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Holidays can be expensive, there’s no denying that! Costs can creep up, surprise and totally blindside if enough thought and planning doesn’t go into your trip. Whether you travel every now and again, or jet set as often as possible, we can all get caught out by spiralling costs when abroad. It’s easy to think that once you’ve booked your dream hotel, your ideal flights and organised your holiday insurance that the big expenses are out of the way. But that’s just the beginning of what a trip finally costs. Those daily expenses can creep up to be a hefty sum by the end of your trip.

So, to make your budget stretch as far as possible, we’re going to share some of the easiest ways to save money on holiday. All tried and tested by us. This way, you can get the most out of your trip, and your money.

1. Slash food costs on your trip

Food costs can build up when you’re on holiday. This is especially true when you’re spending on breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day…and that’s even before we’ve considered the daily gelato!

You might think that slashing food costs means compromising and forgoing that yummy dessert or extra pastry at breakfast. If you plan wisely, you can still enjoy the foodie experience you want and end up paying much less for your local cuisine and treats.

Fancying a Michelin starred dinner or eating at a top restaurant in the area? Yeah, these can be expensive; but they don’t have to break the bank. If you’re splashing out on a treat restaurant, make sure to check the lunch menu instead of the more expensive dinner menu. Typically, lunch menus can be cheaper, and you still get the ambience, experience and delicious food you’ve been craving.

Also, don’t forget that restaurants in central areas of cities tend to charge quite a bit more for their dishes than those in lesser visited streets or neighbourhoods. We always take a little stroll away from the main thoroughfare and then search for a local restaurant that catches our eye. It’s a great way to find cheaper and totally delicious meals that tend to cost much less.

Another great way to make holiday savings is by eating local dishes. These tend to be much cheaper than international dishes that aren’t easily found or must be imported to the area you’re visiting. Take a look at the food section, on our blog Link opens in a new window, with local foods from different regions of the world.

2. Pay with a no-fees overseas card

One of the easiest ways you can keep costs in check is by getting yourself an account that doesn’t charge you any fees when using your card abroad. Imagine, a two-week trip with multiple transactions a day…those fees can build quite quickly.

The M Plus Current Account Link opens in a new window doesn’t charge you to use your card or withdraw cash abroad, meaning everything from that extra scoop of gelato to the sparkly new hat won’t cost you a penny extra.

Just remember, while Virgin Money won’t charge you, some ATM providers may apply a charge. You’ll be notified of this before you go ahead with the withdrawal.

Remember, too, that it’s usually best to pay in the local currency when you’re spending abroad. Choose this option when you pay on a card machine as you’ll often get a better exchange rate if your money isn’t converted into pounds sterling.

3. Shop around

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be leaving with at least one keepsake from your holiday. To avoid paying more than you need to, make sure to shop around and purchase something local to the area. This means you won’t be stung by buying something that’s had to be shipped to the destination. Plus, you’ll be supporting local producers, too.

Also, don’t forget lots of the locally produced keepsakes will be in other shops or stalls across the place you’re visiting. Make sure to shop around and see what an average price looks like. Prices can inflate quite significantly in areas frequented by lots of visitors.

4. Visit attractions for free

Not all admissions and tickets to exciting places need you to part with your hard-earned cash. Yes, lots do charge an entrance fee but it’s always worth checking their website whilst planning your day. You see, lots of places either offer ‘free days’ or ‘free evenings’ on certain days in the month.

For instance, lots of museums in Barcelona, the Louvre in Paris and Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice have free days. The Louvre offers free entry Link opens in a new window on the first Friday of the month after 6 p.m. (except in July and August) and the Gallerie dell’Accademia offers free entrance Link opens in a new window on the first Sunday of the month. Plan your visit around these times and you’ll have saved yourself a hefty sum.

5. Find the best-priced tours

Typically, the cheapest way to book a tour is with local companies that run and operate tours themselves. This can either be done by scouting out different providers near the area you want to visit or by using apps like GetYourGuide Link opens in a new window who partner local tour providers with travellers.

It’s always worth noting that going direct often helps in negotiating costs, especially if you’re booking more than one tour with the same provider. Also, be sure to check for tours at off-peak times and avoid public holidays; these times can cost more.

Finally, always ask about last-minute cancellations or availability. If tours are already running, providers want to fill them up as much as possible and you might be in for a deal.

6. Be flexible

Now, this might seem obvious but trust us, being flexible is one of the best ways you can save money on your holiday abroad.

Prices can go up when you have very rigid requirements for tours, tickets and reservations. Be mindful of how you can jiggle plans around and be open to local customs and daily routines that might mean some times of the day can be more (or less) expensive.

7. Use savvy apps

Apps like CityMapper Link opens in a new window help you find the best route for your travel by showing all possible modes of transport in realtime, they’ll even show you price estimates for different modes. Plus, the app has live wait times and ETAs so you’ll never have to worry about missing the bus or train or worry about not knowing what stop to get off – it’ll alert you in real time!

Another brilliant cost-saving tool is the app, TooGoodToGo Link opens in a new window. – which is available in destinations across the world. This app allows you to have discounted takeaway meals/pastries/coffee from restaurants and cafes that would dispose of their food at the end of the day. Take a look on the app, find a restaurant you like and have a restaurant-quality picnic on the beach.

TKTS Link opens in a new window is another fabulous app that allows you to bag discounted theatre tickets in places like Broadway in New York. Typically, they will show availability for shows on the day itself (and some within a week) where seats haven’t been filled up. You can get such a good deal and pay a fraction of the cost of a full-price ticket.

So, there we have it, our seven insider holiday savings tips that’ll help you save £100s while abroad!

Essential packing for every adventure

There’s zero fees when you pay overseas with our M Plus Account debit card.

Just remember, while Virgin Money won’t charge you, some ATM providers may apply a charge. You’ll be notified of this before you go ahead with the withdrawal.

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