60+ overseas travel tips

Tricks to bag cheap flights, hotels & more

If you're planning a trip overseas, don't just wing it. This guide has lots of hidden tricks to save you money abroad.

Thinking of booking a trip? Your need-to-knows BEFORE you go

Whether you're planning to stomp across a great metropolis, explore the wonders of the natural world or dive head-first into a shimmering sea (or all three), before you just jump in and book, there are some important points for you to consider...

When is the best time to book?

You can make significant savings by timing your booking right. For example, if you're looking to go on a package holiday, booking late often wins. Waiting till the last minute – generally within eight weeks of travel – often pays off as prices usually plummet, though you've MUCH less choice. See more on pouncing on package holidays.

However, when it comes to booking flights, being early often means discounts.

Many airlines release seats 11 to 12 months ahead, with cheaper seats often released early.

You can't be sure these will be the very cheapest, as prices could drop later, so weigh up if you want to take the risk. But once all airlines that fly your route have released seats, it's worth checking prices and you're likely to get a decent deal. See airline-by-airline seat release dates and our Cheap flights guide.

Look for flexible bookings

Things can change quickly in the world of travel. So it's always worth looking for a holiday where you've no-quibble rights to change dates or cancel for a refund or voucher without charge

If you've booked a flight that's been cancelled, you've a legal right to a full refund, but some airlines now offer more flexibility if you choose to change your flight when it's still running, so check when booking.

British Passport. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Ensure your passport's valid

Know your passport's expiry date before you book. Some countries demand that it's valid for at least six months from your arrival. Plus, if your passport's worse for wear, ripped or water damaged for example, some countries may refuse you entry. Check the Government's foreign travel advice before you go.

A standard adult passport is £88.50 if you apply online. Currently the Passport Office says you'll usually get your passport back within three weeks. Leave it until the last minute and you risk having to pay £207.50 for its one-day premium service.

To renew yours, go to Gov.uk. Don't just google it – we've had reports of some being caught out by unofficial websites which charge extra, so always use the official Gov.uk link above to ensure you aren't caught out by a copycat site. See full help in Passport renewal tips.

  • Visiting the EU? You'll need at least three months left on your passport after the day you plan to leave – so may need to renew early

    Under rules introduced post-Brexit, now when you visit most EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, your passport will need to:

    • Be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave
    • AND be less than 10 years old on the day you travel

    So some will need to renew their passport earlier than normal. However, it's worth noting that it won't apply when visiting every EU country (for example, you won't need to do it when going to the Republic of Ireland).

    What's more, if you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date making it last longer than 10 years. But crucially some European countries don't count these extra months towards the validity needed. So to be safe, you may need to renew your passport early.

Check if you need a visa

Many countries require you to have certain documents in place or to meet other requirements before allowing you in. Depending on where you're travelling, you may need a visa (basically a certificate giving you permission to enter a country, which also dictates how long you can stay).

Some countries offer visas on arrival, others require visas in advance – sometimes a costly and lengthy process. If you're heading to the USA, you may qualify for the 'ESTA' visa-waiver scheme – but see a warning on arranging an ESTA below. And from 2025, a similar scheme will apply for travel within the EU.

You can check entry requirements for your destination using the Foreign Office's travel advice.

Quick question

  • Do I need a visa to travel in the EU?

    The EU has now said that from some time in 2025, expected to be May 2025, you'll have to buy a €7 visa-waiver if you want to travel to the EU. It's called an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System).

    You won't have to pay this for every trip though. The fee covers an electronic pass that will allow British citizens to go on short holidays over a period of three years before they have to renew. The pass is similar to the ESTA currently required to visit the United States.

Check official advice on travelling to your destination 

Besides keeping yourself out of harm's way, it's also important to check if your destination is considered 'safe' to visit, to make sure that your travel insurance is valid.

The Foreign Office issues country advice, and can advise against travel to certain destinations.

If there is an advisory against travel, it can invalidate your travel insurance if you do go away, with many providers refusing to pay out for issues – including cancellations – at destinations deemed to be 'unsafe'.

To check entry requirements, destination safety and other information, see the Government's foreign travel advice.

Consider the protection that comes with package holidays

The internet's great for flights or DIY city breaks. But if you're going away specifically for seven, 10 or 14 days to a traditional holiday destination, then good old-fashioned package holidays can often come up trumps. They can also offer valuable protection.

A package holiday is an all-in-one, where the tour operator provides flights, connections and accommodation for one price. They're best suited for standard breaks of standard length. So if it's a traditional holiday destination such as Florida or Crete, it's worth checking to see if you can get a package for less than doing it separately yourself.

  • When to book. Massive savings are possible in the late market, which are deals done within eight weeks of travel, yet of course there's restricted choice and you may need to be flexible. So if you need special facilities (for example, for families) you're going to have to book now and try to cut prices down.

  • How to cut prices. Tour operators make holidays while travel agents sell 'em. Therefore, many big tour operators' holidays are sold by multiple agents. If you're booking one, once you've found a specific deal, try calling up different agents and getting your haggle on to see if they can beat the price. You could save about 5% more. See Cheap package holidays.

Package holidays also usually have added ATOL and ABTA consumer protection (though always check when you book).

Or get protection with a DIY booking

Package holidays have long been protected under the ATOL scheme, so if something goes wrong you get your money back or help getting home.

But now, for bookings made since 1 July 2018, most DIY package holidays bought in the same transaction get the same cover as 'traditional' package holidays.

That means full financial protection (so you're entitled to a refund or to be brought home if necessary if the firm organising your package goes bust) AND legal protection (so you're covered if you don't get the holiday you paid for, for example, if your airline goes bust, or bad weather stops you travelling).

For more info, including what protection other types of holiday offer, see Holiday rights.

Once you've booked your trip you'll be emailed an ATOL certificate – keep it safe as you'll need it if anything goes wrong.

Swap Clubcard vouchers for hotels, transport & more, including Eurocamp, LeShuttle & P&O Cruises

If you collect Clubcard vouchers at Tesco, 500 points are usually worth £5 to spend in store. But spend them the right way and those 500 points could be worth £10. This is about exchanging Clubcard vouchers for codes to spend with Clubcard Reward Partners* on travel, food, days out and more.

As an example of some of the travel perks you can access, £5 in vouchers gets you £10 to spend at the following:

Plus, for instance, £1.50 in vouchers gets you 300 Virgin points to use at the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club*.

£5 in vouchers is worth £10 to spend

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And... avoid the 'perfect trip' trap

For many of us, a holiday's an invaluable way to relax and unwind – or gear up and party. Yet before you splash out, remember, the holiday industry is a beacon of commerciality. Travel marketing is honed to make you spend more and more, using emotive language such as "precious moments" and "magical memories". Don't be sucked in.

