As the vaccine rollouts continue and restrictions look set to (hopefully!) ease, we’re eager to book getaways again.
Debit card figures from Lloyds Bank customers show there’s recently been a jump in spending on holidays.
It’s important to bear in mind there are still risks to booking holidays as the pandemic remains with us, and while making plans for getaways is exciting, there are no guarantees about exactly what will happen in the future.
Even as restrictions are gradually lifted, it’s vital to make sure you understand what will happen to the money you’ve paid if something doesn’t go to plan.
Prices may also be more expensive in some destinations this year. A recent investigation by consumer group Which ? found that holiday let prices in some popular UK destinations had increased compared with last summer.
Bearing current uncertainties in mind, if you are considering booking a UK break for later in the year, here are some tips from TopCashback’s Elle McAtamney…
1. Consider swapping locations
There are many reasons why tourists flock to popular destinations. But if you’re looking to keep your trip as cheap as possible, it’s worth doing some research into alternative options, rather than defaulting to more expensive well-knowns.
Choosing somewhere ‘off the beaten track’ can potentially mean big savings. Remember that you might not need to travel a great distance to guarantee a nice break either. You might want to check close to home in the first instance, before looking further afield.
2. Keep fuel costs down
Going on a road trip? Websites such as PetrolPrices.com and Confused.com help people compare petrol station prices. You could also make the most of loyalty schemes such as Nectar and Tesco Clubcard.
For train journeys, there are also websites such as Split My Fare (splitmyfare.co.uk), which helps people save money on tickets.
3. Think outside the usual accommodation box
Self-catering holiday rentals and caravans may be relatively easy to book. But as the restrictions ease, it may also be fun to hire a beach hut, which can be done through websites such as beachhuts.com.
Some beach huts are kitted out to enable overnight stays. Really keeping costs down? You could plan to camp in a farmer’s field for a relatively cheap price.
4. Ensure you insure
Even if you are looking to stay on UK soil, with so much uncertainty still around, it doesn’t mean your plans are exempt from being cancelled or affected in some other way. That’s why it’s important to investigate holiday insurance options, and check what policies will or will not cover, as well as checking the small print of providers’ cancellation policies.
Many policies have coronavirus exclusions. Also establish whether the holiday provider has a flexible policy and will offer full cash refunds, or the ability to re-book without incurring extra fees.
5. Plan activities in advance
If you plan out what you want to do in advance, you may increase opportunities to make some decent savings. Even better if you can work out the cost per person, per activity. For example, you are thinking of doing more than one UK break this year, you might be better buying an annual pass or membership with organisations such as the National Trust.
Booking through websites such as TopCashback can also mean you get cashback on accommodation bookings and holiday insurance.
Watch out for scams..
As well as these tips, keep in mind that Action Fraud is warning people looking to make holiday bookings this year to watch out for scams. The UK’s reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime and Abta, the Travel Association, are reminding the public to think twice before handing over their money and personal information.
Remember, holiday fraud can vary from fake accommodation listings advertising hotels and self-catering properties that simply don’t exist, to ‘too good to be true’ offers, with flights being particularly targeted.
Criminals can approach their victims over the phone, via text, email and social media, offering temptingly cheap deals to encourage people into booking a holiday with them. But in reality, the holiday that’s been booked, or parts of it, doesn’t exist.
To help you stay safe, Action Fraud suggests doing a thorough online search on the holiday company, including any reviews, checking whether the company is an Abta member and being wary of companies that don’t provide paperwork.
Paying by credit card can give people added protections if something goes wrong, and Action Fraud says people should be wary about paying money directly into someone else’s bank account.