The euro is currently very weak against the pound, which makes it a great time to plan a trip to Europe.
At the time of writing, £100 can get you €135. Last month it would only have been €127, and a year ago €120. Those savings might not seem huge but can really add up across a whole holiday, especially if there are a few of you.
I’m taking a trip to Sonar festival in Barcelona this summer with some friends so I’ve been working out the best value way to do it. I love researching for the best deal, and some of the Clever Sites I’ve reviewed were a big help (read more about my 5 favourite sites to save on holiday bookings), but the biggest savings come from making the right choices.
What works best for you does depend on your situation, but here are some of the decisions I’ve made that could help you when booking yours.
1. I’ve chosen to pay now rather than wait
The euro could fall even lower, giving you more money for your pound, but it’s impossible to know. We’ve taken the chance that they won’t get much better and chose to ‘pay now’ for the hotel rather than pay the venue direct.
Paying upfront and using a voucher code also gave us some further discounts, though we can’t cancel if we need to.
2. I’ve paid in euros where I could
Some sites have auto conversion rates, while others are fixed UK prices. Both can mean you pay more by paying with pounds.
The festival we’re going to is listed as £115 on Ticketmaster and Ticketweb, but €125 through the site’s own ticket sales. That converts to £98, saving us £17 each.
As I’ve got a Halifax Clarity card and Metro bank account, there’s no additional conversion fee either.
You can read more about these cards in my 7 holiday money tips blogpost.
3. I’ve been flexible with dates, times and airline
We were going to go on Friday morning and save a night’s cost of accommodation. But the low euro made an extra night at the hotel and cheaper flight on the Thursday only a few quid more. To me that represents much better value.
Flying back would be cheapest at 9am, but I’m going to fly back around 7pm. It costs £40 more but it’ll give me more time to sightsee.
I’ve also decided to pay an extra fiver to fly BA as it includes food and drink, which Norweigan doesn’t.
Have a read of my guide to how to find a cheap flight for more tips.
4. I’ve worked out the cost of getting around before choosing where to stay
The cheapest accommodation isn’t near the festival site, but since Sonar takes place at night, getting back would mean expensive taxis and long waits. In the day, there are cheap quick metros to all the other places we’d want to go. Which meant it was worth paying an extra £20 each for a hotel right by the venue (plus it has a pool!).
I also looked at train prices and found I can get open return tickets to the same airports. This made it far cheaper to fly to and from Gatwick, rather than mix it up and get single train tickets.
Are you heading abroad this summer? Does the low euro make you more likely to go short-haul over long haul? Let me know in the comments below
Photo: Angela LLop