Too many plan a dream holiday, then only consider later how they'll pay for it. That's a sure-fire way to end up disappointed or broke.

Instead, ask "what can I afford to spend?" then work out how to have the best trip within that budget. A holiday lasts a week or so – don't ruin the rest of the year for it.

Use our free Budget Planner tool to help you plan. If you're saving for the trip, our Boost your income guide is crammed with tips to make extra cash.

Got your heart set on a destination? Check out our guides to NYC, Paris & more

Our destination guides include how to bag cheap flights, the top 10 free things to do and where to stay without breaking the bank, plus a host of MoneySaving tips unique to the place:

  • Amsterdam: Including free concerts and half-price hen dos. Amsterdam MoneySaving Tips

  • Barcelona: Including how to spot Gaudi's greats for free, Nou Camp discounts and where to find 'free' tapas. Barcelona Tips

  • Costa del Sol: Including Marbs, Malaga and Torre del Mar and how to bag a three-course meal for €15. Costa del Sol Tips

  • New York: Including how to sail past the Statue of Liberty for free and bag cheap Broadway tickets. New York Tips

  • Paris: Including cheap Disneyland Paris tickets and Eurostar returns. Paris Tips

  • Rome: Including how to beat Colosseum queues and where to find all-you-can-eat buffets for the price of a drink. Rome Tips

  • Multiple places in one: Want to squeeze the most out of your trip? Read How to multi-destination holiday like a MoneySaver.

About to book? Key points to protect yourself

A holiday is an important chance to relax and de-stress, but that comes at a price. A holiday or holidays can be some people's biggest spend of the year, so it's crucial to protect your hard-earned investment – and in this section, we show you how to do just that.

That includes making sure you pay in the right way plus the protection available if you're booking a package holiday, or you're booking flights and a hotel yourself, separately.

Ready to pay? Do it the right way for extra protection

If your flights or package holidays cost over £100, pay by credit card to nab extra protection. This is because when the item's over £100, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means the card company's equally liable if anything goes wrong.

This means, were the airline to go bust and you'd booked directly with it, you can at least get your money back from the card company. Always pay your card off in full at the end of the month so you're not charged interest. See our full Section 75 refunds guide.

More info:

  • Watch out for travel exceptions, including booking via a travel agent

    Bizarrely, if you're booking flights, Section 75 only covers you if each individual ticket comes to over £100. So if a couple bought two flights at £75 each, even though the transaction would be over £100, they wouldn't be covered. Plus if you aren't the primary cardholder and book your flight on an additional card, you won't be covered.

    Another exception's if you buy a flight via a travel agent. Even if the cost is over £100, Section 75 doesn't cover you here. Because you pay the travel agent, not the airline, the card company doesn't have a direct relationship with the supplier, so isn't considered liable.

  • Debit card payments get some protection too

    If you're paying by debit card, there's also valuable hidden protection that means you may be able to get your money back if something goes wrong. It's called chargeback, and applies to most debit and charge cards, as well as Visa, Mastercard and Amex credit cards – though it isn't a legal requirement. See our Chargeback guide for info.

All paid up? Now get travel insurance ASAB... (As Soon As you've Booked)

Get travel insurance as soon as you book. If not, you won't be covered for cancellation.

Going away two or more times a year? Annual policies are usually cheaper.

See our Cheap travel insurance guide for full best buys and help.

Is your EHIC still valid? If not, apply for a free GHIC

If you're off to an EU country or Switzerland, ensure you have a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or valid in-date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

European Health Insurance Card.

A GHIC or EHIC gives you treatment at state-run EU hospitals and GPs at the same cost as a local. So if they pay, you pay – if it's free for them, it's free for you. If you already have an EHIC, it will continue to cover you until it expires, so you MUST check it's still in-date as they expire after five years.

If you need to renew, or apply for the first time, you'll now receive a GHIC instead – but it does the same thing. For full help, including how to get one for FREE (never pay), see our Free GHIC or EHIC guide.

They're not a substitute for travel insurance – while very useful, they're only for medical cover. See Cheap travel insurance.

Off to the US? Beware unofficial ESTA sites

Everyone going to the States by air or sea needs to fill in an 'electronic system for travel authorisation' (ESTA) form.

Applications cost $21 each, yet beware googling it. Do this and you may be directed to sites that pretend to be the official webpage, and charge an additional fee to process your application. More details in Copycat websites.

Always apply via the official ESTA webpage. And see our ESTA guide for full info, including renewal help and safety tips.

Booking flights? What you need to know

Many people take to the skies when heading off on holiday, and in this section we'll reveal the top ways to prevent your costs from going sky-high.

Use the right cheap flight-finding site

Don't go direct to an airline – use the price comparison sites below to get lots of data in a very short time.

Top flight comparison sites

Comparison site  Why we like it



For comparison including baggage. We argue within MSE Towers about the very top pick, but Kayak* is Martin's favourite, so it wins. It's got a decent range of user-friendly filters – for example, you can specify at the start of a search whether or not you want to check in bags so you can compare costs more accurately.



For flight data info. We like Momondo* for its nifty tool that tells you the cheapest and most expensive dates around your flight, as well as helpful insights such as the cheapest airport to fly from and to. It doesn't do it for all destinations, but it has some of the biggies, including New York, Dubai, Sydney, Cape Town.

Google Flights
For speed and ease of use. The search engine might not be the first place you think of when booking a holiday, but Google Flights is a decent rival to the likes of Kayak and Momondo. Once you've selected a route, it immediately shows you how prices vary depending on which dates you fly.
Other sites worth checking

See our Cheap flights guide for more top tips.

How to bag the best plane seats

Want to know whether 18E beats 19C? When you're choosing seats, use specialist sites SeatGuru or Skytrax to check the plane's seating plan and see where's best to pick.

Yet choosing the ideal seat can come with a price premium – up to £30 each way for a standard seat, or as much as £60 each way for extra legroom.

For full info on your seating rights and how to sit together for free on big airlines, see our Airline seating guide.

Book a cheap package just for the flight

Scheduled flights to some destinations, such as Orlando and Sri Lanka, can be silly money, yet packages there can sometimes come in much cheaper.

If you only need the flight, check if there's a cheaper package holiday, then grab it but DON'T stay in the hotel.

Martin once helped a friend book a £300 Sri Lanka holiday for the flight when the cheapest scheduled deal was £1,000+. See our Cheap package holidays guide.

Check if you can save by splitting your ticket

It's easy to search for flights from A to B but don't assume it's the cheapest way. Splitting tickets is commonly associated with trains (see Cheap train tickets) but it can work with flights too, if you're willing to do the research.

Use multi-destination options on the comparison sites above (top picks are Kayak*, Momondo* and Google Flights) to see if you can save by flying to one airport and returning from another. For example, flying out from London Heathrow to Los Angeles and flying back from San Francisco to London Heathrow.

