15 ways to save money on a winter holiday

1. Turn your mobile phone data off

As soon as you’re at the airport it’s time to turn off your mobile data. Network providers can charge you a fortune for accidentally using 3G to send a text so switch it off at the source for the whole holiday. If you still want to check the internet just keep your eye out for public Wi-Fi points.

2. Pay cash, not card

Always avoid using your debit or credit card abroad. Banks can charge you a lot so always make sure you have plenty of cash for your holiday. If you’re desperate use a cashpoint instead of using your card directly in a shop or restaurant.

3. Make the most of free exhibitions and gigs

In summer you can save money by wandering around outside and having picnics in the park if you want to save money but in winter that idea quickly loses it’s charm. Make the most of local gigs and art exhibitions which have free entry, it’ll save you money and gives an authentic idea of what the city is like.

4. Pack light but warm

If you’re travelling on a short break and are only taking a small amount of luggage you need to be sensible with your packing to avoid being charged extra at the airport. Wear one warm coat and all your other outerwear on the plane and pack lots of layers in to your luggage.

5. Keep your phone away from the snow

If you’re going anywhere with snow or rain don’t leave your phone or camera in your pocket. Hide it away in a plastic bag in your normal bag or make use of any inner pockets in your coat or jacket.

6. Stay off the beaten track

If you’re jetting off on a city break then watch out for high tourist prices. The closer to the city centre you get the more you’ll be charged for hotels and food. Try heading somewhere a bit more off the beaten track and you’ll find cheaper prices plus more authentic experiences.

7. Don’t park at the airport

Airports offer seemingly good deals on parking spaces but in reality they’re completely unnecessary. Ask a friend if they could drop you off/pick you up or have a look at public transport – there’s bound to be a bus or train that will take you right to the airport for a fraction of the cost.

8. Download a free map app before travelling

Before you travel download any free apps that are relevant to your chosen destination. Having built in maps and tourist advice means you’ll have all the info you need at your fingertips without having to shell out on data or guidebooks.

9. Check your EHIC is still valid

One of the most important things to take on holiday with you is your European Health Insurance Card which can get you free or discounted medical treatment across the UK. All UK citizens are entitled to one but many often forget to renew theirs before taking a trip. Should you need any medical help while abroad, not having a valid EHIC with you could cost you a hefty sum. You can apply or renew your EHIC here.

10. Avoid the plane

If possible, try alternate transport to getting the plane. If you’re travelling to France there are lots of coach options available. Alternatively, if heading out on a city break book the Eurostar in advance and it’s surprisingly cheap. Plus there are connecting trains across Europe from Paris and Brussels.

11. Make a packed lunch

Staying in self-catered accommodation is a cost-effective way to see some of Europe’s best cities without forking out. Consider hiring an apartment and make all your meals at home before heading out for the day to save cash. If you buy food from the local market you can get a taste of the local cuisine without the price tag.

12. Buy a tourist pass

Many of the big tourist cities in Europe offer ‘tourist cards’ where you pay one lump sum to then get into museums and tourist attractions either for free or for a heavily discounted rate. Check before you buy but more often than not they can add up to a hefty saving on admission fees and ticket prices.

13. Make the most of public transport

Despite the cold, resist the temptation to jump in a taxi or to spend your days on a sightseeing bus. Instead, research the local public transport before you go and you’ll quickly pick up how to use their local trams or buses whilst saving yourself a lot of money in the process.

14. Set your heating on a timer

Be careful not to turn off the heating completely while you’re away. Set a timer so the heating comes on once a day for just an hour and it’ll prevent any problems occurring, such as frozen pipes and a cold house.

15. Make the most of off-peak sales

Most airlines will slash the prices of flights in the winter months to fill seats so if the cold weather is getting you down, bag a bargain and jet off last minute. Hotels will also have off-peak perks, so be nice to staff when booking and checking in as they may give an upgrade on the house.