How can I afford a holiday?

Can't afford to go on holiday this year? Follow our holiday savings tips and you may be surprised.

passport and money

Saving a little can go a long way

Open a savings account

Start a savings account, which is less flexible than a current account, but better for savings (obvs!). Withdrawals might be limited and you won’t have an overdraft facility, but this should stop you dipping into it whenever you fancy. You’ll get a bit more interest too, but that probably won’t make a massive difference at the moment since rates are generally so low.

Work out the minimum you would need for your holiday and how much luxury extras would cost (Don’t forget travel insurance, getting to and from airports, local travel restrictions, things you need before you go, accommodation, transport, food, drink and spending money). Work out how much you need to save every week, and stick it in the account!

How to spend less

Work out a budget to see how much you can comfortably afford to put aside from your pay each week/month, and get saving. If the amount is tiny, think whether there is a way to cut down your current outgoings so that you can increase the payments into your holiday fund.

Once you’ve worked out your budget, stick to it. Take seven days’ worth of money out as cash at the beginning of the week, and don’t spend any more. No takeaways, eBay surfing or spontaneous trips to the cashpoint, and never, ever go shopping if you are hungry, drunk, or stoned. If you’re all three and you happen to be reading this in a department store right now, this must be a sign. Get out of there!

How to earn more

Work a couple of extra shifts or get a part-time job and put that money entirely into your savings account. Don’t exhaust yourself though, otherwise the whole holiday will be spent recovering rather than enjoying yourself. Try to go for a job that allows you freebies or discounts either for going out or for luxuries like music and clothes. Here are some miscellaneous how to save for a holiday tips:

  • Have a clear out and sell all your ‘junk’ at a car boot or garage sale;
  • Take your own lunch and snacks to college or work rather than shelling out each day;
  • Get free haircuts from trainees. Ask around for where to go;
  • Get free condoms from your nearest sexual health clinic or GP;
  • Walk everywhere (saves cash and gets you fit);
  • Don’t use cash machines that charge you;
  • If you don’t have one, ask to use a mate’s washing machine rather than the launderette;
  • Use a clothes horse and radiators rather than a tumble dryer;
  • Don’t take your credit card or debit card to the pub, or anywhere else if you can avoid it;
  • Quit smoking, or switch to rolling tobacco.

Have one good night out a week/fortnight rather than lots of OK ones, or don’t drink alcohol and/or eat out every time you go out. This will save you a fortune if you can keep it up. If not, learn to blag. For longer trips (three months to a year) consider applying to trusts and organising some fundraising events.

Find a good bargain

Finally, finding a reasonably priced holiday is obviously going to be a big help, too. This starts with your chosen method of transport. Would it be feasible to get a coach and/or boat for a drastically reduced price compared to flying? If flying is a must, don’t just Google ‘cheap flights,’ but instead browse a price comparison website like Skyscanner.

If you don’t mind foregoing the old hotel star rating, maybe book a hostel instead? Make sure you check out the reviews, but this can be a great way of meeting fun people (IMPORTANT: definitely don’t watch the 2005 film ‘Hostel’ before you go. In fact, don’t watch any Eli Roth films pre-holiday. Sorry, Eli).

If you’re travelling with friends, look for group booking discounts. It’s certainly worth noting that some package holidays can be a lot cheaper than trips where transport and accommodation are bought and paid for separately.

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Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 27-Jun-2021