These are sometimes called 'open-jaw' tickets and may be cheaper than bog-standard returns. They can also eliminate the need for backtracking if you plan to visit more than one city. For more flight tricks, see our Cheap flights guide.

The codeshare trick: where two airlines sell the same flight

If you like flying with a specific airline or know the exact flight you want, 'codesharing' could be a way to get a flight with that airline, via another one. It's when airlines buddy up to sell seats on each other's flights, sometimes at a different price.

For example, when we looked, we found a Virgin Atlantic return flight from London to Las Vegas in October for £754, booking via Virgin Atlantic. But exactly the same flight booked via its partner Delta cost £655, saving £99.

This works best on popular medium or long-haul routes. For a full how-to, see our Cheap flights guide.

Max Avios points for flights and more


Avios is the points scheme formed from Air Miles and BA Miles in 2011 – you can use it to grab flights, upgrades and more (you still need to pay taxes and charges).

Many mistake it for a frequent flyer scheme. It's actually a points scheme similar to Nectar and Clubcard, and there are loads of different ways to earn them.

Unlike the old Air Miles system, Avios charges passengers taxes and fees on flights. But it has some benefits over its predecessor. Avios customers can book one-way and 'open-jaw' tickets – for example, London to Vegas, then LA to London – and can use points to upgrade cabin class.

We've a full list of tips in Ways to boost and max Avios.

Many airlines let you take child car seats and buggies for free

Renting a child's car seat can add about £5 a day to the cost of hiring a car when away, and can hike taxi fares sharply too – for example, we were quoted an extra €12 for a one-way journey from Barcelona Airport to the city centre.

There are alternative options – for instance, some airports have stalls such as Malaga's Tots Store where seats can be rented at half the cost. But your best bet may be to take your own.

Many airlines let you check in a car seat and fully collapsible pushchair for free, in addition to your usual luggage allowance. For example, Easyjet lets you take two items for free, including travel cots, buggies and car seats. The rules can, however, vary by airline.

It's worth noting some car seats can also be used on the plane (if you've paid for your child to have their own seat). The car seat will have to meet certain criteria though, and it depends on the plane you're travelling on, so check in advance.

For more tips on taking your own car seat, see ex-MSE Steve N's blog: How bubble wrap and a roll of Sellotape has saved me £100s on family holidays.

Niche travel agents may be cheaper

The UK's a melting pot of different immigrant and ethnic communities, and this can be used to great advantage for a cheap flight booking. Niche travel agents often specialise in finding deals to the relevant communities' linked countries.

For example, Shepherd's Bush in London and the surrounding area has some Caribbean specialist tour agents.

Don't forget to check prices elsewhere before you buy, to make sure you're getting a good deal. If you know of a cheap specialist travel agent, please let us know in the forum.

Wear your luggage!

Luggage charges can soon add up, but wearing your luggage is a great way to help cut down the amount you need to check in.

To minimise weight, wear your heaviest clothes and shoes. If you're near the weight limit, put heavy gear in your pockets, then stow your jacket under your seat on the plane.

Another option is a specialist big-pocket jacket. You could try to look out for any jacket with a 'poacher's pocket' – a deep lower pocket at the back where hunters keep game.

These are common at outdoor or survivalist stores, but eBay and Amazon may sell them cheaper so try searching for terms such as 'survival vest' to see if there's something suitable for all your travel essentials.

One version, popular with Forumites, was the Rufus Roo – it used to be £29.99 on Amazon, but is no longer available. You may be able to find something similar elsewhere.

Avoid hefty fees for checking in at the airport

Sadly, budget airlines can charge up to an eye-watering £110 per person, per return, just to check in at the airport. So do this free online first. See our Budget flight fee-fighting guide for more tricks to avoid check-in fees.

Don't get stung by luggage fees on the way back

Many people jet home from a holiday with more than they took. Yet if you plan to shop, ensure you leave space in your luggage for the return journey when you pack. Forget to do this and you may be forced to pay extra charges to get it all home, or risk having to ditch your sombreros and straw donkeys at the airport.

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Tips for traversing the airport

Navigating a bustling airport while buried underneath baggage can make for an unwelcome bookend to your trip away. Make it as stress-free as possible by following our key tips for in and around the airport.

SLASH airport parking costs

Airports often make more from parking and shopping than planes. Leave the car there without booking first and you risk sky-high rates, so don't just turn up. Booking first, even on the day, could save money.

See our Cheap airport parking guide for the full technique, plus safety tips, how to snaffle hidden local discounts and more.

Many airports charge just to drop somebody off – how to avoid it

Our investigation found airports make you pay up to £7 for a five-minute drop-off outside the terminal.

When we checked in January 2024, Stansted had a £7 drop-off charge for 10 minutes, Gatwick was £6 for 10 minutes, plus £1 per additional minute up to 20 minutes. Manchester was £5 for five minutes, or £6 for 10 minutes. Heathrow charged £5 for up to 10 minutes, but from 29 August 2023 you might also have to pay the £12.50 ULEZ charge if your vehicle is non-compliant. See our ULEZ news story for more information. However, the airports that charge often have little-known free drop-off areas, albeit a bus ride or short walk away from the terminal.

See a full list of which major airports charge plus ways to beat the charges in the Airports hike 'kiss and fly' drop-off charges MSE News story.

Liquids are banned through airport security – but not food

Airlines make extra cash by flogging snacks to hungry flyers at sky-high prices – a splurge on airline snacks could easily undo the savings on your ticket.

Yet as it's only liquids that you can't take through security, you can plan ahead and bring your own snacks and sarnies with you. For example, just the £2.50 spend on a single mini Pringles tube can often buy three of them in a supermarket, making it much cheaper to bring your own.

More info:

  • Tips on the perfect picnic at 35,000 feet

    Packed meals don't need to be drab – you could even theme it around your holiday destination. This can be a great way to get kids (and big kids) excited about the trip. Canny MSE Forumites have compiled a huge list of cheap and delicious packed lunch ideas, from Spanish omelettes to Greek salads.

    One MoneySaver recommends taking juice drinks that are under the liquid allowance limit – "We take these, they're only 85ml so are OK," @ShedOnBeach told us via Twitter.

    If you're already at the airport, Forumites report Boots meal deals can come in cheaper than plane equivalents, though always check. See the What to eat on a flight? forum discussion for more.

  • Check airline and airport restrictions

    Different airlines and airports may have their own restrictions, so check first. For example, Ryanair says passengers can take their own food and drink on board, but not hot drinks. You can usually also take an empty water bottle through security to refill and bring on to the plane with you, though overseas you'll need to check what different airports' policies are – see how to find free water.

