Holiday Budgeting: How to Avoid Last Minute Surprises

It’s easy to spend more on holiday than you intended to. We jet off with the best intentions of sticking to a strict daily budget, only to spend a fortune before leaving the airport, returning home to a devastated bank balance.

Some might say that it’s all part of the holiday experience and it’s true that an overly regulated vacation isn’t likely to be much fun, but a little bit of common sense and forward planning can be the difference between slightly overspending and digging yourself into a real financial hole.

Your first step should be to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money in the first place. If you’re going somewhere that requires a change of currency, don’t hand over your cash to the first travel agent you come across. Numerous banks and retailers have their own bureau de change, and their exchange rates vary significantly. Take the time to shop around and get the best deal.

It’s all too common for holidaymakers to try to cut corners by ‘taking a risk’ and travelling without insurance. It may be a little irritating to pay for something you might never see the benefit of, but many travel insurance policies protect you from a remarkable number of potentially expensive issues – from lost luggage to medical treatment and transport issues. So it’s well worth investing in.

By the same token, if you’re driving in Europe don’t forget to get car insurance for European travel. Your regular car insurance may well not cover driving outside the UK, so don’t be caught out. If you’re in the market for holiday car insurance, this is another opportunity to shop around for a better deal. For example, if you’re over 50 you may well be able to get better value car insurance by going with an insurance provider like RIAS. They’ll be able to offer cover from their panel of selected insurers, so you get insurance that best reflects your needs. Last but not least – protect your belongings! Stolen money and the stress of replacing a passport can put a real dampener on your trip. Ask if your hotel has a safety deposit option, and take out only what you need for the day. This could also be a good way of encouraging you not to blow your daily budget – and you can always pop back for a top-up if necessary…

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