With a little knowhow, you can make significant holiday savings. We asked more than 1,000 of you to share your holiday money-saving tips and we tested the best ones and added lots of our own.
The full article, in which we saved a total of £2,472, can be seen in the January issue of Which? Travel. Here are the highlights.
The ‘return-empty’ car hire scam – save £26
When car hire companies give you a fully-fuelled car and ask you to bring it back empty, it rarely offers good value. You’ll be charged for a full tank of fuel, often at inflated prices, and there are no refunds for unused petrol – yet nearly everyone who takes this option returns with fuel in the tank.
One member told us that Goldcar presented them with a fuel invoice for £64, but the local cost of a full tank was just £38. A full-full policy would have saved them £26 assuming they were able to use a full tank – which is unlikely.
We estimate that someone hiring a Fiat 500 would need to drive 550 miles to empty the tank. In Malta that’s enough to drive from one end of the island to the other 25 times.
Car hire – find out the best and worst companies and brokers to book with
Don’t fly on a Saturday – save £80
You can make a big saving by flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday – the cheapest days of the week to travel.
For example, flying on a Tuesday from London to Cape Town costs an average of £917, whereas flying on a Saturday costs £997.
Airlines – find out which airlines to fly with and which ones to avoid
Travel insurance inflation – save £117
Never buy your travel insurance from a travel agent – it could cost you dearly.
For example, a Which? Best Rate travel insurance policy from Multitrip, covering a 24-day trip to America for a 65-year old, costs just £39. An equivalent policy from Thomas Cook will set you back £156 (£117 more).
Travel insurance – find the Best Rate single-trip travel insurance policies
Haggle for holidays – save £150
Haggling may not feel very British, but it gets results. Shop around online for the best deal, then get on the phone to see if the tour operator will beat it. Even if they only match the price, they may well throw in extras, such as free breakfast or wifi.
In our haggling investigation we found that, on average, using this tactic saved £150 on a summer holiday for a family of four.
Holiday companies – discover the best and worst tour operators to book with
Train ticket splitting – save £25
Slash ticket costs by splitting your ticket (buying two or more tickets to cover one journey).
We found an advance single from Derby to Plymouth for £109, but when we ‘split the ticket’ at Cheltenham Spa (by buying one Derby to Cheltenham ticket and one Cheltenham to Plymouth ticket), it was only £84.
UK train companies – find out the best and worst
- Cruise companies – find out how the cruise companies are rated
- Best cities in Europe – which ones offer the best value for money
- UK self-catering accommodation – Cottage rental companies rated