    The Civil Aviation Authority says while there's no obligation for airlines to provide free water, it's in the cabin crew's interest to avoid passengers becoming dehydrated. So don't automatically buy pricey drinks if you're thirsty – try asking. Also do check out our Free tap water Q&A.

How to find FREE water at airports for your flight – and avoid rip-off prices after security

Restrictions on taking liquids in hand luggage mean passengers often shell out for pricey bottles of water once in the departure lounge, or on the plane.

But many airports have water fountains after security where you can fill up an empty water bottle or Thermos flask for free – you just have to know where to find 'em.

To help, we've compiled a handy guide to exactly where you can find free drinking fountains at over 20 of the UK's biggest airports. Simply take an empty bottle with you through security – the Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed this IS allowed – and fill it up before getting on the plane.

Where to find free water fountains – airport by airport:

  • Heathrow

    It's the biggest airport in the UK – and one of the best when it comes to free drinking water. Its website says: "We have over 100 water fountains across Heathrow's four terminals clearly signposted and located at most toilets where you are welcome to fill up your water bottles."

    To see the exact location of each one, search this interactive map for 'drinking fountains'.

  • Gatwick

    Gatwick has water fountains available after security in both terminals. Its website also says: "All the restaurants and bars will fill bottles for free."

    • North terminal: There are two fountains on the right-hand side of the entrance to the World Duty Free store. There's another near the toilets on the lower level by WHSmith, and one on the upper level by Wagamama.

    • South terminal: There's a fountain on the upper level next to the World Duty Free store and the toilets. There is another on the lower lever, next to Harrods, at the entrance to the toilets. 

    There are also water fountains in the immigration halls of both terminals, outside the toilets before going through passport control.

  • Stansted

    Stansted has water fountains in the following locations:

    • Main departure lounge: In the toilet area by Pret a Manger.

    • Boarding gates: Around gates one to 19 and 40 to 59.

    • Passport control

    • Baggage reclaim

    • Arrivals area
  • Manchester

    Manchester Airport has water fountains in each of its terminals. Its website says you can also ask to refill your bottle at all of the restaurants and bars in the airport.

    • T1 departures – A water fountain can be found on the left side of the corridor after you leave security area A. If you're exiting security area B, you'll see it as you enter the corridor that leads into the first concourse.

    • T2 departures – There's a water fountain after the security area, in the corridor towards departures.

    • T3 departures – A water fountain is located in the corridor between the Trattoria Milano restaurant and the Lion and Antelope pub.

    • T1 arrivals – A water fountain can be found in the level 4 UK Border Agency queuing area, right by the toilets.

    • T2 arrivals – There's a water fountain at immigration.

    • T3 arrivals – The water fountain is in the international baggage reclaim hall.
  • Luton

    Luton Airport has water fountains just after security. You can find them beside the lifts to the departure lounge. Its website also says: "Most of our food outlets will provide free tap water upon request".

  • Edinburgh

    Edinburgh has a water fountain in the departure lounge, on the left as you leave the World Duty Free area.

  • Birmingham

    Birmingham Airport told us it has a number of water fountains, before and after security. Its website also says: "Alternatively you can request tap water at any food/catering outlets."

    • Before security. At the OCS Special Assistance Area.

    • After security. Within the main departure lounge, there's one behind Bottega Prosecco Bar & Cafe, another adjacent to the toilets behind the No1 Lounge, on the International Pier by the departure gates (Gate 47 & Gate 52) and in the Pier Bussing lounge.
    • Arrivals area. At the north baggage reclaim area.
  • Bristol

    Bristol Airport has a handy map of its terminal building, showing where you can find water fountains.

  • Glasgow

    Glasgow Airport has several water fountains:

    • Two in the departure lounge – one next to Caledonian Bar and one opposite Starbucks (next to the toilets)
    • Two on the central pier – one opposite WHSmith, one next to Bar & Café
    • One on the west pier next to Tennent's Bar
    • One on the east pier next to Mozzo Bar
    • One in terminal two, next to the old Ryanair desk
    • One in the domestic baggage hall, at the front of the toilets
    • One in the international baggage hall, at the front of the toilets

    While the fountains themselves aren't marked, this airport map might help you find the bars and shops mentioned above.

  • Belfast International

    Belfast International has two water fountains. The first is at gate 14, and the second is on the way to international departure gates 21 to 29.

  • Liverpool John Lennon

    Liverpool John Lennon Airport has two water fountains. It says they're located at either end of the departure lounge – one by the picnic area near gate three, the other near gate 30.

    It says free drinking water is also available from all food and drink retailers at the airport.

  • Leeds Bradford

    Leeds Bradford now has a water fountain after security, on the ground floor of departures towards the smoking area.

    Its website says: "Alternatively, receive free drinking water from any of our bars and restaurants."

  • London City

    London City now has a water fountain after security, next to gates seven and eight.

    Its website says: "Passengers can also refill their water bottles at any of our food and drink concessions."

  • East Midlands

    East Midlands has a water fountain at the back of its security hall.

  • Aberdeen

    Aberdeen Airport has a number of water fountains after security. They're marked on this map of the terminal.

  • George Best Belfast City

    Belfast City Airport has confirmed it's installed a water fountain in the departure lounge, after security. You'll find it in the seating area behind WHSmith.

  • Cardiff

    Cardiff Airport now has six water fountains. There are two in the main departure lounge and one on each of the departure piers.

    There are also fountains in the landside arrivals area and the baggage reclaim hall.

  • Inverness

    Inverness Airport has designated drinking water taps in its bathrooms. There is also a drinking fountain in the departures lounge.

  • Jersey

    Jersey Airport now has four water fountains. Here's where you can find them:

    • Immediately after security
    • In the quiet lounge (turn right after World Duty Free)
    • In the passenger pier (on the way to the gates)
    • In the arrivals baggage hall
  • Southampton

    Southampton Airport has one water fountain after you go through security. As you enter the departure lounge through World Duty Free, turn left and the fountain is next to the toilets on the ground floor.

    It provided us with this handy map to show where the fountain is located (it's by the orange arrow).

  • Exeter

    Since we launched our investigation, Exeter Airport says it has installed a water fountain in the corridor leading to the boarding gates.

  • London Southend

    London Southend now has a water fountain located at the top of the escalator, directly after security.

    Its website says: "Drinking water is also readily available in our food and beverage outlets."

MSE believes that all UK airports should provide free drinking water fountains for their passengers. Sadly not all do – when we last enquired, these airports told us they don't have any:

Bournemouth, Cornwall Airport Newquay, City of Derry, Teesside International, Glasgow Prestwick, Newcastle, and Norwich.

A number of them said you're welcome to ask cafés and restaurants to fill up bottles for free however, even if you're not making a purchase.

Grab cheap or FREE access to airport lounges

Airport lounges aren't just reserved for first-class, business-class or elite frequent flyers. Access can be free with certain credit cards or bank accounts, or you can get it cheaply via frequent flyer schemes such as Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club.

