How to slash the cost of a once-in-a-lifetime holiday

POSTED: 2nd June 2016
IN: Personal Guides

A once-in-a-lifetime holiday doesn’t need to cost the earth. To save you from emptying your savings account to fund your next getaway, we’ve outlined how you can make your money go further while travelling abroad.

It can often be difficult to justify spending a chunk of your savings. Yet, if you’re in a position where you can afford to set money aside for something special, a holiday is usually a popular choice. However, dipping into your savings pot to fund a once-in-a-lifetime getaway doesn’t need to pull the plug on your finances. To show you how far your savings could really go, here are a few easy ways to slash the cost of a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Not on track with your savings? Find out how to spring clean your finances and be better off for life.


1)   The Safari 

An experience unlike any other, observing some of the world’s most magnificent creatures in their natural habitat often features high on travellers’ bucket lists. However, the cost of embarking on an African adventure can also rack up a hefty price tag. To save you from completely raiding your savings, here are a few ways you can quickly slash the cost of a safari.

Go off season

One of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of a safari is to go off season. Dry season, from May to September in the Southern Hemisphere, is regarded as the best time to go, however visiting during wet season also has its benefits. Aside from cheaper flights and lodges, you’ll be visiting when the landscape looks more attractive, the sunsets are better and many animals have their young with them - not to mention game reserves won’t be overcrowded with tourists.

Be savvy with your destination choice

Unless you’re desperate to visit the Victoria Falls or the Okavango Delta, being open to visiting multiple safari destinations can help save you money. Botswana is typically the most expensive for safaris, however you can still get great deals on places such as South Africa, Namibia and Kenya. Also, look out for places with weak currencies, such as Kenya and Tanzania, as your money is likely to go much further.

Stay in national parks

Opting to stay in a state funded national park rather than a private game reserve is a great way to ensure your holiday costs a fraction of the price. Kruger National Park in South Africa and Amboseli National Park in Kenya are popular choices.


2)   The City Break

If you’d rather be exploring an urban jungle than a tropical one, heading to one of the world’s modern metropolises will certainly satisfy your holiday cravings. However, just like here in the UK, many overseas cities are renowned for their inflated hotel prices, costly dining experiences and over-priced souvenirs. To stop you falling into the city break tourist traps, here are a few ways to get around the hidden costs.

Use public transport

An easy to way to rack up a substantial holiday bill is to hop in a taxi every five minutes. Although it takes a little more planning, using public transport systems will save you a lot of money. For instance, taking the subway from Wall Street to Central Park in New York will cost you a mere £2, whereas hailing a taxi can set you back up to £18.

Shop around for currency

When wandering around a city, it’s easy to burn through your spending money very quickly. To ensure your money goes further, try and find the best deals on currency before you head off. You may also want to look into taking a card designed for overseas use to avoid the added cost of transaction fees.

Tourist refund schemes

In some countries around the world, such as Australia, you can claim back sales tax on goods you’ve bought when you leave the country. Whenever you head off on your next adventure, check to see if your destination participates in a Tourist Refund Scheme.

Travel mid-week

If you’re not restricted by work constraints, choosing to explore a destination from Monday – Thursday is a great way to reduce the cost of your trip, as is opting for an early morning flight. Another thing to keep an eye out for is big sporting events or festivals occurring in your intended destination. If your travel plans coincide with a big event, you’re bound to notice a spike in accommodation prices.


3)   The Cruise

Think you can’t save money on an all-inclusive cruise? Well, there are in fact a few sneaky ways you can keep your expenditures to a minimum. Many cruises have added extras or hidden costs, even if you do buy an all-inclusive package, so being aware of them is essential.

Explore on shore destinations solo

Cruise lines often offer a number of different on-shore excursions, however they tend to be quite expensive. By organising your own tour or simply exploring the location without a guide, you’ll reduce the amount of extras you’ll need to fork out for.

Have a digital detox

Most cruise ships have Wi-Fi access or internet centres on board, however logging on can still be rather costly. Some more modern cruise ships offer cheaper pricing structures with basic Wi-Fi daily packages costing as little as £3.26. However, this doesn’t apply to all cruise lines and sometimes connecting can cost as much as £16.99 per day. If you desperately need to read your emails, check how much you’ll be charged before you connect.

Be savvy with alcohol

No, we don’t mean sneak it on board. What we’re actually referring to is that when you buy a bottle with your dinner, you don’t need to let it go to waste if you haven’t finished it. Instead, ask a waiter to cork it for you and save it for another night.


Here at Aldermore, we believe that saving should be as straightforward and as rewarding as possible. If you’d like more information about our latest competitive rates or our variety of savings accounts, take a look at our Personal Savings pages.

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