Did you know that travel booking tends to peak on Boxing Day? For many of you, the new year can be the perfect time to think about next year’s holidays. If you look in the right places, you can also find some great promotions on offer this time of year, especially if you’re interested in boutique holidays. So, we’ve pulled together a simple guide to help you both save and spend, so you can make the most of your holidays.
“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
1. Set your budget before you start looking
Whether you’re looking to book a few mini-breaks, or you’ve set your heart on a luxury cruise, start by setting a realistic budget for your holiday – and agree on this with your partner! Don’t forget to include enough spending money to cover food, drinks, day trips and any other activities you’re planning. If you’re travelling to an exclusive resort, such as the Caribbean, and you fancy a spot of sea fishing or sailing, activity costs can soon add up. Sometimes you can get more for your money if you book an all-inclusive holiday. This doesn’t need to be based at a resort – this could include an African safari or a specialised tour. Many travel companies now offer tailored, personalised holidays, which include full meals, activities and tours – all you have to do is fly to your destination and everything will be taken care of. This means you don’t have to spend your precious time trying to organise travel itineraries, tours and visas, etc.
2. Check the time of year for your holiday
This is one of the most common mistakes people make when they book a holiday. Carefully check the average weather patterns for the month you’re planning to travel (not just the average temperature). For example, if you’re looking to stay in the Florida Keys, it might be best to avoid August and September as this is hurricane season. If you’re flying to the Southern Hemisphere, remember it’s winter there, while we’re enjoying summer and vice versa, so you may find Bondi Beach a little chilly in August too. Asia is a great destination for winter and summer, depending on which region to travel to. For example, you should experience hot and dry weather in India and Thailand from December to February, but this area can be incredibly humid and wet during our spring and summer. If you’re not tied to the school holidays, you will find the best holiday deals out of term-time – for example, the Mediterranean is still very warm in mid-September, and you will avoid busy tourist periods too.
3. Start your holiday planning as early as possible
Unless you are booking your holiday with an organised travel company, you may find that you need to apply for visas for certain countries. Usually, this needs to be done in advance, so allow plenty of time before your holiday to make sure you have all the documents you need. You can find out whether you need a visa by checking the Foreign Office website, which also gives useful up-to-date travel information too.
Early holiday planning will give you access to better flights and sometimes a better rate on your accommodation. Don’t rely on good deals for last minute flights as you will rarely save any money – you are more likely to spend more on flights as the demand increases nearer your travel dates.
Another benefit of early holiday planning is the fact that you can create a solid savings strategy. If you’re booking up to a year in advance, you might decide to save your money in a tax-free ISA or a high-interest savings account. An obvious benefit here is that your money will be away from your main bank account, so your money won’t be spent on day-to-day things. Or, you might choose to invest some of your savings pot to see if you can get a good return on your money. Please speak to one of our financial planners if you’re looking to review your savings and investment strategy.
Whether you’re planning a boutique hotel break in the UK, or a trek across the tropics, a little extra planning goes a very long way. Combine this with a steady savings strategy and you can sit back and look forward to that dream holiday, free from any stress or worry. Enjoy…
If you would like advice on more strategic ways to save for your holiday, please get in touch with one of our financial planners. We would be happy to help you make the most of your money and your holidays.