Saving money while you’re on holiday

  • Make serious savings on eating out and getting around
  • What do holidays around the world actually cost? Find out with our travel costs barometer

Holidays are chock full of loads of extra costs – if you’re not careful, you could find yourself going over budget

But it’s not all about penny-pinching, either – you’ll never have a good time if you’re worrying about how much everything costs.

That’s why we’ve brought you these sensible money saving tips to make sure that your holiday is both fun and affordable.

Eat like a local

Restaurants and cafés in tourist areas are notoriously expensive, so stay off the main drag when you’re hungry. You’ll find the food is cheaper (and quite possibly more enjoyable) if you walk five minutes around the corner to a corner café or bistro full of locals. In many places, local and street food is one of the main attractions. If you’re not sure where to try, find a review website like TripAdvisor and look up restaurants online.

Buy food from the local supermarket

Even if you’re on a catered holiday, it doesn’t hurt to stock up on the essentials – like bottles of water for when you’re out and about.

When you arrive at the hotel, ask where the nearest big supermarket is – it’s probably going to be a lot cheaper than a shop located in the middle of a tourist hotspot.

Enjoy the odd packed lunch

Eating lunch at a café every lunchtime may be delicious, but the cost will add up

Make your own lunches with food bought at a local supermarket, eat them on the go, and notice how much you’re saving. You’ll be able to enjoy that fancy, three-course meal in the evening absolutely guilt free.

Resist the minibar

Food and drink from the hotel minibar regularly costs several times what local shops charge – so say no to temptation.

If you’re absolutely gasping for a drink and don’t want to step outside your hotel, consider nipping downstairs to the hotel bar or café (if it has one). You’ll probably find that food and drink there is still quite a bit cheaper than the minibar.

Ask for tap water when you’re eating out

When you’re at a restaurant, asking for water with your meal will usually mean having to pay for a bottle of mineral water. To avoid paying for that, just ask for a glass of tap water.

If the restaurant insists on serving you bottled water, don’t let it ruin your meal – but remember not to go back. Tap water is safe to drink in many parts of the world but if in doubt, check the FCO’s travel advice for your destination

Know how much to tip

Find out exactly how much it’s polite to tip in the country you’re visiting, and stick to it.
While it’s tempting to be generous while you’re on holiday – especially when you’re using unfamiliar money – those lavish tips will soon add up. You’ll regret them when you’re about to buy a drink for the flight home, and realise you’ve tipped the last of your change to the taxi driver.

Take public transport

Taxis can cost quite a lot of money, especially when you’re travelling in tourist hotspots. Research public transport before you go, and find out how well connected your hotel is.
If you’re going to be taking a lot of trains or buses, you may be able to cover all your travel expenses in one go with a daily or a weekly travel card. Find out what’s available near you. For example, the Paris Metro offers weekly passes for central Paris for just over €20.
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