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Travel vanWhen times are tough you need a holiday more than ever and getting the most for your money is doubly important. As with most things in life, you pay extra for convenience, but by thinking outside of the box, there are five ways to make your finances, and you, go further.

1. Last minute bookings

The simplest way to get a low price holiday is to leave booking to the last minute, well, eight to ten weeks before you leave at most. 2014 bargain holidays are the way to go for travellers who want to enjoy their vacation to the highest level without breaking the bank. Package holidays are based on bulk bookings of hotels and flights, if there are still vacancies close to the date the holiday companies would rather get something for them, than nothing. The draw backs are that you have to take what is left, and you might have to grab a bargain quickly without doing research.

2. Food

We all have to eat and that can really cut into your budget. The cheapest way is not always to go self catering, where you will pay extra for kitchen facilities and possibly for electricity on top. You can actually get by with just a kettle. There are a range of pot meals that are designed specifically with this in mind, pasta dishes and risottos, and being dehydrated, they are light weight as well, so don’t add too much weight to your suitcase. Couscous is also a good stand by, especially the flavored packets, which avoid the need to buy extra bits.

3. Free entertainment

EntertainmentIf you are travelling with children then keeping them entertained can cost a fortune, especially if the weather is poor. By doing a bit of research on your intended destination you will find plenty to do that will not empty your pocket the way that tourist traps do. Craft centres are often entertaining, somewhere that you can watch the people at work, it might mean that you feel obliged to buy a small piece of their work, but at least you will have a souvenir of your trip, and most have samples at pocket money prices. Attending festivals are also ideal, there are plenty to see and often free fireworks to round off the day.

4. Local travel

Lots of areas have a special day pass for public transport that is excellent value if you are making several trips on the same date. Again, a bit of research will pay dividends; check out traveller reviews about which journeys are the most scenic. If you are visiting London, the No.11 bus route covers most of the same sights as the tour buses, at a tenth of the cost. If public transport is minimal and taxis plentiful try doing a deal for a day rate and get a tour guide thrown in, even if you don’t speak the same language at the beginning of the day, you will be amazed how well you are communicating at the end of it.

5. Avoid budget flight extra costs

There are some amazing deals to be found with budget airlines, especially if you book well ahead; but true cost of your travel could soon escalate as you are charged for every little extra. A single piece of luggage in the hold can more than double costs, but hand luggage is included. Check and double check restrictions on size and weight because if you are the slightest bit over, you will have to pay.

You can wear as many layers as you like to board the plane so do not waste valuable space with jumpers and waterproofs; some people even wear coats with extra pockets stuffed with socks, swimming costumes and wash kits. If you do need a larger bag then pre-book it, you will be charged as much as four times that cost at the airport. Check in online and do not forget to print your boarding pass, which can be done at an internet café for the return flight. You cannot take drinks through the security checks but there is nothing to stop you carrying an empty bottle and filling it up on the other side.

So, with a bit of forward planning you can still enjoy a holiday that will not break the bank. It’s very easy as long as you plan in advance and have a back up. These simple undertaking can go a very long way when it comes having a grand vacation at half the price.

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