Family holiday plans? Let us help you keep your costs down

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Family holidays are where lasting memories are made for thousands of people each and every year – but sometimes, they aren’t always the best ones, at least if you don’t plan ahead or something goes awry.

What’s worth checking ahead of your family get-together that could save you money? Here’s four things we always help people remember…

Have you remembered your EHIC?

The best thing about the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is that it’s absolutely free – well, the best thing is probably the fact it gives you access to doctors and state hospitals in the EU at the same price you’d pay at home. That said, you’ve got to remember that it’s not a substitute for travel insurance, which covers so much more than the basics the EHIC helps out with.

That said, it’s extremely important to check the validity of yours, if you have one already; it’s believed that over five million cards are out-of-date – check point nine on yours to see if it’s still got you covered. If it isn’t, go to the official website, and nowhere else! Anyone who offers to do it for a fee is getting money for nothing.

Don’t rely on mobile data – look for offline apps instead

One of the biggest boo-boos people make when going abroad (presumably without overseas phone coverage as part of their plan) is to use data-hungry apps that cost an absolute fortune to run. The biggest killer of all is satnav (e.g. Google Maps), which is wholly reliant on roaming data to work.

While it’s not quite as concise as its more established chums, download the free Navmii app to your iPhone, Android or Windows phone and download maps for 28 different countries’ worth of routes before you drive them.

Similarly, Google offers offline translation software for 90 countries – get the Google Translate app and download your offline languages of choice.

See what overseas benefits you could get from your credit or debit card

So many providers are willing to give people incredible amounts of free stuff just for signing up to a credit or debit card, but the best ones tend to come from paid accounts. Opening a joint account with, say, Nationwide’s Flex debit service will give you free European breakdown cover, worldwide travel insurance and 0% withdrawal fees at ATMs anywhere in the world – all for just £10 per month. Not bad, if you’re a frequent flyer.

Finally, raid those pound shops

Want to stock up on those last-minute travel essentials, whether it’s a neck pillow for the flight or a travel adapter for your gadgets? Check the pound shops – you’ll be amazed at the selection on offer, and you won’t be forced to pay the often-extortionate prices that some airport shops are known to charge!