11 Great Summer Holiday Hacks

We all want to live every minute of our holidays to the fullest, but knowing where to invest your time and money can be difficult. Luckily, we’ve partnered with NatWest to bring you some summer holiday hacks that’ll help you stay savvy on your next getaway.

We’ve even got a few special recommendations from our Secret Media Editors around the globe to give you inspiration on how to maximise every moment of your escape.

1. Book smart when buying your flights

Turns out, saving money on your holiday can start before you’ve even boarded the plane! In fact, according to Expedia you can save up to 20% on domestic flights and up 10% on international flights just by booking on a Sunday. It’s also worth knowing that using your credit card to pay for flight bookings can give you extra protection. (Source: Expedia 2023)

2. Pick the date and time of your departure strategically

The saying ‘timing is everything’ couldn’t be more true when it comes to planning a holiday. Not only does this apply to booking – choose to travel on a Saturday and you could save up to 20% on domestic flights. Or if you’re travelling internationally, fly on a Friday to save up to 15%. But what’s more, flights departing before 11am are 11% less likely to be affected by disruptions, so if in doubt, choose a morning flight. (Source: Expedia 2023)

3. Tap into locals’ expertise

You can never get too much advice when it comes to gathering travel recommendations. But if you want to find really authentic spots away from the tourist traps, your best bet is to ask a local. Whether that’s outsourcing from friends who live abroad, or asking a friendly face once you’ve arrived, this is how you’ll find those real hidden gems. We’ve started the research process for you by asking our Secret Media editors around the world for local recs – read our local’s guide to Ibiza here.

4. Pack like a pro

In the face of strict baggage restrictions, we can only become more inventive. And whilst using packing cubes is perfectly above board and undoubtedly the most efficient choice, it can’t be said that they’ll work miracles in your 10kg carry-on. But dressing tactically for the flight is also an effective way to cheat the system. That means wear your bulkiest, heaviest items on the plane (don’t forget to think about your footwear too) and layer up if you have to.

5. Pay in the local currency

summer holiday hacks

If your credit card doesn’t charge you foreign transaction fees, then paying in the local currency could save you money while abroad. And with The NatWest Credit Card, you won’t be charged foreign transaction fees on payments and purchases made while you’re abroad*. Representative 12.9% APR (variable). So remember not to select GBP on the card machine when you pay!

* Use worldwide at Mastercard® locations, in-store and online. Not valid for ATM withdrawals. Local fees may apply
Available to UK residents, aged 18+ earning at least £10k per year. Subject to status

6. Secure your sunset spot ahead of time

Enjoying an evening drink before a magical sunset is a holiday activity that everyone should experience. But as with all of the best things in life, there’s a finite number of rooftop bars to be found. The sunset hours are always the first to get snatched up, so we recommend booking ahead of time. There’s also no harm in arriving a little early – that way you’ll get a golden hour photoshoot while you’re there.

Marseille Secrète editor Inès Azouz suggests the charming Hôtel Hermès or the terrace of La Caravelle as alternatives to the popular Ciel Rooftop when you’re looking for a sunset spot in Marseille.

7. Scout out a more remote beach

summer holiday hacks

Getting up early is one way to bag yourself a good spot on a popular beach. But opting for an off-the-beaten-track location is bound to lead you somewhere far more picturesque (and peaceful!). If you’re up for a scenic coastal hike before your sunbathing sesh, look for beaches that require more of a climb to access. It might mean you work up a sweat, but you’ll also dodge the crowds and find more secluded coves for some real relaxation.

Secret Ibiza editor Maite Martínez recommends making the journey to Cala Llentrisca in favour of popular, family resort beach Cala Llonga. See our full Ibiza holiday guide for more recommendations.

8. Do your boujee dining earlier in the day

If you’re a foodie, there’s a good chance you’ll already be familiar with the lunch set menu hack. Offering diners multiple courses at a reduced price is restaurants’ way of encouraging people to eat outside of peak times. And when you’re on holiday, this is a fantastic way to access places that otherwise might’ve stretched the budget. Even if this means reshuffling the order of your restaurant hitlist, you’re sure to get more bang for your buck. Our Secret København editor Mathias Hansen loves the lunch set menu at Restaurant Meille if you’re looking for inspo.

9. Download the NatWest app

summer holiday hacks

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. If your credit card is lost or stolen on your travels, you don’t want to waste precious holiday time on the phone to the bank trying to cancel your card. If you’re a NatWest Credit Card customer, download the NatWest app* and you can lock your card in a matter of moments – no need to speak to anyone or worry about conflicting time zones while you’re away!

*App available to customers aged 11+ with compatible iOS and Android devices and a UK or international mobile number in specific countries. Online Banking available to customers aged 11+ with a NatWest account.

10. Always find a Happy Hour deal for your aperitif

Euro trips mean aperitifs in the sun, and it might sound obvious, but if you’re willing to do your research you’ll find some seriously tasty deals on pre-dinner drinks. With windows of time ranging from 60 minutes to entire evenings, (and beverages varying from beer to outlandish cocktails) Happy Hour is the ultimate hack to holiday bar-hopping on a budget.

11. Spend a night out in the sticks

summer holiday hacks

When choosing your accommodation, it can pay to think outside the box. Contrary to popular belief, ditching the hotel and heading to a campsite doesn’t mean waving goodbye to home comforts. Plus spending a night in a more rural setting is a great way to discover your holiday destination from a new perspective. With sites varying from basic to luxury, you can select one with the right level of sophistication for you. Secret Zürich editor Lukas Keller has booked some incredible glamping holidays using this site.

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