One of the advantages of owning a timeshare is that the accommodation is paid for upfront, with just meals and travel to pay for before visiting the resort.
But there are other ways of saving on travel expenses this year. Here are twenty ideas to earmark to make sure you’re saving before you go, and while you’re on your holiday.
1. Stick to a budget – Start with a realistic travel budget and make sure you keep to it. If flight prices are an issue, it might be the year to holiday at a timeshare resort in Cornwall, rather than the Caribbean. Prices at a resort in southern France will be more expensive than those in Turkey, so destination choices are a factor, too. Don’t forget to include a little extra for emergencies.
2. Use comparison booking sites – Many airlines and hotels offer discounts and special offers for booking online, while you can also scour the web for promotional codes to drive down prices even further – and use the comparison sites.
3. Consider booking off-season – travelling out of peak times, especially the school holidays, gives you the chance to enjoy the most luxurious of holidays at a friendlier cost and this is very true when it comes to booking timeshare breaks. The more flexible you can be, the better deal you can secure.
4. Track exchange rates – Consider travelling to where your local currency is strong, and always keep your eye on the exchange rates – which can make a significant difference in how much you spend or save, depending on your destination.
5. Self-Catering = savings – Staying in self-catering timeshare apartments means that you can make big cutbacks – cook your own meals, or enjoy al-fresco lunches of baguettes and cheese bought from local supermarkets. Keep that restaurant booking for a special weekend dinner.
6. Pack travel sizes of creams and toiletries – Buying shampoo, body lotions and sunscreen at the resort can be expensive – if you’re only staying for a week, decant your toiletries into travel size containers.
7. Does your bank account offer travel perks? – Many bank accounts offer free travel perks such as travel insurance, fee-free holiday currency and airport parking discounts.
8. Avoid extra luggage check-in costs – Pack as light as you can and check in online before you arrive at the airport to save on higher extra luggage fees. You’ll also save time and can use the baggage drop instead of queuing at check-in.
9. Foreign Currency – Try to avoid buying your currency last-minute at the airport – the exchange rates tend to be lower, so you will get less for your cash. The Post Office offers commission free foreign currency, just make sure you order your currency a few days ahead of time.
10. Make Free Calls – Use Skype instead of being hit by roaming charges. Travel with a tablet or smart phone so that you can make free Skype calls to any family and friends who also have the service.
11. Rent A Car – Taxis are one of the fastest ways to eat into your spending money. Hiring a car on your trip could be miles cheaper than using public transport and taxis, especially if you’re staying off the beaten track and need to drive to the beach every day.
12. Rail Pass – If you’re looking to do some sightseeing away from your resort, why not get a rail pass? If you’ll be staying at a resort on the Eurostar route, book ahead and take a day out to visit a nearby city for some lunch and shopping – it’ll save the cost of an overnight hotel.
13. Ask Your Concierge – The hotel concierge or resort receptionists are usually very knowledgeable about the best places to eat or drink locally and can recommend child-friendly cafes or must-not-miss local highlights.
14. City Tour Buses – If you’re on a city break for a long weekend, you can buy tickets for one of the hop on, hop off city tour buses which are the best way to see a whole city in less than a day – especially if you’re sitting on the top deck and the sun is shining. Dublin has a great tour and the Mallorca sightseeing buses take a detour up into the hills near an old castle. If you’re visiting London from abroad, a city bus tour is an absolute must!
15. People watching – When you’re on holiday, forget the expensive theme parks and grab a coffee and a spot in a park to watch the people go by – there is no better way to learn about your destination’s local culture.
16. Refill Water Bottles – Bottled mineral water can be costly so it’s worth checking whether the local water is safe to drink. If it is, take refillable bottles with you on car journeys and to the beach.
17. Eat Local – As the resort which are the best cheap and cheerful local restaurants or market stalls – not all street food is suspect but don’t take any chances. Three days of Montezeuma’s Revenge in Mexico could ruin your 7-night Mexican Riviera holiday.
18. Ask a Local – If you’re looking for the newest bar in town, the best place for a budget woodfired pizza or the cheapest place to buy flip-flops, ask a local.
19. Hit the markets and haggle – For exciting foods, colourful spices, exotic homeware and great souvenirs, the local markets are a must-visit. Traders will expect you to barter. It can feel uncomfortable but everybody does it and it’s all part of the experience!
20. Pack easy to wash clothes – Sending your clothes to be cleaned by the hotel laundry can add up at the end of two weeks. Save money if you’re taking a summer holiday by packing light, easy to wash, drip dry clothes that feel cool in the heat and need no dry cleaning or special care or ironing – it’s the last thing you want to be doing while on holiday.