According to the travel specialist Kuoni, a study has confirmed what we knew all along – going on holiday is good for you. Researchers found that regular breaks can lower our blood pressure, boost our relationships, improve our mental health, and even help us live longer! That means there have never been so many reasons to book ourselves a holiday.

Whether you normally don’t worry about money, or religiously hunt out every £20 sign up bonus you can, planning a budget holiday can seem a little overwhelming. From your accommodation to your entertainment, it can be hard to stick to a budget when you’re faced with so many tempting options.

In this post, we’ll be sharing our top tips for how to plan budget holidays like a pro.

1. Set your budget

According to a survey by ATOL, the average holiday goer ends up spending almost 20% of their total budget on unexpected costs during the course of their trip. You might not notice these little expenses at the time – but you certainly will once you come home and check your bank account.

The secret is to make sure you’ve considered every cost you’re likely to encounter. As well as your travel and accommodation, don’t forget to factor in the price of transport to your hotel, excess baggage on your way home, or ATM charges for using your card. If you’re going somewhere like America where it’s customary to tip staff, account for this too.

By keeping track of the little things, and setting aside a sum for unforeseen costs, you can make it much easier for yourself to stick to your budget.

2. Book indirect flights

Nobody wants to be hanging around an airport for hours, but if you’re staying within a tight budget, booking indirect flights could be a great way to reach your dream destination for less. This is especially true if you’re travelling long-haul, but even short flights across Europe can be significantly cheaper if you’re prepared to stop off somewhere on the way.

Use comparison sights to see how the cost of direct and indirect flights compares. If you do decide to book indirect, you can even see it as part of your holiday. The opportunity to spend a few hours in a new place doesn’t have to mean more expense – there might be a local landmark or free museum not far from the airport.

3. Travel by coach

Even indirect flights can eat up a significant chunk of your budget. If you’re keen to save every penny you can, consider travelling by coach. Not only is this more eco-friendly than catching a plane. Depending on your travel dates and desired route, this can also be a staggeringly economical option, with tickets starting from around £15.

Coaches are great for solo travellers as they give you the chance to meet new people on the journey. You’ll have a much better view out the window than you would on a plane too!

4. Book your own entertainment

Whether you’re booking a package deal or going your own way, beware the cost of organised entertainment. From day trips to guided tours, activities organised by a travel company are often a lot more expensive than local alternatives. Most cities offer free walking tours run by tourist information centres, so always check these out instead.