The £536.80 holiday mistake millions of us are making

Here's how to make sure you don't ever do it again

Updated: 

head and shoulders of a blond...

As the weather starts to get a little better, for many of us thoughts are beginning to turn to our summer hols.

Revealed: Cheapest holiday destinations 2017

But as exciting as a couple of weeks of sun, sea and sand may be, they can also wreak havoc on your finances.

Research from ATOL, the holiday protection scheme, found that almost two-thirds of us struggle with budgeting when it comes to holidays, with more than one in ten of us failing to keep track of what we spend, risking a shock when the time comes to settle the bill at the end of the trip.

The cost - ATOL's figures show we're underestimating bills by a shocking £536.80 a trip on average.

So what are the big holiday money disasters and how can you protect your cash from them? We take a look at the key areas:

Food and drink

ATOL reckons holidaymakers are most likely to get caught out by having to pay for additional food and drink outside of their booking.

This is an easy one to avoid. First of all check exactly what is included in your booking - your understanding of what's included in a half board package may not be the same as your hotel!

Before you head off, do a little research too on what food costs are like and what restaurants are in the area.

Having a rough idea of where you will be eating each night - and what it is likely to cost - will help you budget for your trip much more effectively.

Spending money

Credits: Getty

Loads of us make a basic - but potentially very costly - mistake with our spending money on our holidays, choosing to withdraw cash from a local ATM.

Doing this means you'll get whacked with additional fees from your bank as well, while you will also suffer from a less than brilliant exchange rate.

Change your money up before you head off on holiday, particularly with an online currency specialist like Travelex or ICE, and you'll get a much better rate.

Alternatively, go with a prepaid currency card from firms like Caxton FX or FairFX - you load the cash on before you head off, and can then withdraw it as you need it, knowing in advance what rate you'll get.

Transport fees

Credits: Getty

The cost of getting to your holiday destination can end up being far higher than you initially expect.

For example, when working out your flight costs don't forget to take into account additional charges like baggage fees or the extra fees for selecting your seats.

Similarly, how are you getting to the airport? If you are driving yourself, then you'll have to stump up for parking which can be seriously expensive.

One way to cut this cost is to check out sites like JustPark and ParkOnMyDrive, which allow people to rent out their driveways to drivers in need. And there are plenty to choose from within a small distance of airports.

Stick to your budget

Before you head off, work out exactly what you can afford to spend. If it helps, turn it into a daily 'allowance'.

And then stick to that budget! It's very easy to get a bit loose with your cash when the sun is shining and you've had a couple of sangrias, but going overboard could cause you some serious financial headaches.

Healthcare

Credits: Getty Imagess

Far too many of us head off on our holiday without any travel insurance in place, which can be a seriously big mistake. We may have a free healthcare service in the UK, but we are the exception rather than the rule - breaking a bone abroad can land you with a big medical bill.

Don't rely on the European Health Insurance Card(EHIC) either - despite the name, it doesn't actually provide insurance, but instead entitles you to the same medical care that local residents enjoy. So if they would have to pay for treatment, you would too.

Head to a price comparison site and take a look at what you can get. Be sure to read the small print too - exactly what is covered will vary between different insurers.

Is your holiday safe?

It's a good idea to check that your holiday is ATOL protected before you hand over your credit card details.

ATOL protects your cash in the event that your travel firm collapses - if you're abroad and they go bust, it will ensure you can finish your holiday and return home, while if the firm goes bust before you leave ATOL will get you a full refund.

Look out for the ATOL logo when booking, or if you are in any doubt use the Check an ATOL database search.

Cheap cruise holidays for 2017

Cheap cruise holidays for 2017


provided by