HOW TO DO LONG HAUL HOLIDAYS ON A BUDGET
When we think of long haul holidays, swaying palms that line boutique beachfront hotels, crystal-clear waters teeming with tropical fish, and exotic nights spent dining in fairy-lit alfresco restaurants often spring to mind - along with the repetitive flashing dollar signs that come with it, right? The Caribbean, Mexico and Dubai are among the most popular, and most costly, far-flung destinations on our must-visit list, but budget right and you could be checking-in to cheap long haul holidays without losing out on luxury…
1. BOOK IN ADVANCE
In a similar way to last minute holidays, securing an early bird booking means you can save big on flights and accommodation. Early bookers are more likely to benefit from special offers and schemes such as low deposits, with the final balance being paid between 12 and 4 weeks prior to take off. It also means you’ll have even longer to save for your upcoming holiday, allowing time to budget accordingly so you can have your Pina Colada, and drink it too!
2. DON'T TRAVEL ON A FRIDAY
Just as we advise avoiding peak season where possible, booking your flights on certain days and times of the week will always save you money in comparison to booking on a Friday – when airlines hike prices due to popularity and last minute business traveller bookings. According to our own research, midweek bookings are often popular due to more flights available.
Also if you’re not too finicky about when you fly, securing an overnight flight can help save up to 30% - you may be arriving at your destination in the small hours, but it means less passengers and more chance of hitting the all inclusive breakfast buffet while other guests are still snoozing – a win, win.
3. BOOK INDIVIDUAL STOPOVER FLIGHTS
You may be wondering why you would, (or should), purposely choose to elongate your travel duration by selecting a stopover flight, right? But, hear us out, there’s method to our madness. Travel search engines will spit out the most “convenient” routes that travel to your destination, even when it comes to stopover flights. For example, Dubai is a major stopover destination for many routes between Europe and Asia; on booking, the total flight cost automatically includes the first and second flight out of Dubai, to your final destination. This undoubtedly saves you the time and effort to researching separate connecting flights for yourself. But, if you do have some spare time to research, booking individual flights from London to Dubai, then again from Dubai to Asia, you could save hundreds of pounds in the process!
4. BE WISE WHEN WITHDRAWING
If you’re going all inclusive, withdrawing travel money isn’t so much of a worry – but for those that are staying self-catering or otherwise, being organised in the dollar department is key. Plan ahead and use the help of comparison sites such as Travel Money Max to get the most bang for your buck. If you prefer to withdraw money while on the go, you’ll benefit from a specialist credit card that’s load-free worldwide, so you can swerve the additional transaction charge for overseas cash withdrawals.
5. COMPARE BOARD TYPES
It’s worth calculating the cost of flights and accommodation and comparing whether you’ll make the biggest savings by booking separately, or as part of a package deal. In addition, considering different board options can make a big difference with regards to what you pay. For example, going all inclusive may mean paying more money upfront, however the savings you’ll make on food and drinks costs over the duration of your holiday will far surpass this. If you like to spend more time outside of your hotel exploring the local attractions, restaurants and tours – then self-catering or bed and breakfast accommodation might be your best bet for a budget-friendly break.
6. CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION CAREFULLY
Depending on where you visit, and what the purpose of your visit is, long haul holidays can either be super expensive, or surprisingly affordable. If you’re whisking the kids away to Florida to discover the magic of Disney World, you’ll need to do your research to ensure costs don’t creep up – swap famous on-site hotels and stay in one of our spectacular self-catering villas for less than 350pp (including flights) – ideal for a fun yet frugal 2019 holiday.
Maybe you’re seeking ultimate luxury in the Caribbean? It’s not as expensive as you think when you check out our all inclusive resorts in locations including the Dominican Republic, Cancun and Barbados – crowned earlier this year as the top-rated destination to travel to by the Destination Satisfaction Index.
If you want paradise beaches and exotic rainforests, faraway destinations such as Thailand come up trumps. You may have to spend a little more on flights, however once you touch down on one of the many exotic islands – you’ll find boutique beachfront hotels, sensational street food, local rum cocktails (or should we say, buckets) and more for pennies. If you’re visiting popular destinations such as Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, you can spend as little as $25 USD per day for a week ($1 = 30 baht) including accommodation, local food and drinks.
7. EAT LIKE A LOCAL
If you’re a foodie, one of the best parts of your holiday will be (over) indulging in the local cuisine. From experiencing new flavours, to sampling weird and wonderful dishes – we believe the best way to get stuck into the food scene is by swerving the fancy restaurants and hitting the bustling market stalls and street vendors, instead. If you’re staying all inclusive, again this won’t apply to you, but those self-catering and bed and breakfast-goers can benefit from hitting the supermarket isles and authentic fruit and veg shops for fresh, local ingredients that can be cooked back at your accommodation – instead of buying lunch at a restaurant (which will most likely be accompanied by sides and a cocktail, let’s not deny it). Equally, exploring the street food markets is not only a cost-affective way to eat and drink while you’re away, but is also a great way to discover the local culture.
For more savvy travel tips and tricks, head over to our article on the best airport hacks you need to know before you jump on board!