With the ongoing global recession, many people feel even short holidays are an extravagance they can’t afford. But city break holidays, offering the chance to get away from it all for a few days, can still be had for cheap. There are ways you can save on holiday accommodations, flights and meals to make your city break holiday affordable — no matter how tight your budget.
Savvy Internet shoppers know how to find flights and hotels cheap online. Wise travellers can discover ways to avoid budget-busting pitfalls, like expensive rooms and sky-high exchange rates.
Save on Accommodations
After flights, accommodations are the most costly part of any holiday. Thankfully, there are several ways you can slash, or even eliminate, accommodations costs.
One way to lower your costs is simply to choose a less costly city to visit. You’ll pay a fraction of the cost for hotels for city breaks in Budapest, Prague, Lisbon or even Berlin compared to the cost of hotel accommodations in more expensive cities. Compare hotel costs in various cities to see what you can realistically afford when you’re researching your ideal trip, such as a Stockholm city break.
Bargain, When Possible
For American destinations especially, haggling can bring deep discounts on hotel rooms — some holidaymakers have saved 60 per cent or more off the advertised price of a room through haggling! It’s worth calling the front desk to ask them what their best price really is — or use the Web to book last minute for the best deals.
Save on Flights
Savvy travellers know how to use the Internet to shop for cheap airfares. If you’re not fussed about where you go, most travel sites allow you to see all flights departing from your city to various destinations on select dates so you can choose the cheapest ones. Otherwise, you’ll get the best deals by booking either very early or very late.
You may be surprised to learn many of the cheapest airfares come with package holiday deals. You can save a bundle on flights to popular holiday destinations by booking a package holiday. For example, if you want a weekend in Ibiza, search for Ibiza city breaks packages and check the cost of the package against the cost of flights. Do the same for any popular destination, like Orlando or Majorca.
Save on Everything Else
Traditional package holidays are now often cheaper than the do-it-yourself version. Consider booking a package holiday; many tour operators are offering no-frills package holidays to destinations like Machu Picchu, where you see the same sights but use local transport and more basic accommodations to cut costs.
If you’re going DIY, you can save money on discretionary costs like food by eating sandwiches or low-cost street food. You cook your own meals in your hotel room’s kitchen, too. If you’re travelling in the European Union, make sure your European Health Insurance Card is valid. Beyond the EU, you may need additional travel insurance to cover any health costs.
If you pay in plastic for purchases abroad, the merchant may ask whether you want to pay in pounds sterling or the local currency. Once it was true that merchants abroad gave better exchange rates than card issuers back home, making it cheaper to pay in pounds. Nowadays the opposite is true; you’ll almost always get a better exchange rate from your card issuer than from a foreign merchant. Thus, always choose to pay in the local currency to save on currency exchange. The exception to this is if the merchant offers an exchange rate fee under 2.5 per cent. If so, it is probably cheaper to pay in pounds.
You may be on a strict budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your holidays. Using these tips, even the most budget-conscious traveller can have a marvellous city break holiday without breaking the bank.
About the Author: Contributing blogger Nigella Odd loves finding new ways to save on holiday costs. For Nigella, scoring bargains on holiday packages, accommodations and flights is almost exciting as going on actual holiday!