Recession-proof your next trip
Even with recession and currency crisis in the news, we're not about to give up next year's holidays just yet. Here are our top tips for recession-proofing your 2023 breaks.
1. Pick the right destination
Yes, the pound is down against the dollar, and yes that makes a trip to the USA (or anywhere else pegged to the dollar) more expensive than last year. The euro, down against the dollar as well, is still stronger than the pound so even a trip to Europe will be a bit pricier than before. So pick accordingly - there are plenty of places where a pound still goes a long way.
Try swapping the Canaries for Senegal or the Costa del Sol for Turkey. See our guide below for some suggestions for affordable destinations.
Swap to a cheaper destination
2. Check all the prices at your destination…
…not just the flights and hotels.
The main expense of any holidy is usually the flight and accommodation - but before you commit to them, check what you're likely to spend when you're there.
One expense that varies a lot by destination is car hire. During the travel lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 hire car fleets got sold off in a lot of places. In some, many still haven't been restocked to meet demand so prices are much higher than they were. If you're planning to hire a car, check what it'll cost you before you book your holiday - and book as early as possible to get the best price.
3. Be flexible
If you're locked into school holidays then it's harder to be flexible (although even then flying Tuesday to Tuesday is often cheaper than starting from a weekend). If you're not, and you want a budget break, head to Skyscanner, stick in a month, search everywhere, and you can have your pick of cheaper destinations.
Dates to book off in 2023
Get ahead of the holiday bookings and get 47 days' holiday for just 19 days' annual leave
4. Book flexibly
Flexibility goes both ways. Getting away for less may mean being flexible on your dates and even destination - but don't forget to book flights, hotels and extras that come with the flexibility to change your mind later.
After the disruptions of 2020 and 2021 most travel companies now offer flexible cancellations - if something goes wrong or changes, you can change your mind and either move to another date or cancel for a refund or a voucher. So make sure that what you're booking really offers that flexibility so if something goes wrong down the line you can change your mind.
Need to go back and make a change? You can with Flextras
5. Book one at a time
A little technical trick here, but useful if you're economising. Plane tickets are normally priced in batches, and if you book multiple tickets at once you might bump them all into the next price bracket. If you book them one at a time, only the ones that trigger the price change will be charged at the higher price.
6. House swap
It's not just you looking to get away for less - people all over the world are feeling the pinch. So rather than pay for hotels or a mark-up and fees to Airbnb, have a look and see whether anyone's interested in a house swap. You'll need to be even more flexible for this to work (and you may need to tidy up a bit before you go!), but you can shave half of your holiday cost off in one go if you're happy to borrow another family's home and lend them yours.
7. Book all-inclusive in advance
If inflation or the price of the pound is your big concern for next year's holiday, you can beat both problems by booking all-inclusive now. Pay in today's pounds for next year's holiday, and no matter whether prices go up or the pound falls against the local currency your holiday will already be locked in.
8. Be smart about your spending
We've all done it. When you get out there, it's easy to treat euros or lire like monopoly money and plurge because you're away.
But being smart about your spending doesn't mean compromising on enjoying your trip. So from setting up price alerts before you go to blagging a free taxi ride off the local pizza delivery place, we've got you covered.
54 money-saving travel tips
Have a better trip for less
9. Don't get stung by the airlines' luggage rules
You're taking a budget break, so you've booked with a budget airline. So far so obvious, and if you do it right you've probably got a good deal.
Unfortunately, we all know that the budget airlines recoup the savings you make on the ticket price by charging you for… well, everything. Sitting together, water, food, bringing luggage, the list goes on. And that's where there's a chance not to get stung. Before you go, make sure you know the luggage rules for the airline you've booked, and pack efficiently enough not to get caught out.
Get the most out of that stingy luggage allowance
10. Use your old Covid vouchers
Pretty much everyone who had a trip booked in 2020 had it cancelled and refunded as a voucher. Before you put your hand in your pocket for a whole new trip - check back through your emails from 2020 and see whether anyone still owes you a holiday! You might be pleasantly surprised.
11. Book your extras early
People wasted £100 million last year driving to the airport and paying for their parking on the day rather than booking in advance. There's savings to be made on airport hotels, lounges, car hire and all the other extras that make a great trip if you book early too - so once you know where you're going, remember to book your airport parking too because it's almost always cheaper the sooner you do.