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How to save money on a City break

save on city breakJunior and I are off to Edinburgh for a few days before Christmas. We’re going to see the pandas at the zoo. I bet they will be hiding the day we go. We’re also going to do a bit of sightseeing. And we’ll tick off another Wagamama off our list: it will be the furthest north by a margin. The last time I went to Auld Reekie I was pregnant: I’m sure much has changed in the past 13 years for the city as it has for me.

Anyway, we’re going even though after paying out for a new boiler - I might have mentioned this in earlier blogs – I don’t really have the cash for a trip. But I have been working quite hard and have been fairly sensible with the cash so I figured I at least deserved it. And what’s more, it seems quite cheap: three nights in a hotel with flights for a bit over £400. It looks a nice hotel too – though of course, photos and reviews can be deceptive.

And I’m also feeling fairly smug about saving even more money on it. First of all, I paid for the trip on my credit card, which gives me points in the form of John Lewis/Waitrose vouchers. Admittedly, this doesn’t come to much: I think about £2. I arranged our trip via Expedia, which gives me 1,000 Nectar points – worth £5. But I didn’t go direct to Expedia – instead, I did it via a click-through cashback site – in this case, Quidco* although I’m sure I could have found a similar deal on TopCashback*. Just by going via the cashback site, I get £16.19 rebated – although I won’t get that for a while yet (I’m still waiting for a cashback payment from Gatwick parking from our summer holiday).
Anyway, in total that comes in as a saving of just over £23. That’s not a lot, I know (about 5% of the total cost of our trip). But – and this is important – it was zero effort. I’m already registered with the cashback site, so that took no time at all. For the Nectar points, I just had to enter my card number. And the points on my credit card come automatically. The one thing to remember on credit card cashback or voucher deals is that they are pointless if you don’t pay off your balance in full because if you pay interest on your credit card debt it will exceed any value of points you accrue. I pay my credit card balance off in full by direct debit every month so that’s safe.

I also managed one further little saving. Expedia offered to protect my booking for an extra £10 each. I refused and instead got a short-break holiday insurance policy for £5.04 for the two of us – a saving of £15. And I did that via the cashback site too: so will get an (admittedly-tiny) cashback on that too. It all adds up: though I suspect not by enough to cover a few cups of coffee to keep the northern winds out while we are panda-spotting.

See our guide to credit cards here

And to travel insurance here

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Saturday, 20 April 2019