10 Holiday Cash Traps To Avoid

23/05/2012 11:41 | Updated 22 May 2015

Blown your spending money before you're even on the plane? Easy enough with all those last minute buys and extra charges; so get savvy this summer and avoid the holiday cash traps.

Cash at the airport

Getting your holiday money at the airport means you'll get lousy rates and pay commission charges. For the best deal pick up commission free currency from the high street while you're shopping in M&S or from the Post Office.

Buying insurance from your travel agent

Very expensive! Shop around; you'll pay £100 for two weeks cover with Thomas Cook for a family of four in Florida but you can buy annual cover for two thirds of the price through Direct Travel with more than double the medical cover.

Baggage charges

Turn up at check in and you could fork out £40 a suitcase if you're flying with a charter or budget airline; so pre-book online to knock 50% off the price. Sharing suitcases rather than paying for one each saves money too and check those luggage limits. Some smaller airlines have 15kg limits for hold baggage rather than 20kg and children under two are unlikely to get a luggage allowance.

Eating on the plane

Don't pay £8 a go for in-flight meals your kids won't eat; stock up on sandwiches and snacks once you reach the departure side. And get some bottled water and cartons of juice too (again on the departure side!); they're expensive on board and kids can get through quite a few in just a couple of hours.

Splurging in duty free

Not as cheap as you think; prices can be twice the high street price. That big bar of Toblerone for your kids' mates? Around £5 in duty free compared with £2 in Asda. Always check the price of your favourite perfume or tipple online before you go so you know if you're getting a good deal.

Kids' car seats

Hire a car abroad and you could pay £70 a week for a child seat; so take your own to save money. It means more luggage but most airlines including BA, easyJet, Thomson and Virgin won't charge you for this. And you'll know you've got a safe seat as the quality of seats may vary with local rental outlets abroad.

Travel sized toiletries

Small but expensive considering what you get for your money. Buy empty travel bottle packs and decant your favourite products into them. Or take half used bottles from home rather than new ones to cut down on weight. Do remember that airline regulations mean liquids over 100ml must be in your suitcase not your hand luggage.

Paying for free stuff

No substitute for comprehensive travel insurance but it's worth getting an EHIC, (European Health Insurance Card) for everyone in the family as it means you get free medical treatment in Europe, which can save your travel policy excess. The card's free but some companies charge £9.95 if you use their websites – for the free version apply at or at the Post Office.

Costly talk time

Taking your mobile? Check call costs from abroad before you go; get your email suspended and switch off your voicemail to save money. Even if your phone's off you'll get billed if someone calls you and again when you pick up their voicemail! Save money by asking family and friends to text instead.

Converting euros back to sterling

Don't convert local currency prices to sterling if you're paying by card. Lots of shops and restaurants offer this option abroad and while it sounds simple, the conversion rate's lousy and will bump up your bill by £5 for every £100 you spend.

Read more Parentdish travel tips here.

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