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If you’re looking for cheap long haul holidays in 2017, one of the most popular is Sri Lanka, an island emerging into the holiday spotlight with a raft of affordable luxury hotels. India is set to be popular, too: photograph the Taj Mahal at sunrise and track tigers in the jungle.
If you’re saving for a medium haul holiday, Cyprus is just five hours away: it’s nearly always sunny and home to historic Paphos, 2017’s European Capital of Culture. Or you could visit the Canary Islands, taking advantage of new direct money saving flights to La Palma, the greenest of the Islands - it’s unbeatable for stargazing and paragliding.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
If you’d rather stay closer to home, try a road trip around the very top of Scotland: the spectacularly scenic North Coast 500 drive takes you right through the Highlands. Or hop on the train to Paris, a city that never goes out of style.
Eilean Donan is a small tidal island where three sea lochs meet, Loch Duich,Loch Long and Loch Alsh, in the western Highlands of Scotland
Thinking about travel on a budget
Wherever you’re heading in 2017, you will need to travel on a budget.
There are flights or trains to book, car hire and accommodation to secure and hidden extras to tackle, too. Perhaps you need a visa…and you should always have adequate travel insurance. Think in advance about how much spending money you need - and consider the exchange rate.
It pays to save for your holiday in advance so you can shoulder additional costs, as well as being able to splash out on exciting extras such as special meals or excursions.
Eight holiday saving ideas
When you’re saving for a holiday, consider opening a separate account, protected by the FSCS, so you can see the progress you’re making.
If you need ideas for boosting those savings, I’ve put together eight easy tips - with a travel twist - to get you started:
1. Have a movie night
Invite friends round for a movie night: pick a film set in your holiday destination to learn about it and build excitement.
Inspiration: For India, try Slumdog Millionaire, or for Scotland, Macbeth.
2. Host a potluck dinner
There’s no need to spend a fortune on entertaining at home: pick a culinary theme and ask friends to bring a dish each.
Inspiration: Suggest dishes and wine related to your holiday destination – fish with mojo verde if you’re off to the Canaries, or traditional pot-au-feu if it’s Paris.
3. Buy a railcard
Railcards involve an initial outlay, but you can save a third off the price on every journey you take until the card expires.
Inspiration: If you’re going away with a partner, try the Two Together railcard and make holiday savings together.
4. Coffee to go
That takeaway latte might cheer up the daily commute, but that £3 daily splurge soon adds up. Buy a travel cup and take in your own morning coffee – the cup will come in handy for your holiday, too.
Inspiration: That £60 a month coffee expense could be swapped for a night’s stay at a safari lodge, or a paragliding adventure.
5. Swap dinner for lunch
Avid travel fans love eating out - and lunchtime deals are more savings-friendly than lavish evening meals.
Inspiration: Skip the drinks at the restaurant and enjoy a glass of wine or soft drink at home.
6. Seek free wi-fi
If you’re always on the move, save money on data charges and Wi-Fi tariffs by downloading an app that points you to free Wi-Fi hotspots.
Inspiration: Choose an international app so you can find free Wi-Fi on holiday.
7. Camp out
If spending money on short breaks dents your “big holiday” saving, consider camping: it’s affordable, trendy and fun.
Inspiration: Invest in a couple of affordable glamping accessories, such as a boutique lounge bag or a hammock, to make weekends away more luxurious.
8. Save more than money
It’s still worth saving Air miles if you’re flying short haul: airlines charge you a flat fee of around £35 return when you cash them in.
Inspiration: Air miles can also be accumulated when you shop for groceries, buy petrol and even spend on your credit card.
Make sure you put your savings into an account earmarked for your holiday. And ensure your money is in an FSCS protected account so it’s safe should anything happen to your bank or building society.