icount’s guide to safe summer holiday spending

Take a look at our guide to how to save money during summer holidays this year, and see how you can still enjoy some quality family time together on a budget.

If you’re wondering how to save money during summer holidays, you’re certainly not alone. From taking a family holiday, to occupying the kids and arranging childcare, costs can easily rack up over the six week break.

If you’re looking for some simple tips to make sure the summer holidays are still fun without breaking the bank, check out our guide below.

Going on holiday

Summer breaks are often the highlight of the year, but it can be difficult to make sure that your holiday is still enjoyable without breaking the bank at the same time. Not to worry – there are some easy ways you can cut down on the cost, without missing out on any of the fun.

Booking your holiday

Inevitably, the most expensive part of your holiday is flights and accommodation, but there are simple ways you can help reduce these costs by hundreds of pounds.

Is it cheaper to book last minute holidays?

Last minute deals are often hailed as the cheapest way to book a holiday, but this isn’t always the case. Even if the holiday itself seems cheap, remember that last minute bookings give you little flexibility and may end up costing you more in transfers or holiday parking.

When is the cheapest time to book a summer holiday?

It’s been suggested that the cheapest time to book a summer holiday is around three to four months in advance, so start looking earlier on in the year, or even in New Year sales, for holiday bargains, according to Reserve A Hotel.

5 money saving tips when booking a holiday

There are lots of ways you can work towards cutting the cost of your holiday.

1. Brush up on your haggling skills

Once you’ve found a great price for your ideal holiday online, visit your local travel agent to see if they are able to beat it. Normally, you’ll be able to haggle with a travel agent and get a great low price, or plenty of extras such as upgrades, thrown in for free.

2. Book excursions in advance

Rather than leaving your excursions and activities to the last minute, it’s best to book them before you leave for your holiday. This way, you’ll be able to save plenty of money compared to booking on the day, and you won’t risk missing out on those unmissable trips.

3. Look directly at the airline and hotel websites

Booking through travel operators can often work out more expensive than booking directly with the airline and hotel themselves. Before you click ‘book’, make sure to check the prices directly so you know you’re getting the best deal. Also check out Reserve A Hotel who aims to beat the prices of most major online booking facilities

4. Be flexible on your dates

Unfortunately, being flexible on dates isn’t always possible, particularly if you’re required to book time off work. But if you can be flexible on your dates, you can make sure to get the best deals.

5. Check unusual numbers of days

A tip that many savvy shoppers use is steering clear of booking 10 or 14 night packages. By looking for an unusual length stay, such as 8 or 15 days, you can save money and access the best deals.

Spending money abroad

Spending money abroad can be a minefield in itself and choosing the wrong options for your situation could leave you facing hefty fees. Take a look at some of the best and safest ways to spend abroad below.

Getting the best exchange rate

With so many money exchange options, it’s tough to know where to access the best exchange rates. With icount, you get access to a free Euro and Dollar card to use abroad, which means you get great exchange rates without any commission fees.

Staying safe

When travelling abroad, it’s important to be safe with your money to avoid being pickpocketed or scammed. A great way to do this is by taking a currency card rather than cash. This means you’re less likely to lose money, and the currency cards available with your icount account will be replaced and re-credited for free if you lose it abroad.

How to get the best deals abroad

Once you have your spending money sorted, you should make sure you’re getting the best deals whilst you’re away. A few ways you can do this include:

  • Avoiding tourist hotspots and instead, visiting local restaurants and bars to save money
  • Always paying in the local currency to avoid exchange fees
  • Booking activities and excursions in advance
  • Looking in local papers for offers and vouchers for food and activities

For more ways to manage your money abroad, check out our guide to managing your money abroad here.

Summer holiday activities

The summer holidays are long, which leaves you with plenty of time to fill. Keeping the kids occupied over the holidays doesn’t have to break the bank – with a bit of research and imagination, you can keep them happy and stimulated all summer long. Take a look at some of our favourite holiday activities below.

Make your own entertainment

Websites such as Pinterest are a great source of inspiration for easy activities to keep the kids occupied. These activities won’t break the bank either, and can usually be carried out with a few items that you already have in your house.

Eat out on a budget

There are plenty of ways to eat out on a budget over the summer holidays. Look for ‘kids eat free offers’ at your favourite restaurants, or search the internet for vouchers and discount codes that can be put towards the cost of your meals.

Check out local activities in your area

During the summer holidays, many local councils will offer free activities to help keep the little ones occupied. Think wildlife walks, painting classes and cycling skills lessons. Take a look at your local council’s website, or give them a call to find out more and to get your kids booked in for some of these exciting sessions.

Kids clubs

If you need to be at work during the summer holidays and want a way for your kids to stay occupied whilst also being cared for during the day, a kids club could be exactly what you’re looking for. These clubs can be costly compared to our other suggestions, but provide childcare during the day whilst letting your child experience a range of new activities and challenges.

Make the most of free offers in your city

Most of us don’t really know the treasure trove of free activities and events available in our local areas. Most museums are now free to explore, and many have great activities for kids during the summer holidays. Make sure to check out your local parks and community farms, as well as music and arts festivals. Information about these things should be available via your local council or on the internet.

Arranging holiday childcare

Childcare can cost a small fortune, particularly during the summer holidays. Sometimes there is no option other than to pay for a childminder, but there are some ways you can help to reduce the burden of childcare costs, such as:

  • Enlisting grandparents or other family members to babysit
  • Working from home so you don’t need to pay for a childminder
  • Arranging to share childcare with a friend to cut down on cost
  • Considering hiring an au pair for an affordable childcare option
  • Contacting your local citizens advice for support paying for childcare

These tips could help you to save lots of money on your childcare, which can be put towards your summer holiday or other bills.

How can icount help you to manage the cost of the summer holidays?

An icount current account with prepaid Mastercard®️ is a great companion over the summer holidays, and can help you to manage your money more wisely.

Travel money

As you’ve seen in this guide, the prepaid currency card available from icount is a great way to manage your money abroad, allowing you to access the best rates for free, along with a replacement being fully guaranteed if you lose it. You can easily top up online and manage your spending in the member’s area.

Budgeting and managing your money

With the icount prepaid Mastercard®️, you can only spend as much as you load onto it. This can help you stick to a weekly budget, and with our text alerts, you can easily track how much you’ve spent. This means no more being caught short at the supermarket tills, or dipping into costly overdrafts at the end of the month.

Giving your kids an allowance

With your icount account, you can get additional cards for your children, which is a great way to start teaching them about money management, as well as solving any quibbles about pocket money! You can give your kids a little more independence over the summer holidays, whilst allowing you to keep an eye on what they’re buying.


If you’re interested in opening an icount current account and getting your hands on our prepaid Mastercard®️, find out more and apply for your card today.
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