How to plan a vacation safely and not spend a fortune? Vacation ZFPF Guide, Part 2

A year ago, a pandemic discouraged people from going on vacation, including… inflation, which hit a record 13.9% in May[1]† Therefore, the results of the Pollster Research Institute survey are not surprising, with as many as 6 out of 10 (59%) Poles stating that they could not afford a holiday trip[2]† On the other hand, despite the high prices, there are many people who do not want to give up this pleasure: in another survey, as many as 40% of Poles declare that they plan to go on holiday abroad for at least 7 days.[3]† But how do you go about holiday planning so that it doesn’t turn out to be “deadly” for our budget? And why is it not worth saving on certain things? About the Experts of the Union of Financial Intermediary Companies (ZFPF).

Inflation slows down Poland vacation plans

Whether we go on holiday to the Polish Baltic Sea or to the expansive beaches of Greece, which has been Poland’s most popular destination for years, both options entail spending from a few to several thousand zlotys for a family of four. In addition, runaway inflation made us look more closely at spending: a staggering 66% of Poles surveyed said inflation and rising prices had the biggest influence on their holiday decisions.[4]†

In May inflation reached almost 14% year on year. This is the highest figure in 24 years. The prices of housing, fuel and food have risen in recent months from tens to even a few tens of percent. No wonder that the cost of holidays has also risen, both those planned with a travel agency and those organized “on your own” – he comments Wojciech Droździel, ZFPF expert, Lendi.

However, does that mean we’re “doomed” to leave in the backyard this year? Not! Below are some tips on how to budget for a vacation trip and what not to save on, so as not to “ruin” your vacation.

Cheaper yourself?

On the one hand, travel agencies have concluded contracts with hotels or carriers, so that they can count on affordable offers. On the other hand, an independent trip has the advantage, among other things, that we do not have to pay the broker a margin. If we plan our trip well, we can save up to several hundred zlotys per person on holidays abroad. How do you do that?

  • First of all: choose the right means of transport

This is an extremely important issue, and we have at least a few options: start by car, by train/bus and end by plane.

Right: by far the most convenient and fastest means of transport. It also allows you to easily reach many places that are difficult for other vehicles. However, air travel is usually very expensive, although of course you can find offers that surpass even car travel. Therefore, it is worth following the offers of low-cost airlines and setting alerts informing about promotions. Please note, however, that we will not always find cheap tickets in the direction we are interested in and on our chosen date. Therefore, this option is best for people who can afford a lot of flexibility in choosing a place and time, even “at the last minute”.

When deciding to buy an airline ticket, the carrier may offer to take out a policy. Such insurance is useful when we are forced to give up travel due to unexpected calamities. It usually also includes compensation in case of baggage damage or flight delay. It also covers treatment costs up to the amount specified in the contract, but nevertheless such a policy will make little sense, for example, in the event of an accident in the mountains or at sea, because it does not “cover” rescue costs. A better, more reliable option is to take out a “classic” travel policy with the insurer. This allows the buyer to better adapt the scope of the insurance to his needs, by extending the policy with, for example, an accident compensation (NNW) or the aforementioned cover of rescue costs. Although the policy is an additional expense, it is worth considering purchasing as the rescue costs, if any, will certainly be higher than the costs associated with taking out the insurance. – say Leszek Zięba, ZFPF expert, mFinanse.

Car: a perfect solution for people who value independence and independence. However, it is most suitable for relatively short distances because of less comfort than, for example, traveling by plane. What about the costs? We pay almost PLN 8 for a liter of petrol. Assuming a distance of about 800 km from the central part of Poland to the Hungarian town of Siófok located on Lake Balaton and a burn at the level of 8 l/100 km, we will spend a little more than PLN 1000 for the return trip.[5]† Although it is not an “exceptionally” cheap option if you are traveling alone, but taking into account the travel of a family of four, the cost per person is only PLN 250. However, keep in mind that vignettes in this case also add an extra cost to be.

