It's the New Year and time to ring in the changes of how you're going to save your hard-earned cash this year.
Using two of the best money advice pieces that have appeared in the press recently, The Sunday Times and the well-respected Which? magazine (both of which recommended buying iCarhireinsurance.com's car hire excess insurance!), we've compiled the top 10 ways to make your pennies go further:
- It was The Sunday Times' No. 3 Tip but for us it was always going to be Numero Uno:- Buy your car hire excess insurance in advance #buybeforeyouflyAs the Times said: "How many times do we have to say it? Never buy top-up excess cover at the car-rental desk. Buy it online, in advance: iCarhireinsurance.com will cover you for a week in Europe for £20.93, or just £39.99 for a year".We couldn't put it better ourselves.
- Never buy your currency at the airportAccording to the Which? article, ordering money online in advance could save you around £100. It found that buying €1000 at Luton Airport cost £935, but ordering the same amount online with Bestforeignexchange.com cost £835.
- Shop around and haggle hard says Which?Shop around online then call up direct to see whether the hotel or a tour operator can match the price. Ask for some extras thrown in like free wi-fi or breakfast. The Sunday Times also found that calling hotels (don't forget the old blower!) could secure a cheaper deal than the online rates.
- Move your weekend on a dayArriving on a Sunday and leaving on a Monday can snag some great weekend hotel deals. The Sunday Times recommends Malmaison (malmaison.com) and Best Loved Hotels (bestloved.com) for good rates.
- Take a packed lunch<Try to avoid expensive airport and airplane food and take your own for short hops. With Easyjet charging £4.40 for a panini it soon adds up.
- Be flexible with your flightsThe more flexible you can be with your dates and times the cheaper your flight will be. The Sunday Times advises the following three sites for comparing flights - momondo.co.uk (20 days), kayak.co.uk (one month) and skyscanner.com (year). You can also set up price alerts on your destination so you know when the price has fallen.
- Use your phone over free wi-fiA range of apps are available that mean you should be able to avoid high roaming charges on holiday. Using a combination of Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and O2's TuGo means you can plug into the nearest free wi-fi and make calls, send texts, photos and send videos.
- 'Secret' hotelsAccording to Which?, both Lastminute.com and Expedia offer secret hotel deals where you're given the star rating, a rough location and hotel description only. However as the magazine says it's often easy to work out the actually hotel and you can usually bag a much better deal than the hotel wants to advertise publically.
- Bored of hotels? Stay in someone's house or apartment.Use accommodation-booking sites, like Airbnb, Owners Direct or HomeAway, where homeowners let properties to holidaymakers and you could save a ton of money; immerse yourself in the local living; and stay somewhere really memorable. Which? magazine calculated a saving of £143 for a two-night city centre stay when comparing apartments with a similar-sized hotel suite nearby.
- Packages can often be cheaper than just flightsBoth The Sunday Times and Which? found that it didn't always pay to book a flight independently. You could be better off paying for a package and ditching the accommodation.Which? found a flight and hotel package to Orlando, Florida, with seven nights at a two-star hotel for two people for £1063. A Skyscanner search for the same Virgin Atlantic flights, not as part of a package, showed their cheapest price as £1156 for two.