Have fun in the sun… but don’t scorch your wallet

Now that travel has opened up again, many of us are looking forward to summer holidays. How do you make sure your spending doesn’t leave you with an all-year headache? Here’s some tips to stay in control…

  • Set a budget. If you’re planning to travel abroad, don’t just think about flights and accommodation. Make a list of all expenses – including transfers, any internal travel, daily spending, food and drink, plus local taxes. Then you can set a realistic budget, enjoy your holiday and not come back to any nasty surprises at the end.
  • Don’t get carried away. When you’re away, it’s easy to get carried away with your spending and forget about the bills you’ll have to pay when you get back. Plan ahead so you don’t end up paying more than you have to for food and activities. Often it is cheaper to book tickets for activities online or buy food for lunch in a local market. Then you can choose where to spend your cash instead of being forced into expensive purchases.
  • Buy insurance. This is never a cost to skimp on – good insurance is essential. It means you won’t end up with unexpected bills if you have an accident or become ill while you’re away, or if cancellations leave you paying for extra travel and hotel costs.
  • Watch out for pickpockets and fraud. Tourists are often prime targets for theft so be prepared. Keep cash, cards and essential travel documents safe and not all in the same place. If you do suffer theft of a card call your bank right away and they will put a stop on the card so a fraudster can’t use it. Setting up internet banking before you go will make it easier to keep track.
  • Take a back-up card. A debit card for another account can be useful, as well as a credit card for emergencies. It’s worth being prepared in case one gets lost, damaged or stolen.
  • Cash – shop around for a good exchange rate and check the cost of withdrawing cash at ATMs when you’re away. Some bank accounts have much cheaper fees than others.
  • Phone – check your phone contract enables you to use your phone abroad and what the roaming charges are for doing so. If it’s not included in your package, turn off mobile data and wait until you have WiFi to post those pictures on social media.

You don’t need to spend big to have a brilliant time. Ask yourself if something is worth getting into debt over.

What if I overspend? Don’t bury your head in the sand if you’ve splurged on holiday and are in financial difficulty. Talk to your lenders and see if you can set up repayment plans, or seek free debt advice if you’re worried about your situation. Stay calm. You will be able to resolve it.