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The autumn carnival season starts next month, but it seems that for many tourists in Europe, it’s become a relic of a bygone era. Some research has suggested that over the past two years travel insurance demand for European big events has fallen sharply. A quick survey by the Society of British Travel Agents (Saba) of travel insurance and event providers will reveal holidaymakers spending far less on big European festivals and fairs, whether to save money on car hire or spend their euros on a shorter weekend break. Summer cruise spending is similarly down. The evidence suggests that many would-be visitors are opting to reduce travel costs and include less choice and choice of destination, to balance their trips.
If you do go, here are some thoughts on how to travel smarter this holiday season.
Stay away from the rails
Train travel can be expensive, inconvenient and quite stressful. Did you know the average ticket costs the same as three-month’s rent? In fact, long-distance train travel costs passengers twice as much as air travel and those on cheapest return tickets often end up waiting two hours and a quarter longer than they should in for a train home. An increase in the number of well-heeled fliers filling train carriages is a big challenge for train operators. A sensible travelling option is to book your train in advance online or with a mobile phone app (such as EE Tilt and Wi-Fi-enabled Tilt+) when there is a hefty premium for booking in advance. Use a trusted comparison service to ensure your holiday rate is the best bargain you can get. Make no mistake, standing in an overcrowded coach travelling at 70mph will cost you dear!
Check the price
Two years ago, the return fare from Gatwick Airport to Paris airport stood at £119.50 – a far cry from the £30 return fares found on the internet in the past. Now fares to Paris are often £40 to £70 more expensive than flights from the city of light. Will you have to suffer through rough transfers on the train, or will the train itself work out cheaper? Try starting your research with the cheapest fares available for your current trip and check frequently to ensure you don’t miss the latest fares.
Consider homestays, help yourselves
Your sofa can be a welcome escape from the stressful chaos of holidaying at hotels and airports, so why not consider staying in your home, with relatives, or friends? Although you won’t be able to enjoy all the luxuries of a hotel room, you may come out spending a little bit more than you expected, especially if you stay for longer. Simply take your money out of your bank account before you leave and buy a small amount of your own food and drink. Avoid hotels altogether, as accommodation prices are often so much higher than rental prices. If you are worried about insuring you home, visit the car insurance specialist Insurance4Away to save a few quid on your car cover.
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