Who wouldn't dream of jetting off into the sunset for a well-deserved summer holiday?
The problem for many, however, is sourcing the funds fast enough to make it a reality.
The trusty plastic is probably already maxed out to cover Christmas presents, which means the piggy bank is equally exhausted. So just how can you find the money for a summer trip if you're not someone armed with a disposable income?
It all comes down to research. It also helps if you can plan your trip in advance. This allows you to grab the best deals, work out a payment schedule to cover the costs and, most importantly, save spending money! After all, nobody likes the sting of returning home from a wonderful holiday to a nasty credit card bill.
Related: How to stay out of credit card debt
Do your homework online
In the past, booking a holiday involved scouring the latest brochures and spending excessive amounts of time with travel agents. These days, the internet makes it possible for you to plan your holiday without even leaving your house, and often for much cheaper.
Booming travel sites like Total Travel mean you can secure heavily discounted deals just by booking as early as possible. At this point in time, it's smart to focus on choosing an ideal destination so you can work out a round figure to budget for the trip.
Lay-by your holiday
There are plenty of online travel companies making things easier by offering customers flexible ‘lay-by’ payment options to spread out holiday expenses. Paying off a getaway with weekly or monthly instalments in return for a small deposit is often the difference between being able to afford a luxury holiday over a last-minute budget splash.
Grow your own funds
If lay-by isn't your thing, consider setting up a high-interest online savings account for your holiday funds instead. Arrange for an automatic transfer to be taken out of your wage each week, fortnight or month and watch the savings grow. And if you prefer spur-of-the-moment trips, you can always risk booking accommodation late to take advantage of last-minute online accommodation deals with your savings.
Related: How to snap up a holiday house that pays for itself
Sub-let whilst you're away
One way to help pay for the cost of your trip away is to let your house or unit out to someone else whilst you're gone. If you live in a regional area you'll be surprised to find city slickers who just want to get away. Similarly if you live in the inner city you could find some country folk who'd love a city visit for cheap. Websites like airbnb are a good start for posting your property online to sub-let it whilst you're not there.
Similarly, you could find someone who is willing to sub-let their sea side apartment for a fraction of what you'd pay in a hotel. You could also find someone to house swap with so both parties benefit from a change of scenery whilst paying nothing for accommodation.
Savvy tips to reduce your holiday bill
- Power in numbers: It's much more affordable to split accommodation costs with a group of people. Team up with friends or invite extended family to take the pinch out of a luxury stay. If you don't want to stay in the same apartment or villa, you can still take advantage of group booking rates.
- Destinations matter: Look for a destination outside of the box that's less frequented by tourists, or one with an attractive exchange rate. This will keep food, entertainment and travel costs down.
- Pack essentials: Leave with sunscreen and beach towels already packed so you're not prone to paying a mint in tourist-trap hotspots.
- Reap bonuses: Premium and reward credit card holders may be eligible for free travel insurance or airport transfers, provided they book their trip on credit. Don't forget points to pay for flights.
If you’re keen to build a solid holiday fund for the summer season, you can use Moneyhound’s online comparison tool to search for competitive high rate savings accounts now.
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