No matter how satisfied you are with your home life or your job, most people need a holiday every now and then in order to get a change of scene. Many people who don’t go on holiday very often are under the impression that a trip abroad always has to be expensive. When you factor in the costs of flights, accommodation, food and all the other, smaller things, budgeting for a holiday can become frustrating. In spite of this, a little research can go a long way towards planning a cheaper, yet still highly enjoyable and much-needed holiday. Consider the following tips when planning your next holiday with a tighter budget in mind.

Setting Your Budget

If going on holiday means coming home under the shadow of some enormous debt, all of the advantages of having a break are negated. Set yourself a realistic budget to begin with and work with your plan from there. Consider how much money you have saved up and decide carefully on how much you can afford to spend without resorting to credit card spending or other forms of borrowing. Once you have determined how much you have available to spend, you can start thinking about planning your itinerary.

Choosing Your Destination

One of the biggest influences on the cost of a holiday is the destination that you choose. Perhaps you have your heart set on a week in Paris, for example. However, if your budget is not particularly high, you might have to compromise and go somewhere else. The world is a huge and diverse place and focussing on a specific area too much often leads to an expensive disappointment anyway. If a city break is what you want, you will find prices in Prague much more attractive than in Paris or London, for example. If sun, sea and sand is what you are looking for, then why not try Croatia instead of the Algarve? With a little research, you can get a rough idea of the average expenses in almost every country and major city around the world.

Planning Your Itinerary

While a little spontaneity often makes for a more interesting holiday, having a solid itinerary make it much less likely that you will end up going over budget. If possible, try setting a budget for each day taking into account things such as car hire, day trips, eating out and sightseeing. Choosing when to go on holiday is also an important factor. If possible, you should travel off-season since prices for accommodation, flights and attractions tend to be much lower. Other effective ways to cut costs include travelling with a larger group of people to take advantage of group discounts and seeking out free or discounted attractions and activities.

Spending Less on Transport

International flights are typically a major expense on any holiday, particularly if your destination is intercontinental or not served by the budget airlines. Travelling by plane within Europe can be extremely cheap thanks to budget airlines such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Wizzair. The following tips will help you to cut down on your travel costs on your way to your destination as well as when you get there.

• Reserve flights as far in advance as possible. Leaving it until the last minute, particularly in the case of budget airlines, can cost a fortune.
• Be as flexible as possible with your travel dates and times. Travelling at less convenient hours can save you a lot.
• Use flight price comparison services such as Cheap Flights or Momondo to find the cheapest flights available.
• Use local transport and avoid taxis and special tourist shuttle busses when abroad.
• Compare travel costs of both buses and trains when travelling in a foreign country. In many places, buses are considerably cheaper than trains.

Spending Less on Accommodation

• Compare costs, promotions and discounts on websites such as TripAdvisor to find the best value accommodation.
• Stay in shared accommodation in a hostel. This can be a lot more sociable as well, particularly if you are travelling alone.
• Try finding people to stay with for free through Couch Surfing, the world’s leading international hospitality club.
• Book accommodation further from city centres and other expensive areas so long as reliable transport options make up for the relatively inconvenient location.

Spending Less on Food and Drink

• Book self-catering accommodation if you are travelling with family or a group. This way, you can cook your own meals rather than eating in restaurants.
• Go for discounted lunch menus rather than having expensive dinners in restaurants in the evenings.
• Avoid hotel restaurants and bars as these tend to be highly overpriced.
• Never buy food or drink in an airport or on and aeroplane unless you don’t mind paying outrageously inflated prices.
• Avoid room service and mini-bars in hotels as prices are usually highly inflated.
• Drink at home before going out for a night on the town.