One-off passes start from about £20 per person. Given you could pay that for food and drinks alone at the airport, it can be good value, especially when you usually get a comfy seat in peace, and a newspaper or magazine thrown in too. 

Our Free or cheap airport lounges guide has top tips, including the credit card that'll get you free access.

Dress kids in bright colours to stop you losing them at the airport

If you have kids (or you've ever seen Home Alone), you'll know how hard it can be to keep an eye on them in crowded places – especially if you're hurrying to catch a plane or transfer. So one way to keep tabs on the tiddlers is to dress them so they'll stick out like a sore thumb.

Ex-MSE Andrea uses this trick every time she goes away with her family.

I pop my kids in bright coloured hats or clothes with spots on so they stand out when we're travelling. We also take a photo of them on our phones in what they're wearing before we leave. If they get lost, we can show someone the photo – much easier than describing them.

Check out more, ahem, bright ideas in the Tips to keep kids safe when travelling discussion.

Now, where to stay? Travel tips for when booking accommodation

Whether it's a hotel, tent or treehouse, a bivvy, bothy or yurt, we all need a place to stay when we're going away. Here's what you need to know when booking yourself some accommodation.


Manipulate hotel prices with our rebook tricks

Rates fluctuate, but if you find a good deal on a room with free cancellation then grab it, monitor prices, and cancel and rebook if it drops. Some booking sites will also match prices if they fall later. Both strategies can pay off, but have their risks – see hotel rebook tricks.

Uncover secret bargains on five-star hotels

The secret hotel section at Lastminute.com* has bargains on four and five-star hotels worldwide (including London), because you only know the description and star rating before you pay. This can mean rock-bottom prices for classy establishments.

Yet often you can cut and paste key phrases into Google to discover which hotel it is. Once you know the hotel's identity, check reviews on TripAdvisor and whether it's really a bargain compared with what you can get through comparison sites. See our Secret hotels guide for how. Some inspiration from MoneySavers:

But... don't trust the hotel star-system

The star rating system isn't standardised worldwide, and it's usually just an indicator of facilities, rather than quality. A five-star may not live up to its hype – it just means it has extra facilities, so don't just rely on this if you're after a swanky getaway.

Stars may be given by governments, review organisations or even the hotel itself. Package tour operators tend to be overly generous, often a star higher than independent reviews.

To uncover a real gem, use TripAdvisor feedback to help you to find a hotel. It isn't perfect, but ignore the very best and very worst feedback and it's a handy gauge.

I booked the five-star Grange St Paul's Hotel in London for £109 (rack rate £215). OH YEAH BABY.

I booked the Hilton London Paddington for £69 for a double room. I had a look on the Hilton website and the equivalent cost would be £205 – bargain!

Posh villas and apartments can cost £1,000 less than posh hotels

If you don't fancy battling for a sun-lounger each morning, villas offer space for large groups of friends, or families with kids who need to let off steam.

As a rule of thumb, the larger the group, the bigger the per-person saving, so they're great if there's a party of you going. When we checked, we found a three-bedroom villa in Malaga priced at £352 for a week's stay in mid-August, compared with a nearby hotel costing £1,420.

Direct booking sites let you quickly search for holiday rentals. Our top picks are Airbnb for flexible booking options, Vrbo* for global reach, Clickstay* for easy payments and TripAdvisor  for search. Be careful how you pay. You book directly with an owner, so there's less protection. Plus check it's not a fake villa – see Cheap holiday rentals for safety tips.

Try hostels for cheap accommodation

Don't think hostels automatically mean dorm bunks. Many offer singles, twins and doubles, and they can offer massive savings over hotel prices.

While a few may be squalid, many are clean and friendly, even offering free internet access and breakfast. In the UK, Youth Hostels Association* (YHA) and Hostelling Scotland properties include fabulous castles and mansions.

To check out prices and availability, use Hostelworld*, which gives hostels a percentage rating based on visitors' experiences. To read more reviews from past hostel guests and compare prices, try Hostelz.com.

Renting a car? Your car hire need-to-knows

Hiring a car isn't always necessary, but if you need some wheels for your trip, check out our top booking tips below.

Slash car hire costs with our tips and tricks

Holiday car hire can save a hefty whack on taxis to and from the airport. If you're going to need it (see below for alternatives), book the right way to grab it as cheaply as possible.

You can find full details of current deals and tips 'n' tricks in our Cheap car hire guide. Here are the key points:

  • Work out what you need. There's often a mass of costly add-ons on offer, including air-con, sat-navs and charges for extra drivers. Before you book, work out what you need and ditch the rest.

  • Quickly compare quotes. Next, take the legwork out of your search by using the right comparison sites to grab the most quotes in the least time. Our top picks are Skyscanner*Kayak*, TravelSupermarket* and Carrentals*.

  • Check for extra discounts. See if you can squash the price further via fly-drive package deals, cashback, specialist travel brokers and online vouchers.

It's important to note that if you are planning on booking a car, you'll need to get a code from the DVLA before you go, but bear in mind it expires after 21 days. Read more in our Car hire guide, under ways to supercharge the savings.

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Beware pricey excess insurance

If you're hiring a car, hopefully the closest you'll come to crashing is post-holiday ice-cream withdrawal. But if the worst happens, bear in mind that while there's some cover for hire car damage, there's usually a big problem:

Check the 'excess' – the amount that you'll pay towards any claim. If it's high (about £500), any scratches or minor damage will be expensive.

To get round this, hire firms try to flog costly excess insurance at pick-up. This is usually a costly extra at about £25 a day, especially with cheap hire companies, as often their profits come from the insurance.

Yet it's possible to grab cheap excess insurance for less than £2 a day via comparison site Moneymaxim*. See full cheapest excess insurance info.

Consider car hire alternatives

Before you book car hire for your hols, don't forget to consider the alternatives. Unnecessary car hire can be an expensive, unused hindrance.

Car swaps, public transport and even taking your own car may work out cheaper for some destinations. Go through this checklist first:

  • Look into public transport. In Florida or LA, many will need a car for the huge city distances. But in New York you can't park anywhere, so the subway wins. Many European cities have great public transport, so always check. The free Citymapper app covers cities worldwide, including most of the US and Europe.

  • Check taxi prices. If you plan to spend most of your time topping up your tan rather than travelling, a few taxi rides may be cheaper. International taxi fare calculator TaxiFareFinder gives an estimate of what journeys might cost.

  • Take your own car. If venturing on to Europe's roads, it may be possible to take your own car. All UK car insurance policies automatically provide the correct minimum cover required by law in all EU countries, but check if the full cover extends to Europe, and also see if you need a 'green card'. Full info in Cheap car insurance.

