Holiday Ideas to Beat the Credit Crunch by:Clive Wilmer
We are going to consider some holiday ideas to beat the credit crunch
, because despite the economic gloom (research from Sainsbury's Travel Insurance reveals) nearly 28 per cent of the adult population intend to book a holiday between Christmas and the end of February 2009. Even for those of us on a miniscule budget there are still ways to get away, but you have to be that bit more canny and flexible.
First principle is decide on a budget and stick to it. First get an overall budget that you want to spend by the time your back. There are so many ways to do travel: packages, all inclusive, no board, full board, separate flights and accommodation and types of holiday too many to mention in one place that this is the only way to make some rational choices where cost is a driving factor. Once you have an overall budget then break it down, for example:
> Flights (& airport taxes + supplements) or ferries
> Airport parking or transfers or airport hotel
> Food & drink (don't forget with the fall in Sterling these are going to be 25%-30% up on last year - take the upper figure as it may slide more)
> Recreation and trips (car hire)
> Souvenirs + duty free
> Travel insurance
> New clothes or other essential to buy before you go - sunscreen
> Hidden charges and extras
This will help you compare radically different types of holidays and force you to think about the total cost of different options.
It is also worth pointing out: don't assume there will be better bargains later. I haven't heard any tour operator crowing about how well bookings are holding up in the current conditions. This may mean that sphincters are starting to twitch and they want to fill some places now to avoid a huge glut of unsold holidays later. They will also have taken out some capacity, and things could still be busy at peak times. So start hunting now there are plenty of bargains.
Holiday Bargain Ideas
There are obvious ways of saving money on going away - such as going for less time or downgrading - but why compromise when you can try and get a bargain. In these times haggling is the new black so bear in mind people will expect to negotiate and that makes it easier.
Therefore if you are booking accommodation - haggle. Go online get a price then try a phone call to the hotel. Even if they will not drop their rate will see if you can get an upgrade . they may chuck in breakfast or some other goodies. Ask about transfers to/from the airport?
Big Tip: from first hand experience. Don't make the mistake of concentrating on only one element such as accommodation. We looked at loads of villas, found one we liked on an island we liked and booked it. Then we looked for flights - these were eye wateringingly expensive, even on a budget carrier. Especially true at peak times. It more than wiped out any saving we'd have from doing a package. The same goes in reverse, just because there are cheap flights don't assume you can go and find cheap accommodation. However as a rule of thumb the price of flights goes up nearer to the time of the flight and the price of accommodation goes down, so if you are going to bet then book flights first!
Holiday ideas - Think laterally
Instead of going with a big operator - look out for villas or holiday cottages advertised locally - by the owner. The price to you is going to be lower where you are not paying for the profit margin and marketing of a big operator. Bear in mind however there are more risks - you will have to pay in cash and have much less comeback if anything is wrong. A friend got an excellent villa in Florida for his extended family from an ad in the local free magazine, just down the road from Disney and it all went without a hitch. Also look out for adverts on noticeboards or on the intranet at work.
Major crunch busting holiday ideas
With the pound plummeting and many more out of work or feeling vulnerable this could be an excellent time to find out the delights of staying in Britain and Ireland
It could be a really good year to acquaint the kids with camping. Its adventurous and fun and the kids get into it really easily. We've already been out and bought a tent at the end of last season and some sleeping bags so we were able to get a really good bargain. The two kids are always talking about when are we going to go camping. With air mattresses to cushion the old bones you don't need to suffer (too much). You can always start gently with a long weekend away.
This could be a chance to pass on all those camping skills you learnt in the scouts or guides. Even if you didn't (learn any), The Adventure book for boys (and girls) is all the rage now.
If you have slightly older children another major crunch busting idea is cycling or walking holiday. Don't laugh its not as daft as it seems. The Youth hostel Association (http://www.YHA.org.uk
) runs hundreds of establishment all over the country (250 locations in the UK alone) but especially in our National Parks (but also Cities). My wife thought that these were just for youths, but that isn't true. Anyone can join for a modest annual outlay (22.95 will cover 2 adults and all children at the same address) and the accommodation is cheap, clean and generally everyone is very friendly. It is a great experience for kids. If you are forever moaning that your teenage kids never get out and do any exercise then don't dismiss these they can be great family oriented holidays. Let the kids plan some of the outing and even navigate - a great way to learn these skills
If you still want to go abroad the International YHA has over 4000 establishments at exceptionally good value for money prices and your UK membership will cover you for these too.
Fix your holiday Outlay before you go.
One of the best ways of keeping to a budget is to know exactly what all you main outlays are going to be up front. Therefore from this point of view an all inclusive or full board holiday is a really good bet. This also removes the exchange rate risk from you and puts it with your tour operator. Generally speaking when booked as a package you will get a really good deal and it should be impossible to come near it by going out locally. It has the potential downside that hotel catering may not be as good as you would wish or that there aren't enough restaurants on the complex, or sufficient variety in the menu. However, most hotels/operators will bend over backwards to please if you have specific requests and you will have saved so much that you could still go out to eat a couple of times.
Save money on Food/ dining
If you don't go all inclusive or full board you can save money by not eating at a restaurant at lunchtime. Take a cheap pic-nique set (plastic plates and glasses don't weigh much if you're flying) and buy stuff from supermarkets . If you like a glass of wine (or two) it also means you can buy a bottle or two for the evening and have something handy to drink from.
About the author
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