Everyone looks forward to holidays, but paying for them can lead to financial issues in the long-term if people aren't careful about their spending.
The family holiday is one of the biggest annual expenses for a lot of households and it is easy to end up spending several months paying off the cost of a fortnight in the summer sun.
As a holiday is meant to be a relaxing time out from the rat race, there is little point getting into debt for the sake of having one, as the stresses associated with owing money will defeat the point of going away for a break.
Paying for holidays in advance is one way to get around this problem, but this isn't necessarily possible for a lot of people, with spreading the cost over a number of months a popular way to get around having to splash out on a lump sum all at once.
Planning a holiday
The internet has made it easier than ever for people to plan their own holidays and it is no longer necessary to go to a travel agent, who will try to sell as expensive a break as possible.
Families may be restricted to school holidays for when they can book a break abroad, but others have the choice of the whole calendar, making it easy to pick dates where there is less demand for vacations, therefore bringing down the overall cost.
It's widely accepted that planning ahead is the best way to reduce the cost of a holiday, but this is not necessarily always the case. Sometimes leaving booking a break until the last possible minute can secure a fantastic deal, although this can be stressful.
Households on a tight budget will want to get the right balance between putting down a chunk of cash in advance and spreading the rest of the payments over a period of time. Finding an interest-free payment plan is a great way to cover the cost of a break abroad.
Setting a budget
Paying for the holiday itself is only the start of the cost of a break, as it is easy for people to get carried away and overspend once they are away.
To avoid doing this, research the cost of various items in your chosen destination before setting off, as this will give an indication of how much spending money it will be necessary to take. Once this has been done, setting a daily spending budget for food, drink and other associated items can help people to avoid running up a costly bill for their holiday.
The last thing people returning from holiday want is to find they have spent much more money than they intended to, meaning they will be paying it off for several months, so planning ahead financially can reduce the chances of this happening.
Consider a 'staycation'
Half of the joy of a holiday is exploring a new destination, but many people overlook what Britain has to offer in terms of breaks.
Booking what is referred to as a 'staycation' – a holiday without going abroad – can be a much cheaper way to enjoy a break and families may also find the travelling to be a lot easier, as taking a plane with small children can be extremely stressful.
Britain has lots and lots to offer for people wanting to book a break on a budget, with areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Lake District the perfect place to get away from the stresses of everyday life.
Another good way to reduce the cost of a break is to consider house-swapping. This is exactly what it says on the tin, with people living in each other's homes while enjoying a break.
This is typically a very low-cost way to have a break, while the obvious benefit is all of the home comforts available that a hotel typically cannot offer.