Tuesday 11 March 2008

How I save money planning my holiday

Part 1: British Heritage Pass

This is one of those things that is worth purchasing in advance of your holiday. Buying the 15-day family pass costs $285.00 in Australia, and a quick check of the entry fee for the top 15 places that we're likely to visit shows that I'll save around 70% off the entry fees by buying this pass (compared to paying each entry fee as we travel).

For example, we'll be interested in visiting the following most popular attractions:
(prices per family or 2 adults/1 child, converted to A$ at current exchange rate of 0.47GBP)

The Roman baths and pumphouse__$61.70
Edinburgh Castle_______________$70.20
Shakespeare's birthplace_______$36.15
Blenheim Palace________________$91.50
Leeds Castle___________________$89.35
Conwy Castle___________________$29.80
St Paul's Cathedral____________$45.75
Globe Theatre__________________$57.45
Dover Castle___________________$50.65
Warwick Castle________________$102.10
Kents Cavern___________________$50.00
Lancaster Castle_______________$29.80
Bamburgh Castle________________$44.70


There are 580 sites in total that are covered by the Heritage Pass. Since we're likely to visit many more attractions during our tour, we should save a lot more on entry fees than the $600 saved by using the pass at these 15 attractions.

There's currently (during March) a 10% discount on purchasing the Heritage Pass on VisitBritain.com.au, so the pass will only cost $256.50. In addition, by going to the site via a link on EmailCash.com.au I'll earn around $2.50 worth of points when I purchase the 15-day family pass.

There are also some side benefits of having the 15-day Family Heritage Pass;
1. I can visit places I've previously seen without worrying about the cost. If I had to pay an extra adult entry fee each time I'd be tempted to just send the wife and kids in without me.
2. We can stop and do a quick "dash" through some sites that we're travelling past that are of moderate interest. If we were paying the full entry fee each time we wouldn't visit places where we didn't have enough time to get our full "money's worth".
3. We're can visit the sites that have higher entry fees. For example, on our honeymoon we visited Bath, but we didn't bother going through the Roman baths and pumphouse as the entry fee seemed a bit steep.

There are shorter and longer period passes available, but the 15-day pass should suit our itinerary perfectly as we'll be spending 15 days in London and driving around England/Scotland before we go by car ferry to Ireland. We'll have another couple of days in Wales and England at the end of our stay, but I'm not sure it's worth paying another $100 to upgrade to the 30-day family pass. I'll have to check our route to see what attractions we could visit in the last couple of days of our stay.

You have to enter you expected travel date when you purchase the pass, but the card uses smart card technology to log it's usage, so the valid period doesn't start until you use the card at the first property you visit. The validity period is based on calendar days, so we won't be using it on the first day we arrive in London at 8pm!

Copyright Enough Wealth 2007

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