When planning a holiday trip by car, the basis is OC. The absence of a valid policy for more than 14 days is associated with compensation of up to PLN 6,020 for owners of passenger cars. In addition, it is good to have non-compulsory assistance insurance. However, if the driver does not have it, he does not have to immediately decide to buy the standard version, especially if foreign trips are rare. Except in this case short-term help, which, as the name suggests, is only taken for a certain period of time. How long? It depends on a specific insurer, but we can easily find offers with a scope of 7 or 15 days. As part of this package, insurers cover situations related to an accident, breakdown or theft of a car. It is an extremely useful option, for example when our car needs to be towed. Such a long “journey”, if we do not have insurance, can even cost us several thousand zlotys – to explain Wojciech Droździel, ZFPF expert, Lendi.

It is worth comparing individual offers on the market, as they can often differ, for example in the scope of protection. Let’s also see if the insurer imposes any restrictions on us regarding the age of the vehicle, and also carefully analyze the list of exclusions. For example, a financial broker whose services are free can help us choose the right policy (both for a car and for a tourist) that meets our requirements.

Bus / Train: This option is relatively cheap, but the disadvantage, as with air travel, is the low flexibility: it is not possible to get everywhere with direct connections. Where will the train/bus operate? When traveling within the country to larger cities. For example: a pendolino trip from Warsaw to Gdańsk takes just over 2.5 hours and a normal ticket costs PLN 169 (2nd class). In comparison, the same journey only with the TLK train takes us an hour longer, but saves almost PLN 100 (2nd class)[6]†

  • Second, choose the right accommodation.

Again, travelers have several options, the most expensive of which are usually hotels. A cheaper alternative to them could be to rent a room/apartment from “locals” who are already on site or book in advance. Portals such as Airbnb will certainly be useful, where we can find private accommodation shared by residents of a particular city.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, it’s worth it is the search and comparison of offers on several websites at the same time. Currently it’s super easy and fast, just use one of the many price comparison websites. This is a good option if you are in a hurry. And if surfing the internet a little longer isn’t a problem for us, it’s also a good idea to look directly on the hotel’s website. It may turn out that we will find a more attractive offer there than with any booking brokerage service and thus we save from a few tens to even several hundred zlotys – he proposes Leszek Zięba, ZFPF expert, mFinanse.

For those for whom low price is very high on their list of priorities, we recommend websites that offer free accommodation, such as Couchsurfing. However, this is not an ideal solution for everyone and will work for those who are open to adventure and the exchange of cultural experiences. Simply put, it is that the so-called “Host” adds a message that for example he has a spare room/couch in his apartment and can stay overnight with one or more people. Such a person also writes about his interests and can, for example, offer to go out to dinner or go sightseeing together. What does he expect in return? It is mainly about exchanging the aforementioned cultural experiences, but also about sharing experiences/experiences, a simple conversation.

As of 2020, due to a pandemic, the website introduced a fee to its users, which is currently $2.39 per month (or $14.29 per year if prepaid).[7]†

  • Third: attractions and food

Last year, Poles stated that the largest part of the holiday budget would be spent on accommodation (38%), food in second place (22%) and travel and attractions in third place (20%).[8]† As you can see, more than 40% of our holiday costs are related to food and the organization of leisure already on site. Is it possible to limit them somehow? The “solution” may be the local community. “Lokalsi” knows very well where they can eat tasty and cheap. It’s also good to avoid crowded centres, where prices in restaurants and bars are sometimes twice as high as in smaller local pubs. The solution with which we can save the most on food is, of course, cooking ourselves and reducing the number of visits to restaurants. However, this does not mean boring meals – it is worth going to the market for local products and preparing regional delicacies of the given cuisine yourself.

When it comes to attractions, “locs” can help too. In addition, when purchasing larger packages, it is worth asking the tourist information about available discounts. In some cities of the world, we can do a free tour with a local guide, the so-called “Free Walking Tours” where you can see the main, free attractions of a particular place and listen to stories related to them. As a thank you you can give a small tip to the guide at the end.

[1] Data: GUS, June 2022.

[2] Pollster Research Institute poll for “Super Express”.

[3] “Poland’s departure plans”: survey conducted by the Wybrzeże.pl portal

[4] “Poland’s summer plans”, ARC Rynek i Opinia.

[5] Calculations based on the calculator http://spalanie.formuly.pl/.

[6] PKP Intercity, data as of: 22/06/2022.

[7] Couchsufing, “Couchsurfing needs your help”

[8] The survey “Holiday habits of Poland – Summer 2021” conducted by the website Giftmarzen.com.

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