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Genius holiday hack guide to avoid tourist traps while away

Jul 25, 2019

From sun screen to ice cream, going on holiday can be a pricey business.

So it’s no surprise a survey has found two-thirds of families felt ripped off on their last trip abroad.

But fear not, our essential holi­­day anti-rip-off guide is here to help your finances and stop you falling in to any tourist traps…

Travel Money

Get an overseas credit card

Steve Nowottny at MoneySavingExpert.com says: “It means you’ll get an almost-perfect exchange rate.

“We recommend the Halifax Clarity or Tandem credit cards. But remember to always pay them off in full.”

Try to exchange cash in advance

Steve says: “Never exchange it at the airport. Even if you’ve completely forgotten until you’re in the car on your way there, it’s best to order the money online ready for collection.”


Think flexi

Flight cost during school holidays can be extortionate. But there’s a way round it.

Steve says: “If you buy a flexi fare with EasyJet you can rearrange the date of your flight by a few weeks without extra charge – meaning you can buy a term-time flight and exchange it to go in the holidays.

“It can be more expensive than a normal ticket but if the price is right then you can save a lot of money. I recently saved £430.”

Watch out for extras

From additional luggage to reserved seats. Steve says: “Don’t pay to sit next to friends or family. On all airlines – apart from Ryanair – you can usually sit next to each other for free if you check in early.”

Make the most of stopovers

It could be your chance to enjoy a mini break in another country.

Steve says: “A lot of airlines will pay for your accommodation is you have a stopover. My colleague flew back from New Zealand and got two free hotel stays in China!

Bring your own water

Steve says: “Don’t shell out for expensive airport water. Take an empty bottle through security and most airports will have fountains where you can fill it for free.”

Change where you fly

You may live near Heathrow but you could save thousands flying from Scotland.

Steve says: “Pupils there finish their break in August, so prices drop then.”



Go for a package deal

Steve says: “They may seem like a flashback from the 70s, but they can be very keenly priced.

“They have lots to sell and discount them heavily as a result.

“You can sometimes get a full holiday cheaper than if you just bought the flights on their own.”

Cancel your stay

Booking a hotel with free cancellations can have huge benefits.

Steve says: “Keep an eye on the hotel prices before your free cancellation expires because rooms sometimes become a lot cheaper.

If this is the case, you can cancel your original booking and get it for a much better price. You can do the same with car hire.”

Think big

If you’re going with a family or a group, self-catering is the way. Steve says: “With a villa you don’t have the costs of eating out. If you’re going in school holidays, prices don’t in­­­crease as much as hotels.”

When you get there

Plan in advance

Being spontaneous may seem romantic but it can cost you.

Steve says: “If there’s something you want to do, check if there’s an excursion through the operator you’re using. Theme parks and water parks also sometimes have deals when you buy tickets in advance.”

Tips for tips

It seems rude not to but different countries have different rules.

Steve advises: “Get some local knowledge and understand what tips are expected in different countries – you might be paying too much.”

Be careful about car rental

Steve says: “We often get pressured into paying excess insurance. But you can buy this independently for around £2 a day before you leave – saving you around £25.

What to take

Turn your sun­­cream containers sunny side up

It’s not always necessary to buy new suncream every time you go on holiday.

Steve explains: “If you turn your suncream bottle upside down there will be a ‘period after opening’ number on the bottom which gives you a rough idea of the expiry date.”

High price doesn’t mean high quality

Shopping around can really pay off. Steve says: “Some sun creams cost £20 but you can find the same products for £1 if you ignore the packaging and marketing.

“You just need to check that they have the right SPF and UVA.”

Don’t bulk up

It can be tempting to take everything but the kitchen sink on holiday.

However, this can cost a lot in extra baggage charges.

Steve says: “Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy things when you’re out there. For example, if you are travelling with a young child then don’t take nappies.

“They take up a lot of space and you won’t be bringing them back with you. Just take a few and buy the rest out there.”

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