How to save for a holiday

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Every year we dream of a well-deserved break. If you’re paying for flights or saving for souvenirs, here’s how to get your holiday budget on track.

How much should I budget for a holiday?

Food and drink

Eating out on holiday be expensive. Look at menus and reviews online to help you get a feel for how much meals out may cost. Search for cheap eats and bargain cafes to sample authentic food for less.

Supermarket prices are also worth a look, as it may be cheaper to eat in a couple of times during your stay. 

Remember to budget for tips too – if you’re eating out a lot, these can really add up!


Travel is a big part of your holiday budget and that goes beyond just flights. You may need transfers from the airport and transport for day trips and activities. 

You may be able to save by getting a bus or train from the airport instead of a taxi. Getting to grips with the local public transport can be an easy and cheap way to get around.


If you enjoy skiing in the snow or jet skiing in the sun, activities add an extra cost to your budget. Make a list of everything you’ll want to do when you’re away, including:

  • Day trips.
  • Museum and gallery tickets.
  • Renting bikes or scooters.
  • Events, like sport matches or concerts.
  • Sun loungers and parasols.
  • Tickets for waterparks.
Try searching for the best free things to do in the place you’re visiting for affordable activities. 


Even with all the planning in the world, you may need to budget for overspend. There might be costs you forgot about, or prices may have gone up. It can be a good idea to save another 10-15% of your budget for any overspend.

Once you’ve made a list of all the costs, use our budget calculator to work out how much you’ll need to save each month to afford your trip.

Tips for saving money on a holiday

Be your own tour guide

Could you find your own way around instead of paying for a guided tour? Do your own research, create an itinerary and see the sights your way. Online discussion boards are a great place to find tips and hear about other’s experiences.

Make the best of your budget

Think about the must-haves and the nice-to-haves - do you need the place with the private pool if you’re just next to the beach? 

Could you go self-catering instead of paying to eat out every night? Making small cut-backs can make a real difference to your total holiday cost.

Leave it until the last minute

If you’re happy to hold off making your booking, you could end up with a last minute bargain. Lots of websites specialise in spontaneous getaways, and can reward your risk-taking with lower prices.

Get the right card

Paying by credit or debit card is often the most convenient and safest way to shop. Overseas charges can vary depending on the card you’re using and can sometimes get pricey. Check with your provider beforehand or find a card with no fees for using abroad.

How to save money on flights

A big chunk of your money when planning a holiday goes on flights. There are a few simple ways you may be able get a better deal:

  • Clearing cookies – Booking sites can change the price of your holidays depending on demand. They do this with cookies on your computer to track your activity. This is called as dynamic pricing. Clear your cookies in-between website visits to prevent this.
  • Night-time flights – You could pay up to 30% less by flight later at night. The airport is likely to be much quieter, too. 
  • Book separately – It’s not always the case, but it can be cheaper to book flights and accommodation by themselves. 
  • Check different providers – Always check the price of your hotel and flights at lots of places. You may be surprised at the cost difference for the same flight and room.
  • Choose your dates wisely – Prices surge during school holidays, so if you’re travelling without children, try to avoid them. The exact dates will change each year, but expect prices to be highest in July and August.
  • Measure up – Check luggage weight and size restrictions with your airline before you fly. Make sure your luggage fits the bill to avoid a hefty extra payment at the check-in desk. If it’s a short trip, take only hand luggage.

Savings accounts for a holiday

Instant Access accounts

Instant access accounts are one of the most common forms of savings accounts.

They allow you to deposit money and withdraw whenever you need it. A great option for savers who want flexibility.

Limited Access accounts

As the name suggests, these accounts limit the number of times you can withdraw – typically 1-3 times a year.

While they’re less flexible, you may be rewarded with a higher interest rate. Just make sure you can withdraw in time for your

Regular Savers accounts

The most basic account type which normally requires monthly payments. This is a great incentive to start money-saving habits. 

However, they tend to be closed for a fixed period meaning you can’t access your money for up to 12 months. You’ll have to start the holiday budget early with this account.