Empty Link

Budget Holidays: A Guide to Booking a Cheap Vacation

Travel 3 min read

20 Jan 2020

It’s the New Year, and we're all seeking a holiday to ease the post Christmas blues. While booking a new holiday may be a no brainer, it also creates a few questions. Where to go? Sun holiday? Ski holiday? Somewhere new or somewhere familiar? Near or far away? But also, and importantly, can I afford it? Everyone is always broke after Christmas. But that doesn't mean a holiday is off the cards. You can still book a cheap budget holiday if you are thrifty. And, let's investigate how below:


Assess Your Holiday Needs

The first question you need to answer is what exactly are you looking for from this holiday. Party? Sun? Family Break Away? Just Relaxation? Adventure? Or a little bit of everything in between. Accessing your needs from a holiday can determine both your budget and general requirements from the trip. It will be a key determinant of your destination, time of travel, accommodation, flights and your expectations. This will allow you to assess where savings can be made prior to budgeting.

  • Decide on a Budget

Budget dictates everything. You need to commit to a certain overall budget for the holiday. A lot of people underestimate the spend that goes into a holiday abroad. The average person will spend €550 a year on a holiday, with this increasing to €2000 for a family of four including flights and accommodation. Not to mention the fact that different destinations will have higher costs.

Most of us merely factor in the immediate flight and accommodation fees. Not accounting for the money we need when we arrive for meals and visiting the local tourist hot spots. 88% of millennials overspend on their holidays.

  • Avoid Current Cards & High Interest “fast & cheap” loans

It easy to fall into the trap of lashing out the credit card on a holiday and getting carried away. On your return, you're then met with a large bill with added interest. If you don’t have the cash or want to maintain your savings for a rainy day then you might be considering a loan to fund your trip. Avoid fast and cheap loans that promise you the money you need, but hidden in the small print are large APR’s, interest fee’s and added fees for missed payments.

If you need a loan, your local credit union offers general personal loans or holiday loans that could help you get the holiday plans in place. They usually come with a more reasonable interest rate and with credit unions all profit earned from the interest goes back into the local community.

E.g St Canices Credit Union offer a holiday loan with 9.9% (10.4% APR) interest rate.* This means if you get a €3,000 holiday loan over 24 months you will be repaying €31.81 a month.

  *Loan information valid as of 20/01/2019.

  • Choose a destination to match your requirements

If budget is a prime concern, your choice of destination will play a key role in the price of flights, accommodation as well as day to day spending on food and experiences. Different destinations will have different levels of popularity at different times of the year. Most Irish holidayers seeking sun travel to the Canaries due to the lower costs of flights accommodation and food and drink. This compared to somewhere like Paris which is more globally popular but also carries high expense for everything.

The top five favourite summer destinations abroad for Irish holidaymakers according to an iReach Insights poll are:

  • 1. Spain (35%)
  • 2. Portugal (18%)
  • 3. England (15%)
  • 4. Italy (10%)
  • 5. America (9%)
  • Travel on the off-peak times of year (if possible)

If you're looking for a cheap holiday, then you need to consider only holidaying abroad at off-peak times of the year. When all the kids and students are back to school and college, is usually the perfect time. This means you need to look at dates from mid-september to the start of May in order to avail of the best prices. On an added note, remember that flying out early in the week like Tuesday versus the weekend, also offers price gains.


  • Explore accommodation types

Accomodation is usually up to half the price of the holiday. But you can make compromises here. If you’re travelling with more than 1 person, appartments in some destinations can be cheaper than hotels. Booking accommodation separately to the flights and choosing against a booking provider can sometimes also result in added savings.

If you’re feeling particularly innovative, you can also house swap.


Booking Your Next Cheap holiday

With the above considerations made you should be well on your way to booking a holiday that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Don’t forget, if money is always tight you can always get a holiday loan with your credit union.