With the Easter school holidays coming up, I thought I would share my tips on easy ways to save money on peak season vacations, both for Easter, but also for trips that you might want to take in the summer, or even at Christmas – It is never too early to plan.
1. Plan & Book In Advance
Start planning a year ahead and book your flights as soon as they are released. As an example, I was planning to travel to Lisbon for the summer half term and when I looked into flights, 2 months in advance, the price for an easyJet flight from London to Lisbon came to over £1000 for 3 of us return, with no baggage. If we had booked this when the flights were released the cost would have been £130 for the 3 of us return without luggage.
2. Pack light
Following on from point 1. and this tip is particularly relevant if you are booking with low-cost airlines. Luggage often costs as much as the seats. Buy a cabin baggage size bag, fill it up and try to travel without hold baggage. If you have to travel with hold baggage, then try and combine bags. For us, 3 people get 3 cabin bags and we feel we need 2 hold bags which means we don’t need to pay for a 3rd hold bag.
3. Collect Airmiles On Groceries And Credit Cards
Whichever airline you use to travel with, try to collect their air miles via credit cards and grocery shops.
4. Join Hotel Loyalty Programs
Joining a hotel loyalty program is one of the easiest ways to get free nights or free upgrades at luxury hotels. By collecting points on the loyalty programs of Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and IHG hotels you can get free stays. I have also reviewed how to get free nights with Leading Hotels Of the World Standard and Unlimited membership.
5. Collect Hotel Loyalty Points On Groceries And Credit Cards
Find out how and why I collect SPG (Sheraton points) to stay at the fabulous JW Marriott in Venice.
6. Take advantage of Insider Rates
A good example of this is the IHG Rewards Club ‘Friends & Family’ rates which I have reviewed, which enable you to book Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Indigo, InterContinental, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites hotels at a discounted rate, usually around 15% less than the cheapest rates online.
7. Don’t Over Pay Your Bank Or Credit Card For Currency Conversions
Be careful when using credit cards abroad. Most charge 3% on each transaction. If you are based in the UK, a Curve card can save you significant money when spending abroad. It charges the MasterCard rate + 1% when spending on items abroad, compared with the 3% charged by most credit and debit cards.
You can also get £5 free when you apply for their free card with my referral code NRJWI. Read about why £5 FREE + Cashback + Credit Card Points makes the Curve Card worth applying for. You also get 1.5-3% cashback on spent at Marriott hotels.
I also collect Avios with the Lloyds TSB credit card which charges even less on purchases abroad, as it does not charge foreign transaction fees.
8. Give Up The Private Swimming Pool
Private pools add a huge amount to the cost of a villa. Book a villa near a beach or in a complex with a shared pool and you can still swim without the stay breaking the bank.
9. Opt For An Unusual Destination
The standard summer destinations; Florida, Spain, California, Cote D’Azur are all very nice but that’s where everyone wants to go. I write this piece from the superb Das Central in Solden, Austria. It is an amazing hotel with a super pool, terraces bathed in sunshine, mindblowing mountain views, incredible food and no end of activities. Try white water rafting, kayaking on the nearby lake (pictured above), downhill mountain biking (some of the best in Europe), unlimited mountain trails for hiking, local play parks and then rest in the great bars in Solden. Best of all, the prices are around half of the ski season prices starting at 502€ for 4 nights and you get all the benefits of staying in a gorgeous 5 * hotel.
10. Be Flexible And Take Advantage Of Flash Sales And Travel Auctions
If you are flexible, you can take advantage of special offers when they come up. Keep an eye on hotel websites for flash sales. We also have our own Luxury Travel Auction that auctions one-off stays at luxury hotels with no reserves and prices starting at £0.99 ($1.25).
You should also read my guide on how to travel in luxury on the cheap which gives, even more, tips on saving money on your next luxury trip away.
Disclosure: Most of our property, service & product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced by any sponsor.