Esther Shaw

Saving money on holiday costs

By Esther Shaw 15/12/2014

Esther Shaw offers some tips that could help you savce on your holiday costs.

Holidays are likely to make one of the biggest dents in the family finances, but there are plenty of simple steps you can take to ensure you can enjoy a well-deserved break, without breaking the bank.

For many of us, there is little choice but to travel during the school holidays, but this is ‘peak time’ when flight costs are at their highest. That said, you could still save money by looking at flying mid-week rather than on a weekend, or at unsociable times instead. Also see if there are savings to be had by opting for a regional airport rather than Gatwick or Heathrow. The key is to do your homework and be as flexible as possible. Useful sites for comparing flight prices include and

An easy way to save money on airport parking is by booking this in advance. Even greater savings are up for grabs if you use off-site car parks owned by third-party companies. As well as parking, big savings can be made on other extras, such as car hire, by pre-booking online as far ahead as possible. That said, you still need to watch out for extras offered to you at the car hire pick-up desk, such as excess insurance, sat-nav system, car seat and ‘adding an extra driver’, as these can soon drive the price up.

Hotels can be very costly, especially if you’re travelling with children, but there are plenty of websites that list ‘secret’ stays and discounted rooms, so take advantage of these. For example, some hotels fill empty rooms by selling space through sites such as With this site, you can request a rough location, but are essentially ‘booking blind’ and will only find out which hotel you are booked into once you’ve paid up. Another good way to save money on accommodation is by signing up to a house swap. This will take a bit of organising, but should mean you only have to pay for travel.

There are a whole host of property-swapping websites that give you access to a wide range of destinations both at home and abroad in return for a small fee. Useful sites include lovehomeswap.comand As long as you are willing to be flexible, and happy to have lots of communication with the family you’re going to swap with, you should be able to enjoy a great bargain holiday.

With other sites, such as, you can rent a room, apartment – or whole house – in countries worldwide, and enjoy a ‘home from home’ break for far less than the cost of a hotel stay.

Finally, while you might assume a DIY holiday will be the cheapest option, make sure you compare prices with inclusive packages, which include flights, transfers and accommodation, as all-inclusive may not cost quite as much as you think.

To create your own bespoke budgeting plan, head to

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.