How to save money and travel better on a budget this summer

Travel costs can really add up after you’ve made the initial flight booking, but with a bit of forethought there are ways to keep them down.

First off, be aware of hidden charges (e.g. with airline bookings) and car hire and simple things like packing a sandwich for long journeys can offset the high price of a snack at the airport.

Here are a few simple tips and tricks to ensure you don’t get ripped off when travelling abroad this summer.

Starting with…the airport. Low-cost airlines have to make money and this is often done selling “add ons”.  Is check-in luggage is included in your ticket price – as it will be with a few airlines – or do you have to pay for your big cases separately (and if so, what’s the charge per 18, 20 or 23 kilos?)

The most common charges that can rack up quickly are for luggage, leaving some passengers paying up to £30 to £50 extra per bag if they are even a kilo or two over weight so it is worth investing in a luggage scale to check their weights before arriving at the airport. Similarly, many airlines only allow one piece of hand luggage, so pack ruthlessly and lightly!

Next, unless you’re on a very early morning flight and had no time to make anything in advance, packing a cheese sandwich can save you £5 on an airport version.  If travelling with the family, this adds up multiplied by four or five! Not only will this save money but time, also as there will be no need to line up in long food queues then sit in a rather soul less airport café.

Taxi fares can be alarming, so try and find out what the average cost should be from the airport to your resort, in advance. Have a look at the TripAdvisor forums, for example, which are full of helpful information on local transport and the best taxi or the most cost effective transfer companies to use.

If a taxi pulls up right in front of you at the airport, you’re bound to jump in – especially after a long and gruelling flight. Often, though, we don’t know the area at all well and taxi drivers often take longer, more round about routes without us being any the wiser.

To avoid this classic rip off, do your research before landing. Work out what other locals and tourists typically pay so you know what an appropriate price is. Alternatively, pre-book with a taxi firm and agree on a price – this will prevent you from running up an expensive meter as well as saving both time and money.

On arrival, you may be able to get a few added extras for free – if you don’t ask you don’t get. Resorts sometimes have rooms that have not been booked so why not politely ask for an upgrade? Top tip – tell the hotel if it’s your birthday or anniversary, and this is the reason for your trip.  If they can help, you are more likely to be treated if it is a special circumstance or celebration.

So, to sum up: check the cost of “add ons” when booking your flight, know what the approximate taxi fare would be from the airport to your timeshare resort, and avoid eating out in expensive places en route, which include the airport and on the plane itself.

That way you’ll have more spending money left for sunset cocktails or those afternoon café au laits at the beach.  Bon voyage!

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