With the summer holiday season finally in full swing, after a year of planning there’s arguably no greater disappointment than arriving at the airport equipped with your luggage and ready to fly, only to be hit with unforeseen travel expenses that threaten to dampen your trip from the offset. With the average cost of a family holiday now averaging £2,417 and lasting nine days, it seems there’s little financial flexibility for unexpected additional costs.
That’s why in today’s blog post, we’re offering up our top budgeting tips, so you’ll be aware of where added costs could be hidden away and how you can avoid them to help you effectively manage your holiday finances.
Why are there hidden costs?
Although budget airlines may initially seem like the best option when booking flights online, their hidden charges could rank them alongside some of the more expensive airlines by the time you’ve checked in. While it may seem obvious, low budget airlines don’t offer higher-cost features such as built in TV sets or complimentary food and drinks and, as such, are less expensive to run day-to-day.
As a result, budget airlines make their money in different ways by offering customers additional features to build profits. As lower-cost airlines are likely to attract those who are already travelling on a small budget, this suggests that they’ll be less likely to pander to inflight purchases or luxury upgrades. One of the most efficient ways for airlines and airports to ensure they’re reaching their profit margins, therefore, is to attach costs to travel necessities such as seats, hand luggage and food which, in turn, ramps up the costs of a family holiday.
To promote add-on sales, airlines will often create the illusion during the checkout process that customers need to buy in-flight meals. To avoid this, we suggest bringing any snacks or sandwiches in your hand luggage – this will eradicate any temptation to purchase food from the catering trolley onboard. Airlines may also try to encourage purchasing their own travel insurance or buying seats while you’re booking. By researching using comparison sites, you could find a better insurance coverage which also saves you money. Additionally, if you ensure you check in early enough online before you fly, there’s a higher chance of you and being able to sit next to your loved ones on the flight – avoiding those pesky unnecessary costs altogether.
The low-down on luggage fees
While it may seem obvious, the best way to avoid additional baggage fees is to choose an airline that doesn’t charge for hand luggage. However, this is easier said than done when baggage costs are often hidden. So, taking your time to investigate and research unforeseen charges could prove very worthwhile when it comes to keeping travel expenses down in the long-run.
If your chosen airline charges a hand luggage fee but is the most convenient flight for you on the day, ensure you book your baggage when booking your flight ticket as this may save you money by avoiding over-paying at the airport as you check in. If your baggage is a little over the weight allowance, if you pay in advance, agents are much more likely to let you off with a lower payment at the desk.
To cut costs associated with your hold luggage, move clothes from your large suitcase into your carry-on luggage. So long as your hand luggage still fits within the required measurements and doesn’t go over the maximum weight allowance, agents are likely to let you board the plane at no extra cost. With this in mind, make sure you carefully read the terms and conditions, plan exactly what you’ll need on your summer getaway and weigh your luggage before you fly to help you avoid unexpected charges altogether.
Money saving hacks
Ultimately, researching before your flight is the most effective way to avoid hidden costs to ensure you’ll be prepared to meet airline guidelines and stick to your holiday budget. So, before you jet off on your summer break this year, don’t forget to check the small print.
Sometimes, finding cheap flights which fit within your budget means compromising on added extras such as in-flight entertainment systems, which could have made your journey a little bit more comfortable. It can often be difficult to keep children relaxed on a plane, particularly during stressful take-offs and landings. So, to avoid irritable little ones, save on travel expenses by downloading podcasts or movies on online platforms such as Netflix to keep them entertained. Not only will this cut costs of buying entertainment such as magazines or puzzle books at duty free, but it also means you’ll have the freedom to watch your favourite film together, unrestricted.
If you’re a particularly nervous flyer, downloading music or streaming your favourite Netflix series is an effective way to put your mind at ease. This way, you won’t need to fork out extra cash for internet connection that might have added costs onto both your flights there and back.
Ultimately, doing your research before your summer getaway is the best way to avoid unnecessary travel expenses. By reading the small print and thinking ahead, you’ll be on your way to cutting travel expenses like a pro, while also making sticking to your holiday budget much easier.