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The smart, budget way for a holiday to remember

Regular readers of this column will notice a change of face, as Chris Kay has now left Cambrian Credit Union. We would like to thank him for all of his work over the last five years, both as chair and CEO, and wish him the very best for the future.

I have been working for Cambrian Credit Union for 15 years, initially with Caledfryn in Denbigh and later with North Wales Credit Union.

At Cambrian, this is a busy time for staff and volunteers, as many of our members draw on their savings or apply for loans to pay for their summer holiday – those one or two weeks of kicking back and enjoying time with family and friends.

It can be tempting to blow the budget on holiday, but as you work hard for that money, it makes sense to make the money work hard for you.

Whether your destination is Rhyl or Rio, plan ahead by making a list of how your money will be spent, from insurance to accommodation, car hire and daily expenses.

If you can, avoid peak times like bank holidays and school holidays, which is difficult for families but remember that prices often drop a little towards the end of the summer holidays.

If you are going on holiday later in the year, there is still some time to save up enough money to pay for your holiday. The trick is to treat saving as you would paying a bill, and commit a regular sum to your holiday fund. It’s a good idea to transfer money from your wages to your savings account as soon as your salary comes in.

If you have a credit card, using it to pay the deposit, or full price, of your holiday booking means you might be able to make a claim if the airline or holiday company goes bust or the holiday isn’t as described. This applies for holidays that cost between £100 and £30,000 and, be warned, not all situations are covered.

If you do choose to use a credit card, make sure you can pay off the amount borrowed quickly, never opt for minimum repayments or your holiday could end up becoming very expensive indeed.

If you’ve left it too late to save, and plan to borrow, shop around for the best deal, compare rates carefully. Most websites, including Cambrian Credit Union’s site, have loan calculators to give you a clear idea of how much your repayments will be and – importantly – how long it will take to pay it off.

Once you’ve set a budget, it’s time to find a good deal. Spend a bit of time looking at comparison websites when planning your trip and accommodation because rates can vary tremendously.

Don’t be afraid to haggle, travel agents are in the business of selling holidays, so there’s nothing to stop you printing out that great online deal and taking it to a local travel agent to find out if they can match or better it.

In the UK and abroad, static caravan sites can offer good value holiday accommodation, with most providing free on-site entertainment and facilities such as play area and swimming pools to keep everyone busy. And let’s not forget the popularity of camping, which can be relaxing and excellent value for money.

Most importantly, whatever your holiday destination, enjoy your time away – you’ve earned it!

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