37% of Brits Overspend on Holiday - Here's How to Save on Yours


June 2019

37% of Brits Overspend on Holiday - Here's How to Save on Yours

New research commissioned by MoneyExpert.com has revealed that a large number of British people don’t take enough money with them abroad. 37% of Brits said they overspent on their last holiday. The research also revealed that men are worse at budgeting abroad than women, with 45% saying they ran out of cash on their last holiday compared to just 30% of women.

34% of respondents said they had to rely on their credit card or had to borrow money from friends because they run out of cash abroad. A little under half (46%) said that they were happy to use their credit or debit cards while on holiday, even if they had to pay extra fees to do so. When it comes to exchanging currency, 51% of Brits don’t even look around for the best deal, opting for convenience instead. And the same proportion of people said they had no idea if they were getting a good deal or not with their currency exchange.

However, Brits aren’t so frivolous when it comes to buying travel insurance. 31% of people said they don’t get any travel insurance, even though this can end up costing more if an accident were to happen. Of those that don’t buy travel insurance, 34% think it’s too expensive while 41% think they simply won’t need it.

Read on for our top tips for saving money while on holiday, so you can have the best chance of not running out of cash when you’re abroad this summer.

Be flexible with flights

Buying flights is a funny old business. Prices seem to be changing constantly, and a good deal you find today might not be there tomorrow. Therefore, it’s important to be thorough when comparing flights. Leave yourself plenty of time by booking early, but don’t just go for the cheapest flight you happen to find on the date you want to go. If you can, be flexible about your dates – look to see if there are cheaper deals a few days before or after you’re planning to go.

Pack light

According to our research, 30% of Brits end up paying for excess baggage at the airport before jetting off abroad, at an average of £44 each. Most budget airlines nowadays will limit you to just carry-on luggage and a small, light bag for the hold if you’re lucky. Make sure you carefully read the terms and conditions of any flight before you book one and try to limit your luggage to just the essentials to avoid any unwanted fees before you fly.

Seek out the best exchange rates

More than half of Brits choose convenience over finding the best deal when it comes to exchanging currency, but that doesn’t mean you should too. It’s important to keep up to date with exchange rates as they change daily, but it’s also vital to find the right place to change your money as there can be huge variations depending on who you go to. Look for places offering the highest exchange rates, as you will be the getting the most for your money. Try to avoid currency exchange bureaus in the airport – they usually have much higher commission charges than banks and other currency exchange outlets.

Use a dedicated travel card

While it can be tempting to use your regular credit card or debit card to pay for things and take cash out when you’re on holiday, you will often be hit with extortionate exchange rates. Many banks offer credit cards specifically designed for travel which often come with lower rates. They work just like regular credit or debit cards, and you can use them in most restaurants, hotels and ATMs.

Stay away from tourist traps

Destinations like Venice and Barcelona should be high on everyone’s list of places to visit, but don’t fall into the trap of paying tourist prices. Certain areas of these highly popular destinations are often overbearingly overcrowded with people just like you, looking for that perfect Instagram shot next to the Sagrada Familia. And these places are often filled with tacky souvenir shops and overpriced, sub-par restaurants, all trying to get a piece of the tourist dollar. Visit these world-famous locations by all means, but try to avoid lingering too long. Consider staying and eating a little off the beaten track – you’ll often get a more authentic experience at a much better price.

Eat wisely

Eating out is an important part of a holiday for most of us. After all, holidays are for indulgence and treating ourselves, and who wouldn’t want to go in search of the best pizza Rome has to offer? But if you dine out every day – for breakfast, lunch and dinner – the bills can quickly stack up, especially if you’ve got lots of hungry children to feed. Try to set a budget and stick to it and limit yourself to eating one meal out a day or every other day. You can easily and cheaply buy lunch from the local supermarket unless you’re in the middle of nowhere, and most hotels come with breakfast included in the price of your stay – make sure you wake up early enough to take advantage!

Watch out for roaming charges

Roaming charges have mostly been abolished inside the EU, meaning you can use your phone in most parts of Europe to make calls, send texts and use data just like you would at home. But if you’re travelling further afield, using your phone just like you do here could end up costing you hundreds of pounds, if not thousands. If you’re travelling to the USA, Asia, or anywhere else outside of the EU, make sure you turn your data off before you fly. Make the most of WiFi hotspots, which can be found worldwide in most hotels, restaurants and bars, and use free apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with friends and family back home.

Compare travel insurance

All your careful budgeting and frugal spending can go out the window if an accident were to happen. Whether you fall ill and need to be rushed to hospital, or you lose a valuable item or you’re robbed, misfortune can turn a cheap holiday into an expensive one very quickly if you’re not insured. Although 41% of Brits don’t think they need travel insurance and 34% think it’s too expensive, not taking out a policy can be a costly mistake. Some of the most basic policies for Europe start at under £5, so good deals aren’t hard to find. Compare travel insurance quotes here at MoneyExpert.com to find the best deals.