This content originally appeared in the MSE weekly email on 15 July 2015.
The big summer get-away is nearly here. If you're heading away, there are some savvy techniques that can give you a better time at a lower cost.
So hot on the heels of our recent batch of 'life hacks' this time the team and I have been checking out 'holiday hacks' to keep trips pocket-friendly.
1. Beat £120 USA roaming charges using your UK tariff there for free.
The cheapest 'data' pack on O2 is £120, and the rest aren't much better. Yet my new 10 USA roaming tips guide shows how to use a UK tariff including unlimited data there (and in 17 other countries including Australia, New Zealand) at no extra cost.
2. Always turn your sun cream bottles around.
3. Play the Easyjet flight refund trick.
If you've booked Easyjet, check its flight price now – if it's dropped, our Easyjet refund trick shows how to get the difference back.
4. Free euros – get £10 boost on £50+ via a prepaid card.
Two new prepaid travel cards give a free cash boost and perfect exchange rates in a host of countries when you first load them.
5. Beware travel insurance tick boxes – cover a week from £6.
Don't just sign up to airlines' or others' insurance willy-nilly. Instead decent cover levels for a week in Europe start from just £6, or a year's family worldwide cover from £46. See Cheap Travel Insurance Deals.
6. Warning. EE customers and others beware your voicemail abroad.
In some countries you're charged £1/min to receive a message and another £1/min to listen – other networks can be hefty too. See full beat the voicemail roaming trap help.
7. Watch how to master the art of hand luggage packing.
Many hand luggage restrictions are about bag size, not weight, so our Packing Masterclass video shows how to pack more and keep it neat.
8. Turn your smartphone into a free sat nav.
If it's got GPS, you can convert it into a free sat nav for 28 countries, including Spain, France and the US. Download maps before you go so there are no pricey data roaming costs.
9. Spend five minutes now to get unbeatable exchange rates every trip.
Get a specialist cheap travel spending credit card with a direct debit to pay it off IN FULL every month. Eg, €500 this week costs roughly £403 at airport bureaux (walk-in rate), £366 at the Post Office and £359 on a top card.
10. Uncover secret hotels for big discounts before booking.
Secret hotel bookings are where you get big discounts on 3-5 star hotels worldwide at sites like Lastminute.com and Hotwire but don't know the exact hotel until booking. Unless, that is, you follow our Uncover Secret Hotels tips.
11. Don't delay holiday car hire – do it now and it can be £6/day.
There's still time to get cheap car hire at many holiday destinations, yet leave it until you're there and what's under a tenner daily now can be £50. For full help see Speedily Book Cheap Holiday Car Hire.
12. Find the best rates for foreign cash in seconds.
The TravelMoneyMax holiday money comparison tool compares over 40 bureaux.
13. How to get free annual travel insurance if you're over 65. `
Travel insurance can be hideously costly as you age, yet there are still cheap annual policies, and many get free cover from a bank.
14. Pack a child's car seat for free.
Whether you're hiring a car or not, if you travel in one, kids should be in a car seat. These cost up to £5/day to hire (or more if you're asking a taxi firm to provide), but many airlines let you take them for free. For a full list and more see Child Seat Tricks.
15. Save £100s on school holiday flights by booking the wrong Easyjet date.
Not 100% straightforward, but savings can be huge... Easyjet Flexifares Trick.
16. Special links slash the cost of airport parking.
Comparison sites show you how to park for minimum prices, eg £50/week at Heathrow, and you can use special cheap airport parking links to reduce it further.
17. Split ticketing works on flights too – slash long haul costs.
Want to fly to the US? It can sometimes be cheaper from Norway than the UK for example, so get a quick flight there first. Full info in Flight Split Ticketing.
18. Don't be fear-sold car hire excess insurance – get it 90% cheaper now.
When you pick up the car, hire firms push up to £20/day excess cover – usually with dire warnings of problems if you don't. But you can get standalone cheap excess insurance before you go for as little as £2/day.
19. Don't pay to take luggage, wear your baggage instead.
See Beat Baggage Fees for how to do it – airlines don't yet have rules to stop it.
20. You've now three weeks to get your DVLA code if hiring a car.
New rules this summer mean many will need a code to hire a car. You did only have three days to do it – now it's 21. See how to get your code.
21. 'A pound currently buys €1.41 – I'm not going yet, should I buy now?'
It's the question I've been asked all year – for my answer, read Worth snapping up €uros as the Greek crisis continues?
22. Free app to instantly generate your travel itinerary.
Forward your confirmation emails (flight, hotel, car hire) and a nifty free app instantly organises them into an itinerary. See Travel Planning Apps.
23. European annual travel cover isn't just for Europe.
Around the Mediterranean a few others can be included too, eg Turkey and Egypt. Europe cover loophole
24. Book big-brand car hire via a foreign website.
If you're dead-set on using a big name car hire firm, try booking via overseas websites.
25. The answer is "I'll pay in euros"...
If you're in a shop or at a cash machine overseas and are asked if you want to pay in pounds or the local currency, pay in the local currency. For why, see my pay in euros blog.