Tips on finding a cheap holiday and keeping costs down whilst you are abroad

Saving money on your holiday extras

Like many of the working population, I look forward to a well deserved break from my stressful 9-5 and I think part of the excitement is the build up to my annual holiday.

Albeit rather early, as soon as the new holiday year starts, I begin to plan where and when I might escape to over the coming months and just exactly how I am going to pay for these extravagancies. But over the years I have come to realise that being on budget doesn't have to hold you back when it comes to holidaying and if I learnt anything at all from being forced to attend Girl Guides it was to follow the motto 'be prepared'.

Don't get me wrong, having every waking minute of your holiday scheduled isn't advice I would give to anyone but I do believe that a stress free holiday all boils down to pre-planning. I have compiled a short list of things I think are well worth doing before setting off on your travels and will leave you with more cash in your wallet to enjoy whilst you are actually away.

1) Shop around - When searching for cheap travel deals, it pays off to have a few methods of holiday hunting. The internet is a great place to get started and there will often be extra discounts for booking online but it is also worth taking a trip to your local travel agents to see if they can match those prices. Be sure you are getting the best value for money for accommodation as well as comparing prices for travel and location. You can get some fantastic prices if you are staying in the UK and venturing to places such as Scotland or Wales.

2) Research the area - Once you have decided your destination, look into the main attractions, things to do or places of interest there. Although an obvious statement, you will be surprised at how much you could save on booking day trips and excursions online before you go. Additionally, locate these attractions on a map so you aren't spending valuable time and money on taxis, buses or trams trying to find a particular venue or attraction.

3) Pre-book your holiday extras - This is simple. Travel insurance, car hire and airport parking to name a few will quickly eat into your budget so if you take one bit of advice from these tips it should be to pre-book these in advance. As necessities to your trip, the market is extremely competitive so there are lots of companies offering you great deals on these. If accessible, consider flying from a smaller airport and research into the cost of airport parking there. Companies may offer discounts or a free extra day at some of the main airports or on Luton or Birmingham Airport Parking.

By taking time to think over the cost of the whole holiday with add-ons and not simply the trip itself, you will get an all round idea of how much you will need to budget and how much you will need to save in order to really enjoy the trip that you have worked all year for. So now you don't have any time to waste, get planning!