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Wildlife holidays are a great way to spend our much-awaited time away from work doing something a little different.
From safari holidays in Africa to flamingo spotting in France, wildlife holidays do not have to cost the earth.
If you like the idea of spending your next holiday getting closer to nature, then take a look at our eight little-known secrets for wildlife holiday savings.
Wildlife holidays in Africa: Travel in the wet season
Safari holidays can be expensive. However, big savings can be made by travelling in the wet season.
Yes, it may mean you will have to put up with some rain. But you should still be able to see animals. Plus the landscape will be more lush and green for your photographs.
Also, if you like things a little quieter, there are likely to be fewer tourists around during this time.
The wet season falls at different times of the year, depending which area you intend to visit, so do your research.
Take a safari closer to home
When you think about heading out on a safari, France is likely to be one of the last countries that spring to mind.
Save money on costly flights to Africa and head to the Camargue in southern France instead. Yes, there are not any lions or elephants.
But you may be surprised by what you discover. Everything from flamingoes to beavers and stunning white horses, call this area home.
Various companies offer safari experiences around this unique place. For those who are willing to travel a little farther, the foothills of the Pyrenees are home to even more wildlife.
Explore the wildlife on your doorstep
Scotland’s Hebrides offer tourists wildlife holidays where you can see everything from dolphins and otters to puffins and eagles.
Save on flights and drive, stopping in budget hotels on the way.
With pristine white beaches, which look like they belong more in the Seychelles than Scotland, the area also offers unrivalled scenery.
Save money by organising your own wildlife holidays
Package holidays can sometimes be more expensive than booking the same individual elements yourself.
Plus, you can choose exactly what you want to do and see.
Make sure that you check the cost of both options before you book.
If you do opt to organise everything yourself, be aware that you may not have the same protection as you would on a package holiday.
If you love animals and do not mind getting your hands dirty, you could save money on wildlife holidays by volunteering to help out.
Do your research and find a reputable company offering these opportunities, to ensure that you are actually helping with conservation, rather than funding animals being kept in captivity for the sake of tourist experiences.
Plan your meals ahead
One of the most expensive elements of any holiday is eating out. Save money on overpriced restaurants by visiting review websites, such as TripAdvisor, before you travel, to find the best place for a budget meal.
Consider booking self-catering accommodation. This way, you can shop and eat like the locals.
If you can, taking your own picnic lunch with you on days out can also save you money.
Save money on exchanging your currency
Research the cheapest way to change your money into the local currency. Some credit and debit cards offer ways to spend in the local currency, with no commission added on top.
Also, if you are asked if you want to be billed in your home currency, it is usually best to say no. Paying in the local currency is nearly always cheaper.
Know your daily budget
Before you set off, it is worth setting yourself a daily budget, so that you do not overspend during your holiday.
If you think that you may want to go on extra excursions when you arrive, make sure that you budget for these.
Wildlife holidays savings
Just like other types of holiday, there are savings to be made on wildlife holidays if you know how.
Staying in Europe or travelling farther afield outside of peak season, can result in big savings.
There is some amazing wildlife to see in places closer to home, that you may never have thought about visiting. Look beyond the more traditional safaris and getting back to nature may cost less than you imagined.