After enduring two years of restrictions, millions are looking forward to a hard-earned summer getaway. But with airports in chaos and inflation running rampant, many holidaymakers are at risk of running seriously over-budget at a time when they can least afford to.
Here, Telegraph Money breaks down the most common money traps holidaymakers fall into and how to avoid them.
Use the right card
Every year, British holidaymakers spend £2.7bn in foreign exchange fees, according to travel card company Currensea. Some of this is eaten up by ATMs. Analyst Moneyfacts estimates that withdrawing £250 from a cash machine overseas costs £11.88.
To avoid unnecessary charges, plan your spending money in advance and find the best rates with an online comparison service. Using your ordinary bank card abroad could leave you with steep – and unnecessary – bills, as many carry transaction charges of up to 3pc.
To avoid these, take out a fee-free travel card, such as Halifax Clarity credit card or Virgin Money M Plus. Pay in the local currency because your card provider’s exchange rate will likely beat the retailer’s.
If you don’t want to open a new current account, a prepaid travel card could be your next best bet. But the worst will charge you between £2 and £5 a month just for holding the card. And beware other fees such as redemption charges. Currensea found that travelers will return home with on average £55 unspent on their prepaid cards, and may have to pay up to £10 just to get their own money back.
Get the right insurance
Being on the wrong policy could cost you dearly – either because you’ve overpaid for add-ons you don’t need, or because your cheap insurance offers very little protection.
Travelers on specialist trips should take extra care to make sure they’re sufficiently covered, said Anna-Marie Duthie, of financial researcher Defaqto. “If you’re going on a cruise or skiing holiday, it’s important to choose a policy that includes cover for these types of trips,” she said. According to Defaqto’s research, 88pc of annual policies don’t protect against risks specific to these trips as standard.
Most policies offer protection if you miss your flight through no fault of your own and have to pay for another. But Ms Duthie warned that you may be left to foot the bill if you miss a connecting flight with a different airline due to delays. “In these circumstances, over a quarter of annual travel insurance policies offer no cover,” she said.
Watch for roaming charges
Since Brexit, nearly all major mobile phone companies have reintroduced charges for data roaming in Europe. EE, Three, Sky Mobile and Vodafone now charge their customers £2 a day; for a family of four on a two-week break, that would add up to over £100.
O2, Virgin, BT Mobile and Smarty still allow free roaming, but that doesn’t mean you should switch providers just for the savings – as they may soon jump on the bandwagon. If you’re traveling for longer than a fortnight, a package deal like EE’s £10 30-day “Roam Abroad” pass could work out cheaper. The most important thing is not to exceed your data allowance. Even streaming YouTube for just one minute will eat up more than 3MB, according to Uswitch.
Cut the cost of car hire
Global vehicle shortages have pushed up the cost of car hire this summer. While there’s not much you can do about this, you can save about £150 on your car insurance.
If your hire car gets damaged, you have to pay an excess to cover the costs – even if it’s not your fault. This could be as high as £2,000. Many people fall into the trap of buying excess insurance with the car hire. But the average rental car company charges £189, more than five times the price of policy from a specialist insurance provider, such as iCarhireinsurance.com, which charges £35.48 for a week’s cover.