Prepping to go? Here are your pre-trip need-to-knows

In can be equal parts stress, excitement and relief, but regardless of how it makes you feel, preparing for your trip away is something you can't ignore. Here's some MoneySaving magic to make use of before you leave for your hols.

Grab an overseas credit card to bag near-perfect rates

Most cards add a 3% cost on top of the exchange rates that banks themselves get. You can avoid this by packing a specialist card that doesn't add this 'load', meaning you'll get near-perfect exchange rates which beat even the best bureaux de change. Pocket one just for spending overseas (and always repay IN FULL to avoid interest). Generally, you'll need to apply between one and three weeks before you go.

- Top-pick credit card: Credit card Halifax Clarity (check eligibility chances) gives £20 cashback when you use it to make your first purchase (even 1p) within the first 90 days. Be aware though, you'll be charged between 23.94% and 29.94% interest on ATM withdrawals, so it's best suited for spending on, rather than withdrawing cash. ONLY get it if you'll repay IN FULL each month to avoid interest, or it defeats the purpose. See Travel credit cards for full info.

- Top-pick debit card: The debit card from app-only Chase Bank* has no overseas fees on spending and the first £1,500/month of cash withdrawals (be careful if you'll need more). You can also get 1% cashback on most purchases.

You'll need to apply for a new bank account, yet here it's only a 'soft' credit check, so there's no permanent mark on your credit report. You can use it as a second account without switching, but unlike a credit card, you will need to load cash into the account before using it.

Full options in Travel debit cards or, for a similar method, see Top prepaid travel cards.

Use TravelMoneyMax for the best rates

You're a captive customer at an airport or ferry terminal, so you'll probably be lumbered with the worst rates. If you must get your travel cash from the airport, order ahead then pick it up to get a better rate.

Use our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool to instantly uncover the best possible deal, including all fees and any commission. 

The tool lists all the big currencies, and also lets you see who's cheapest for exchanging unused currency back into pounds when you get back (if you've any left).

Always turn your sun cream bottles around

24 M

That's right... simply turn your old sun cream bottles around and you should spot a little number on the back which could save you big.

Many automatically buy sun lotion every time they jet off, but there's often no need to shell out – open bottles can still be effective for up to two years. The number you should find on the back of the bottle is a period after opening (PAO) number, which tells you how long you can keep using it for.

It'll normally look like a tub with an open lid and a number next to it (for example, 12 or 24) – that's the number of months after opening during which it should be OK to use.

The British Skin Foundation says: "Sun tan lotions may, given time, start to separate and become less effective, so it's always worth noting down on the bottle when it was first opened."

It also recommends storing your sun lotion in a cool, dark place, and avoiding leaving it in direct sunlight.

It's worth noting the PAO number isn't the same thing as the best before date, so check that too. The British Skin Foundation says you should always throw away sun cream that has passed its best before date.

Plus... don't assume a pricier sun lotion is safer – get five-star UVA protection from as little as £2.49

Branded sun lotions can set you back up to a whopping £25 for a 200ml bottle on the high street. However, it's possible to downshift to an own-brand alternative without losing protection. Plus, skin care experts say they check out on skin safety.

The British Skin Foundation told us: "When choosing a sunscreen, rather than price or retailer, the two most important factors to look out for are its SPF and UVA rating.

"Firstly SPF, or sun protection factor, is the level of protection sunscreen gives against UVB radiation, the type that causes sunburn. This is usually on the front of the product. We recommend choosing one at SPF 30 or higher.

"Secondly, check the UVA rating, which tends to be on the back. Ideally, aim for four or five stars."

The UVA rating tells you how much protection the product is giving you from harmful long-wave ultra-violet UVA rays. Some bottles have a star rating and those that don't should at least have a circle with the letters UVA inside, as this indicates the minimum level of UVA protection. These are the logos you should be looking for.

Here's where we found cheaper own-brand alternatives with five-star UVA protection:

Retailer/product Price
Aldi – Lacura sun lotion SPF 30, 200ml £2.49
Asda – Protect SPF 30, 200ml £2.80
Tesco* – Soleil sensitive SPF 30, 200ml £3.20
Superdrug – Solait SPF 30, 200ml £3.59
Boots* – Soltan SPF 30, 200ml


Morrisons*  sun lotion SPF 30, 200ml (vegan)
Sainsbury's – Sun Protect kids coloured SPF 50+, 200ml
Prices checked Tuesday 4 June 2024

If you can't ditch a brand you know and trust, try comparing prices and checking offers online on supermarket websites, plus Boots and Superdrug.

Do note: Sun cream will be more difficult to find in the winter months in the UK, so to get the prices above you might have to pre-purchase in summer for your winter ski trip or jaunt to the southern hemisphere.

Bear in mind that some sun creams can contain chemicals that hurt coral reefs and a few island countries ban them. So if you want to protect the environment and avoid them, watch out for ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. You can see the full list of 10 chemicals on the International Coral Reef Initiative's website.

Check big excursion ticket prices before you go

Whether it's Disney, Universal Studios, a balloon trip or an aqua park, search early doors to see if there are web vouchers or cheap tickets. Specialist ticket agents can undercut buying direct, so use the theme park's own prices as a benchmark to beat.

For full details see our Cheap Disney tickets guide.

Use a free app to keep track of your travel plans

If you're planning a big trip, don't just let a mass of disorganised booking confirmation emails pile up.

Download the handy smartphone app TripIt – available free for iPhone and Android. Simply forward all your confirmation emails to it and it'll automatically sort them into a smart itinerary. You can also try Remember The Milk – free on iPhone and Android – which helps organise to-do lists.

Other tips:

  • Create a separate folder for crucial booking info

    An easy trick to keep on top of travel booking details is to set up a separate folder in your email inbox with a memorable title, for example, "Thailand 2025". Move booking confirmation emails in as soon as they arrive. Give it a quick check before you leave to make sure you've got all the key info.

  • Print essential docs before you go

    Some bookings will need printouts on arrival, such as airport transfer vouchers. Forget these and you risk having to pay to use printing facilities at the airport, or face problems on arrival. So print them in good time and store them safely with your passport.

Make your own travel-size toiletries

Travel-size lotions and potions can be pricey. Retailers know they're convenience goods and charge accordingly – but you don't have to pay through the nose to smell like a rose.

Our investigation in 2019 showed travel toiletries were up to seven times more expensive. Prices may have changed, but the mark-up hasn't. When we checked, a 90ml travel size Aussie shampoo was £2.50 in Boots (£2.78 per 100ml). Yet the full-size 500ml version worked out at £1.20 per 100ml, around 60% cheaper if you'd buy a full bottle anyway.

So instead of buying pricey travel size versions, grab some small clean empty bottles, and fill 'em up from your everyday toiletries (this is where complimentary mini-toiletry bottles from previous hotel stays come in handy).

