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We all love the holidays, but don’t you think that it is a bit odd that we save for such a long period in advance of the holiday and then blow away these savings in such a short space of time?  These Five Ways to Save tips will make the holiday just as enjoyable for less money spent and some added security.

1.    Plan your trip

For the long haul trips good planning goes a long way (no pun intended). There are now no excuses with websites dedicated for the planning of each element of the trip. Part of the planning should include setting the full expected cost of the holiday, or otherwise that good holiday feeling will soon be lost when the credit card bills come rolling in. A good way to plan is make a list, include the costs and tick them off when you have them covered.

2.    Limit your time at work

Interesting how many people feel they ‘need a short holiday’ as they have become so stressed and tired from their day job. A whole new industry of ‘spas’ and ‘healthy retreats’ has blossomed due to the need of so many people needing to get away from their work. These type of breaks are often very short but expensive as the hotels, spas and retreats take advantage of your impulsive behaviour by offering a quick fix.

If you regulalry take these short holidays, ask yourself why? It could well be time to re-prioritise your work habits.

3.    Keep an eye out for the airline specials

Big savings can be made with airline special rates. You may be aware that the cost of sending a plane from A to B is much the same, whether it is full or empty and this is why airlines have so many specials. Even if they offer some remaining seats at less than half price to fill up the plane, the money raised through these specials goes straight to the bottom line compared to not selling the seats. The good news is, you get treated the same as all other passengers. 

You can follow airlines via the web and signing up for emails. Getting friendly with a few travel agents will also help your chances of finding cheaper flights.

4.    Research foreign currency options

Banks make it easy for you to use your transaction bank card overseas, but have you taken a good look as to how they charge for foreign currency transactions? Using a bank card overseas is normally very costly due to a combination of fees and the banks charging you ‘retail’ currency rates that are much less than the wholesale rates that are shown on the finance reports at night. Options to consider include:

  • Transfer funds in advance to a friend or relative (someone you can trust). Doing it in bulk via your bank or an international forgein exchange specialist is often cheaper as you get a better exchange rate
  • Consider using only your credit card and transfer funds between your accounts to pay off the credit card ASAP via the net while on holiday. Major credit cards are usually transacted at better exchange rates than the standard bank card. You can compare rates quite easily over the net with your bank or walk into a branch and ask for the rates and fees
  • Take some forgein cash with you. There are limits but depending on where you are going, cash is a great ‘negotiating tool’.

5.    Protect the holiday

Make sure that you have good travel insurance. Best to have a solid company with many years of experience. There are numerous websites that specialise in travel insurance. You can also look to protect your foreign currency; you can still buy travellers cheques and now you can also get traveller debit cards. These cards allow you to put funds into a separate account in the currency applicable to the country that you will be visiting. If the card is stolen or lost, it can be refunded quickly. Your bank should help you.

If you are a frequent flyer you should consider seeking a credit card that has travel insurance attached (See  Five Ways to Save – Credit Cards).

Have a mobile phone handy. These can be expensive to take overseas but you can buy an international SIM card, or simply buy a cheap phone package when you get to the your destination. A mobile phone can get you out of all sorts of difficulties.

Be careful at the tourist traps. There are seasoned professional thieves out there ready to pounce on tired and unsuspecting tourists like yourself. Take advantage of hotel security safes particularly for your passports and other essential papers. Only keep one credit card with some little cash when you’re out and about, keep another card separate for emergencies.

A quick tip regarding your paperwork, upload as much as you can to a portable email address such as Hotmail or Gmail. Scan your passport and email to yourself. This way you’ll always have access to important papers.

Oh, don’t forget, enjoy the trip or otherwise it would have been a complete waste of your savings!

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