hours before you want to collect the currency.
Pre-book your hire car and drive off with an extra £114.36
During peak holiday periods, such as the Easter break, the demand for hire cars surges and prices go up as demand outstrips supply. So, if you’re going to need a vehicle for your trip, book it now to get the model you want at a competitive price.
For example, we looked at prices for medium family cars from Tenerife South airport with pick-up on March 30 and drop off on April 6.
If you were to turn up and pay Hertz’s ‘pay at location’ price, an Opel Astra would set you back £194.77 for a week’s hire.
A quick search on TravelSupermarket’s car hire channel for the same dates and pick-up, however, brought back results for medium family hire cars for as little as £80.41. That’s a huge saving of £114.36 and is less than half of the ‘pay at location’ price.
Shop around for your travel insurance and protect an extra £82.72
Travel insurance is a necessity for any holiday but it doesn’t make paying for it any easier. So, do your homework to find a policy that suits your requirements for less.
A classic single-trip policy with the Post Office, for example, would cost £90.88 to cover a family of four travelling to Egypt over the Easter holidays for a week.
But the same family would be able to buy policies for as little as £8.16 if they ran a search on TravelSupermarket for cover over the same period.
However, before you’re tempted to snap up the cheapest policy you see, make sure it covers you for everything you need it to and check the excess is affordable. Paying a few extra pounds for more protection will give you peace of mind that should anything go wrong while you’re away, you’ll be covered financially.
Keep costs at bay and save £92.95 by pre-booking your airport parking spot
If you’re planning on driving to the airport, make sure you pre-book your spot before you set off as significant savings can be made for minimal effort.
Heathrow, for example, increases its drive-up parking rates in peak periods, so over the Easter break, it would cost you £163.90 to leave your car for a week if you accept these on-the-day charges.
We, however, compared these charges to the ones available online and found parking spaces for as little as £70.95 for the same period on TravelSupermarket. That’s less than half the price of just turning up.
Know your baggage limits and pack an extra £170
British Airways has recently started offering hand baggage only fares – showing that savvy passengers are helping to influence the way we travel. But if travelling hand luggage only is one of your cost-saving tactics, be sure to know the weight and size limits your airline has in place.
If you go over your allowance, you can face hefty fines. Ryanair, for example, charges customers £50 to check any over-sized pieces of hand luggage in at the airport.
And, if you can’t fit all of your belongings into one cabin bag or even one hold bag, make sure you pre-book any extra hold bags onto your flight in advance. If you decide to do this at the airport, fees can be staggering – for example, Ryanair charges up to £120 for a second checked-in bag when you’re flying off peak (and even more if you’re travelling over the summer on certain routes).
Other money-saving travel tips
If you’ve already sorted out your extras, or perhaps you’re thirsty to save even more, make sure you:
•Take your own packed lunch and snacks for your journey to prevent inflated airline charges.
•Decant your normal toiletries into small 100ml bottles when travelling hand-luggage only so you don’t pay over the odds for travel-sized versions.
•Use TravelSupermarket’s packing list so you don’t forget a thing and end up paying extra to buy certain items again.
•Whether you’re getting the train to the airport or are travelling around the UK by rail this Easter, be sure to book your tickets online in advance on a site with no booking fees. Even booking the night before you travel could result in savings when compared to buying your tickets on the day. And, whether you’re travelling as a family or could be entitled to a discount as you’re over 60 or aged between 16 and 25, take a look at the railcards that are available to save even more.
Please note: All prices were correct at the time of writing (March 5, 2013)
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