The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Booked a holiday? Save a fortune before you set off
HOLIDAYMAKERS who have already made summer travel plans are being urged to book any ‘extras’ – including airport parking and renting a car – well in advance. Emma Grimster, of TravelSupermarket, an online company that specialises in finding travellers competitively priced extras, says: ‘In the excitement of booking a holiday, it can be easy to overlook sorting out extras such as airport parking, travel money or car hire excess insurance until the last minute.
‘But in doing so, you could be leaving yourself out of pocket by a considerable amount.’
Booking ahead for both shortstay and long-stay airport parking not only guarantees a space, but it will also save a tidy sum.
Figures from TravelSupermarket show that the gate price for eight days of short-stay car parking at Gatwick’s South Terminal costs £148. Yet pre-booking through its Meteor Parking’s ‘meet and greet’ service would cost £100, with the car dropped off and collected from the terminal forecourt.
Those looking to hire a car once abroad should also act in advance. Jon Yates, of Virgin Holidays, says: ‘Customers who decide to defer car hire until they are on holiday are often faced with inflexible pricing or limited vehicle choice, which might result in the car company charging a premium for the vehicle they want.’
TravelSupermarket says prebooking a medium size, compact car (Seat Leon or similar) from Malaga airport for one week would cost £47.04 with Rentalcars.
Leaving the booking until arrival at Malaga would cost a hefty £186.67, based on the current walk-up rate quoted by Hertz.
Damaging a hire car will result in the payment of an excess to the rental company. Such excess costs can be considerable, so it is wise to purchase excess insurance beforehand to cover or ‘waive’ this cost. An eight-day excess waiver at the Budget desk in Malaga would cost £216 for a compact car. But a standalone excess insurance policy purchased before travel can cost from as little as £3 a day.
Travel insurance is essential, but buying a policy as soon as a summer holiday is booked means it will cover the cost of having to cancel the trip as a result of unforeseen circumstances – for example, the need to have an operation.
Despite the benefit of buying early, research by Sainsbury’s Bank indicates that more than one in five holidaymakers have no plans to buy travel insurance for their getaway while 22 per cent plan to buy it just a week before they go.
The bank’s James King says: ‘Taking it easy is one of the biggest draws of a holiday. But unexpected events do happen. People should think about travel insurance as soon as they’ve booked a holiday.’
Motorists planning to take their own car to Europe should contact their car insurer in advance to check cover levels. A policy upgrade may be required while a Green Card will be needed to drive in the European Union after the Brexit transition period which due to finish at the end of the year. This may take a month to process.
When it comes to holiday money, shopping around in advance using websites such as Money Saving Expert and mytravelmoney.co.uk will help find the best deals.
If you plan to spend on a debit or credit card overseas, make sure it is one that will not charge you – the Halifax Clarity credit card, Santander Zero credit card or Starling Bank debit card are good options.