Don't pay airport prices for travel accessories – try discounters

Pick up travel accessories such as eye masks and travel cushions and adapters at the airport and you risk paying inflated prices for last-second shoppers.

So plan ahead – you can often purchase them cheaply at discounters like Home Bargains, B&M, or pound shops. It's also worth checking prices at supermarkets, plus Boots and Superdrug. For adapters, the Travel Adaptor website has useful country-by-country info.

It's worth noting that even though many airports, hostels and hotels now have USB sockets on the wall, or adaptors you can borrow, it's safer and recommended to use your own USB plug – especially for devices like phones or tablets where data security is important.

Compare travel meds prices to get 'em for less

If you're jetting abroad, ensure you're vaccinated against any nasties before you go. Your GP will offer some vaccinations for free, but others can cost about £50. Some even require more than one dose, meaning costs shoot up quickly.

The NHS Fit For Travel site has a handy country-by-country guide, while the main NHS website lists which vaccinations are free and which cost.

If you need to pay for travel meds, NHS prescription prices are fixed, but pharmacies can set their own for private prescriptions. These are given when you want a drug not covered by the NHS in your region, such as Malarone, which prevents malaria.

See our Medicine savings guide for more ways to save.


Free app translates 59 languages offline – download it before you go...

Here's a handy trick to turn a smartphone into a personal translator for free – without the need to use any costly data or even Wi-Fi abroad.

The Google Translate app's available on Android and iPhone. It's free, and lets you translate words and phrases to and from your chosen language. If you have internet access, you can translate between over 100 languages.

You do this by typing the text in, which works for all supported languages. The app can also use your camera to automatically translate text in real time or via a photo, though it's not always accurate, and not available for every language.

Download it before you go

You can download free language packs in advance, which means the app will then work offline overseas. Each language pack is about 150MB, so ensure you download it in the UK via Wi-Fi.

To get these, open the app, press the menu button and select 'offline languages', then tap the pin button for each language you want to download.

More info:

  • On Android

    The offline translation feature's only available if you're running a later Android system – which version you'll need depends on your phone.

    To check which version yours is on, go to 'Settings', then 'About device' or 'About phone'. You should be able to update the phone's software from here too.

  • On iPhone

    Once you're using the app on iPhone, it's also possible to save translations to your phone while you're online. To do this, press the star icon next to each phrase you want to store offline in the app.

    It isn't perfect, but this can be a handy workaround if you're keen.

... or download a FREE app to help you talk like a local

You can learn 43 languages completely free via language-learning app and website Duolingo. It has all the standards such as French, Spanish and Italian – but there's even 'High Valyrian' and 'Klingon' for Game of Thrones and Star Trek fans. Sadly, some languages – such as Sardinian – are not yet included.

How does it work?

The app's available for iPhone and Android phones. It's free to download but there are optional in-app purchases. You can also learn via Duolingo's website.

You can set yourself goals of practising for five to 20 minutes each day, and it tries to make learning fun by turning each lesson into a game (for example, you lose lives when you get questions wrong).

Check again, it doesn't say what you think!

Forumite Hermia has been learning French via the app:

I love it. I honestly have learned more from the app than I have from three years of classes at school!

Get focused travel info for free

If you plan to explore beyond a trip to the pool, pick your must-sees and transport before you go (see car hire alternatives).

Forget to do this and you risk shelling out on pricey last-minute trips, or ending up stranded at the hotel.

For ideas, TripAdvisor has a handy 'things to do' section with reviews of holiday attractions, activities, nightlife and shopping. Travel guidebooks can also offer valuable local knowledge on the go. Instead of buying, try the library.


Download the free Citymapper app to navigate like a local

Navigating public transport in an unfamiliar city can be daunting. But don't be tempted to automatically fork out for cabs – the free Citymapper app will have you hopping on and off the metro or subway like a true Parisian or New Yorker.

You can use it in over 100 cities around the world, including London, New York, Barcelona and Hong Kong. It's available for iPhone and Android, or you can use the web app.

How does it work?

The 'Get me somewhere' function is easy to use – enter your destination and starting point to find the best route from A to B. It finds various public transport options, including bus-only, rain safe – for routes that minimise travel outdoors – and wheelchair accessible. Not only that, it will show you how long it would take to walk, cycle or take a cab.

The app covers a number of public transport options, which will naturally vary depending on the city you're in. These include bus, metro/subway, rail, tram and cycle docks. You can also use it to view transport maps, such as bus routes.

How to use the app offline

While it's a handy app to use abroad, make sure you don't rack up big data charges. Unless you're able to use your data for free, it's best to switch off mobile data and use Wi-Fi to plan your route (for example, at your hotel or a café). You can then save your journey offline using the star in the top right of the screen.

A sat-nav on a mobile phone.

Turn your phone into a free worldwide sat-nav to avoid hefty charges

There's a nifty, free way to turn your smartphone into a sat-nav you can use abroad. Simply download one of the following free apps to your phone (many of you will already have Google Maps).

While the apps won't have the bells and whistles of a traditional sat-nav, crucially, you won't have to use any data when overseas.

Download the apps and maps before you go and then they're stored offline on your phone – the apps use your phone's built-in GPS to locate you and you don't need data or Wi-Fi. As you're not using data, you won't get traffic alerts – you'll get the shortest route based on the assumption there's no traffic, which isn't always going to be the quickest route.

Here are our three top-pick sat-nav apps – all free to download and use:

Google Maps.
  • Google Maps: Works offline too – so download before you go. The Google Maps app (for iPhone and Android) is easy to use, and includes restaurants and reviews. You can use it offline, as long as you download maps in advance. It also offers real-time traffic and train info, though for that you'll need a Wi-Fi or data connection.

  • How to download Google Maps to use offline

    • Search for the area you want.

    • Tap the three horizontal lines in the top left of the screen, then select 'Offline areas'.

    • It'll give you the option to select 'local' or 'home', or a 'custom area'. 'Local' or 'home' selects an area surrounding where your search is – 'custom' lets you specify an area.

    • The maps you've downloaded are stored in the 'offline areas' section.
  • Navmii: Great for driving and country-by-country apps. Navmii is free for iPhone and Android. It comes with route planning, voice prompts, mileage tracking and real-time hazard reporting. 

    Navmii has maps for about 200 countries, including the UK – to find them, search in your phone's app store for Navmii plus the country, for example, 'Navmii France'. If you prefer, you can download a worldwide app to cover the lot.

  • Maps.Me: Top for detail, including hiking trails and ATMs. Maps.Me allows users to add data to maps – such as places of interest or trails, for example. It works in a similar way to Wikipedia with users making contributions, which is why its maps are so detailed. It also includes islands in addition to whole countries – great if you're going off the beaten track. It's available for iPhone and Android.

