Value-for-money holiday destinations look set to be hugely popular this year, with holiday-makers more price-conscious than ever due to the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit. That being said, cost won’t do anything to temper our nation’s love of the holiday – we have it in our DNA! We might just find ourselves brushing up on our bargain-hunting skills a little more this year.
Travel experts are predicting that people will opt for more off-the-beaten track destinations in order skip the price tags that come with tourist traps. They’re also forecasting that ‘unique experience’ holidays and ‘micro-travel’ will be trends that have their moment in 2019.
Let’s take a look at some of this year’s key holiday trends – as well as some tips on how to maximise your savings this year.
Under-the-radar destinations look set to be a big hit with those more price-aware holiday-makers this year. It’s only a matter of time before they really explode in popularity however and the prices start to increase. Get ahead of the crowd in 2019 if you really want to nab yourself a bargain. For example, Novi Sad in Serbia is set to become the first non-EU European Capital of Culture in 2021 when the masses are sure to flock to the Balkan country. Nearby Albania has beautiful beaches, scenery and a buzzing capital without the holidaymaking crowds of its neighbours, Greece and Montenegro. The country is great value-for-money which has been hiding in plain sight for some time – but probably not for long. London, Paris, Rome are all beautiful cities which are well worth seeing. But if you’re looking for bang for your buck, they shouldn’t be top of your list. Why not consider cities such as Lisbon, Krakow and Athens, to name just a few with direct flights from Ireland, for more budget-friendly breaks that still come with all the frills. These cities boast spectacular architecture, culturally important sites, great nightlife and award-winning restaurants that won’t cost the earth. Lisbon and Athens are also short train/bus/ferry rides away from beaches and sea-side locations if you want to mix city-life with beach-days.
As we focus more on the price tag of our holidays, ‘micro-trips’ will see a surge in popularity in 2019. According to Elle magazine, more than half of global travellers will opt for a number of short breaks during the year rather than one extended trip. With an abundance of European destinations served by low-cost airlines, it’s never been easier to get far away from the daily grind for a few days. Travel gurus are also predicting that unique (but affordable) accommodation stays will also be a feature of these short breaks. Camper-vans, caravans and yurts are all predicted to be wallet-friendly choices that will rise in popularity. So get your wheeled-accommodation bookings in pronto!
Travel experts across the board agree that people are searching for more unique experiences from their holidays. Especially those experiences they can share with friends on social media. If an Instagram-worthy experience is top of your list this year, then you should seriously consider Ireland! Not only will you save money on flights abroad and over-priced day tours, but there are unrivalled photo opportunities to be had on the many walking trails, greenways, mountain and waterfall hikes around the island. Couple that with the huge range of summer festivals spanning the musical, comedy, literary and gourmet food worlds and you are spoiled for choice. There are also some fantastic camping sites with first-rate amenities that will help save money on accommodation, while nowhere does the BnB experience quite like Ireland.
Top Tips for a Price Conscious Holiday
No matter how budget-friendly the destination, holidaying will be one of the most expensive undertakings for the year. We’ve put together some top tips to ensure that you take advantage of all the savings you can.
Pay attention to card charges abroad
Not all holidaymakers may be aware that there are fees for using your plastic abroad. There can be charges each time you withdraw from the ATM, as well as additional charges in restaurants etc. if you use your card to pay. If you are travelling outside the Eurozone, these charges can be even more expensive. You will also be charged a foreign exchange rate on top of the ATM withdrawal charge. Brush up on this info before you fly so you can factor these charges into your holiday budget. Simple steps such as limiting ATM withdrawals and opting to pay in cash can also help to save you a financial headache when you return home. And who needs that on top of the holiday blues?
Check the check-in
Be ruthless with the packing. Checked-in luggage for return flights – especially for a family – can run into the hundreds. Try to limit each family member to cabin luggage. You’ll be singing your own praises when you skip the bills, not to mention the check-in queues and delays waiting for bags at the other end. Do ensure that you check each airline’s policy for cabin luggage too as sizes, weight and other T&Cs can vary between airlines.
It goes without saying that the early bird catches the worm. Try to book your holiday as early as possible in the year. Some tour companies will even offer early bird deals so be sure to shop around. Booking early also gives you extra time to read-up on your destination and plan a holiday budget accordingly. Don’t have the extra cash this time of year to book ahead? Check out Letterkenny Credit Union for a holiday loan that comes without any hidden fees or admin charges.
Many day-tours, museums and attractions will offer discounts if you book your tickets in advance and online. Not only that, sometimes you get to skip the queue too! Something as simple as booking your airport parking online can also lead to savings.
Taking out travel insurance can save you huge sums of money if, for example, there is a family bereavement or other unforeseen circumstances which mean you have to cancel a paid-for trip. Credit unions in the Republic of Ireland offer travel insurance under the suite of insurance services known as Cover-u. So check it out before booking your 2019 trip!