Finance expert Jasmine Birtles reveals some handy ways for families to plan ahead to make big savings on travel costs.

Buy and fly at Gatwick

If you're flying from Gatwick this year it's worth turning up early to make the most of all the airport's new shops. Recent additions to the Gatwick 'high street' include Mango, Superdry, Zara, Victoria's Secret, Fat Face, Snow + Rock and Ted Baker.

And if you're stuck for a gift for family or friends when you visit them abroad, take advantage of the airport's favourable prices. You can also download a voucher passport that has a range of special offers and take advantage of the free Shop Fly Collect service, which means you can go to town on big items for yourself and pick them up on your return.

Get organised before you leave

Pack what you need 

British travellers rack up more than £158 million in card charges buying forgotten items when they go abroad, according to WeSwap.com - and that's on top of the price of said items. The most frequently forgotten items are suncream, sunglasses, adaptors, books, razors, batteries and hairdryers.

Make sure you pack everything you need by following these tips:

Keep capsule wash bags for you and the kids permanently filled. Replace used items as soon as you get home so that everything's ready to go for the next holiday.

Invest in see-through wash bags with compartments to organise your toiletries. They tend to be light weightand you can check quickly to see if you've forgotten anything.

Keep a list of essential items, such as adaptors, ear plugs, etc., in your suitcase and tick them off as you pack.

Check the weather forecast for your destination just before you pack so you take the right clothes and accessories.

Download a travel app 

Travel Companion, a free app from the AA, has all the useful information you need to plan and enjoy your trip wherever in the world you're heading. From up-to-date travel advice and a currency converter to destination maps, visa requirements, information about local laws and customs and the location of the nearest British Consulate, it's a handy resource.

It also includes a Briefcase section where you can store secure information, such as flights, insurance details, passport numbers, emergency numbers for credit and debit cards and the contact details for your travel company. Once you input your destination, you'll receive weather forecasts, a map and details about facilities at your destination.