Driving abroad? Check if your UK licence is valid

You DON'T need an international driving permit (IDP) alongside your normal UK driving licence to drive in the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. That's despite the UK having left the EU – see our Driving in Europe guide for full details.

Beware websites selling 'international driving licences' – these aren't legally recognised documents, so don't get caught out.

International driving permit specimen.

An IDP is required or recommended in about 140 countries around the world, including the USA, Thailand and India. Drive without one where it's needed and you risk trouble with the authorities, and may be refused a hire car.

It's in booklet format and there are three types, called 1926, 1949 and 1968 (they're the same price). Which you'll need depends on where you're off to. See our How do I renew my driving licence? guide for full details.

Plus... driving in Europe? Check insurance, breakdown, equipment and road rules

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning an overseas road trip, yet forget these tips and your dream drive may look more like a Mad Max outtake.

Here are our top tips:

  • Car insurance. Most comprehensive and third party, fire and theft policies become third party outside of the UK. They'll pay if you damage another car – or someone else's property – but not your own, and there's no cover if your car's stolen abroad.

    You may need to notify your insurer of your trip, so check your policy or call to confirm, and to see if you need a 'green card'. See more in Driving in Europe.

  • Breakdown cover. Go outside the UK and often your breakdown cover isn't valid. Check and if it's not, you can upgrade to a European policy or buy special one-off temporary cover. See Cheap breakdown cover.

  • Driving rules and requirements. Check country-by-country driving regulations in our Driving in Europe guide to ensure you're familiar with local rules and equipment you're required to carry before you go.

  • Do a maintenance check. Do all maintenance before you go, and ensure you've got manuals and the numbers to call if your vehicle breaks down. Make sure to carry the key to your locking wheel nuts too, if you have them, so the wheels can be removed if necessary.

  • Check if you need a sticker to avoid a £60+ fine. Depending on where you're planning to drive, you may need to display an emissions sticker or badge on your windscreen. See our Driving in Europe guide for more info.

Taking pets abroad? You need an animal health certificate

If you're taking your pet to an EU country, or Northern Ireland, you now need an animal health certificate (AHC). Alternatively, you can use a valid pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to, but it cannot have been issued in Great Britain. This covers dogs, cats and ferrets. You will need to visit your vet to apply for a new AHC for each trip. See the Gov.uk website for full details.  

You'll also need to take the following steps:

  • You must have your pet microchipped. UK law requires all dogs to be microchipped anyway.

  • You must vaccinate your pet against rabies. Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated and you must wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.

  • Some countries require tapeworm treatment for dogs. If travelling to Finland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Norway or Republic of Ireland with your dog, you need to ensure it's received treatment for tapeworm one to five days before arrival in these countries. This needs to be detailed on the pet's AHC.

As long as you keep your pet's rabies vaccinations up to date, you won't need to get repeat vaccinations for subsequent trips to the EU or Northern Ireland (other than for tapeworm treatments for dogs visiting those countries listed above).

Don't waste cash on energy while you're away

Don't just turn off the biggies such as lighting and heating before a big trip – also ensure you remember to turn off any TVs and gadgets on standby too.

Many devices draw power when plugged in and not in use, so turn switches off at the wall if you can. It's also worth noting in winter you'll still need water to go through pipes at a minimal temperature, or you risk them bursting. See our Energy mythbusting guide for more tips.

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Reached your destination? Travel tips for once you're there

Annnnnnd relax. You've finally made it. You've reached your destination, and you're free to power down and slide into holiday mode. But still stay sharp: just because your normal routine has stopped, doesn't mean the MoneySaving has to – so look alive and protect your pocket with our top tips and tricks.

Asked to pay in pounds or euros? Say euros

Many overseas banks or shops ask this, especially in Spanish tourist resorts. If you choose pounds then the retailer does the currency conversion – rates are often poor compared with letting your card do it (by choosing the local currency), although things are closer than they used to be.

If you've a top overseas card, always opt for the local currency as your card does the exchange and it's unbeatable.

If you don't have a top travel card, any saving on the rate won't be as big, but it's still safer to go with the local currency, as the vendor can set its own rate if it wishes, which will usually be worse than the credit card rate. See Martin's blog: Using plastic overseas? Always pay in euros.

Turn off mobile data and roaming to avoid shock charges

Under the 'Roam Like At Home' rules introduced by the European Union, you were once able to use your UK allowance of minutes, texts and data in the 'European Economic Area' (the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) without paying ANY extra charges, subject to 'fair usage' rules.

However, since Brexit, many firms have now brought back roaming fees in Europe, including major providers EE, Vodafone and Three. We've a full breakdown of what fees you may face in our Cheap mobile and data roaming guide. Some firms have told us they've no plans to bring back roaming fees – although this isn't an indefinite guarantee, and they could always change their approach in future.

Outside the EU, providers remain free to charge what they like – some as much as £8 a MB – so if you're not careful, using the web abroad could rack up an eye-watering bill.

The most sensible plan is to turn your phone data off (or use 'airplane' mode) while you're holidaying abroad. If you can't, there are ways to slash costs, including data-roaming add-ons, free Wi-Fi hotspots, and even switching your Sim. See our Cheap mobile and data roaming guide.

DON'T accidentally invalidate your travel insurance

Holidaymakers rely on travel insurance for complete peace of mind but if you fail to comply with the T&Cs you could be in for a nasty shock. Did you know something as simple as having a few drinks or leaving your luggage in the hotel storage room could invalidate a claim? And there are plenty of other common holiday habits that could do the same.

See MSE Tony's blog: Eight things many of us do on holiday that could invalidate our insurance.

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Made it home? Your POST-trip need-to-knows

Sadly all holidays must come to an end, but happily for most, there's always the next trip to plan. Plus, while reminiscing about your trip just past, bear in mind these key points for once you've got back home, including important information on your rights if something went wrong.

Airport flight-times board showing various flight times.

Flight delayed more than three hours? £100s in compensation is possible

If you're delayed by more than three hours or your flight's cancelled, you're often entitled to £100s in compensation where the delay was the airline's fault.

A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice clarified that passengers were entitled to compensation for long delays (as long as they met the set criteria) following a challenge by some airlines. Following Brexit the rules haven't changed, as EU law has been written into UK law.

See our Flight delay compensation guide for full details.

And if anything else has gone wrong...

Our Holiday rights guide explains all you need to know about delays, cancellations and more.

We hope you won't need it but you may want to bookmark it in case it comes in handy...

Bag 'free prints' promos for cheap holiday snaps

Once you're back, there's a quick trick to grab massive savings on getting holiday snaps turned into glossy photos.

Many photo-printing sites offer a set number of free prints to entice new customers. By playing the field, you can use different deals to get loads of holiday snaps printed free, though you'll need to pay delivery. Check out our Free photo print deals.

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