The EuroTravel Guide to ways to save money in Europe

Perhaps it isn’t all that surprising when tourists visit cities such as Rome to find that a few scoops of Italian ice cream can leave little change out of fifty dollars and over inflated taxi fares begin to burn a hole in the holiday budget wallet – that canny travellers start thinking of ways to save money. We are a nation of bargain hunters after all but maybe some holiday makers are going a tad too far?

According to a recent travel company survey more tourists are devising crafty ways to save the pennies.

Here are the Top Ten.

1.Tipping

It has never been a major part of our culture in the UK to tip but generally British tourists concede it to be the right and proper thing to do when abroad. However, according to new research, British travellers have slashed the amount they are prepared to tip on foreign breaks as they look to save pennies. A survey by the currency exchange firm ICE (International Currency Exchange) reveals that 40 per cent of British holidaymakers have reduced the amount they are prepared to tip while abroad – and that 45 per cent do not consider the cost of tipping when planning a getaway, while 32% don’t tip at all, even when they’ve had a scrummy meal.

2.Breakfast buns

It has to be said that most tourists rarely have the kind of breakfasts at home that they are offered when on holiday. We all tend to indulge ourselves more with the smorgasbord of goodies on display at the breakfast bar. This has led some penny pinching tourists to take advantage of the over plentiful breakfasts. A recent survey reveals that 38% British tourists take food from breakfast rather than pay for lunch and they’re sneaking more than just a bread roll into their beach bags. Reports of entire English breakfasts being shovelled into take-away boxes may be wide of the mark but one hotelier revealed that at least 30% of breakfast grub from croissant to cheese, cold meats and fruit is being taken away to eat later.

3.Be Widow Twanky

We all know how easy it is to run out of  fresh clothes on holiday and sometimes  end up washing our smalls and socks in the sink, but some travellers seem to be taking the self laundry service a step further. One tight tourist recommended to readers on Trip Advisor to ‘bring clothes made of easy care fabrics that dry fast plus bring two  or three wire hangers to hang dripping shirts and dresses’. Our canny advisor did at least stop at suggesting you pack a box of soap suds in your luggage and instead buy ‘liquid detergent at any supermarket’.

4. Out in the sticks

One well known travel company revealed that they had seen an  uptake in British tourists booking hotels out of city centres which were cheaper but inevitably meant more inconvenience to get to  the sightseeing trails – which was the whole reason for visiting in the first place. You might save a few pounds by staying at an out of city B&B or hotel but few visitors who do this seem to anticipate the extra costs in cab fare and the toll on their feet, when too stingy to rent a cab they have to walk miles back to their bolt-hole.

5. Self catering

This is not saving money as you would expect by staying in a self catering apartment with a kitchen, but actually in a more ad hoc way where tourists, according to a social network site, admit to making their own breakfasts in hotel bedrooms. This often involves taking abroad water heating appliances and tons of coffee and tea sachets. Fair enough, as we all like our own beverage brands. However, one penny pincher even suggested taking out ‘continental plugs’ so that visitors can buy an ‘immersion heater’ to keep warm (supposedly for cold countries) or even purchasing mobile camping stoves to cook ‘simple fry ups’. Personally I think such actions would risk being turfed out of the hotel and having to find a bench for the night.

6. Non peak time flights

If you’re not restricted to going abroad on specific days then the suggestion to fly mid week rather than at the weekend, Friday to Sunday, when there is less availability, might seem a sensible way of saving a few pounds. It makes economic sense to the thrifty brigade to choose to book flights on the cheapest day of the week but perhaps too inconvenient for many to have to face spending more time in the air and possibly changing planes by choosing indirect flights, simply to save a little dosh. Less skint but more exhausted before you start your holiday doesn’t sound that great a saving.

7. Carry on camping

Although still popular for UK based holidays the low rent way of staying in accommodation by eating and kipping in a piece of fabric now seems to becoming more popular with Brits abroad. According to a survey by Money Saving site, out of 12,000 British interviewees, 12% would rather camp than stay in a hotel. When you consider that for the most part the weather abroad is more predictable and stable than say camping out in the Lake District or Margate and that camp sites abroad can be quite luxurious – compared to our farmers’ fields – the idea looks very appealing.

8. Packing plastic

Maybe it was seeing all those photos in the ‘red tops’ of the Queen using Tupperware at the Royal breakfast table that has inspired British tourists to start doing the same? A report has uncovered that British tourists are ditching the local restaurants in the towns and resorts they stay at and instead having Tupperware lunches. The plastic boxes are obviously useful to bung in all that breakfast grub including perishables and boiled eggs. Nifty but think of the room they take up in your luggage?

9. Momento misers

Sending postcards abroad has become less of a ritual over the years, especially with the advantages of smart phones and the internet, even though choosing souvenirs for loved ones and friends has generally being part of the vacation tradition. But a nationwide survey by Experian has discovered more Brits are prepared to forgo memento hunting, up to 29%, and instead believe emailing a picture or two digitally is a good enough substitute. Then again they could always bring back some exotic breakfasts in their Tupperware boxes as edible gifts?

10. Stay at home bargainers

Without doubt this activity is the greatest money saver, something that may also be kinder on the pocket and certainly involves lesstime wasted travelling and hanging about in terminals. Basically it’s staying at home vacationing and taking holidays in Britain’s many seaside resorts, cities, market towns and country destinations. Experian reports that 28% of British interviewees have decided to explore the UK rather than venture abroad. Obviously you can’t guarantee the weather, a tan or having a continental romance but you can at least understand the language, the currency, TV shows and never fail to get that bacon sarnie whenever you’re in the mood

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