You’ve decided to go on a big holiday. Big could be a trip to a far-off destination where you are going to be sipping coconut water straight from the coconut while wriggling your toes in the warm white sand. It could be that you have decided that you’re finally going to head to that city – the one with the museum that you’ve always wanted to see. It could be that you just need a day or two by the coast. Whatever you’ve chosen to do, it is going to cost money. You, like most people, are probably looking for a way to save up for your holiday nice and quickly or, more likely, you’re looking for the best ways to save money on the holiday and the prep. Well, luckily for you you’ve found this article. Let’s get stuck in.
First things first. Set a budget. It is no good saying you want to spend roughly X amount. Be even more clear. Price up the flights, price up the hotels, price it all up and get yourself an exact figure. Now, this is what you will use as your starting point. You’re going to haggle, coupon and pre-book your way to a cheaper vacation.
Have an ‘ideal travel window’ not so much a set date you want to go. Many hotels and flight providers have a month view of the cost of the flights. Things like Skyscanner will let you compare the costs. So play around the departure and arrival dates, try an leave on Tuesday and returning on a Wednesday rather than leaving on a Friday – the price drop can be considerable. Unless you are tied down with school holidays, meaning you can only travel in peak time, you are missing a serious saving opportunity.
When thinking about the location, book somewhere out of the centre. The main cities will be a tourist trap, you will blow far more cash than you want to too. If you are up for an adventure, you can play a game of spin the globe.
You probably don’t need to fly directly, you probably just want to. And, sure, it is more comfortable, but direct flights can often be much pricier. This works better if you aren’t in a massive rush, or that losing a day or two on travel doesn’t bother you. Sometimes the journey can be just as much fun as the destination. Sometimes booking the halves of a trip with different airlines is even cheaper again. So mix and match your travel options.
Flying isn’t the only option. While most people will head straight for the option of flying, you could take the train, a coach, a boat or even drive. There are a lot of options to choose from, so as above, get creative!
If you do fly, pre-book your parking spot. Rather than spend hours scouring the internet, you can follow this link to find an array of cheap airport parking tips. There is nothing more relaxing than putting your luggage in your own trunk and driving home in your own car, and there is plenty of money to be saved by booking ahead.
If you are visiting a city, you can often head to the website that represents the city (or country) and pre-order travel passes, passes for museums and other bundles. These boots were made for walking… Well, while you might be tempted to get a taxi everywhere, just don’t. Uber is also super tempting, but depending on what you are doing, and where you are traveling – you’re going to be safer (and a saver) by using the good old ankle express. Besides, there is no better way to explore the area than by getting a little bit lost. There are usually plenty of ‘free days’ for any major tourist attractions, be sure to book in advance in those time slots or arrive nice and early.
Hotel schmotel. While hotels are a little bit of luxury, Airbnbs are usually much more cost effective and have the added bonus of being much more homelike. Plus, if you are booking an apartment or house, you will have access to a whole kitchen. You can then head to a local supermarket and buy a few days worth of food – saving a fortune on eating out. If you decide that you would rather eat like a local, then really take that to heart. Before you leave get online and seek out all of the local blogs, where are they eating? Ask your Airbnb host or the hotel staff – where do they eat? The odds are it will be great food at a reasonable price.
Get techy. Rather than walking around with countless maps, a translation guide and other stuff, load your phone up with apps. Travel guides when digital a long time ago, and will serve you very well when you’re away. This also means that before you leave, you should check out the free WiFi or data options for your chosen destination.
Ditch the ATM. Most banks charge a premium on withdrawing cash while you abroad – the exchange rates and commision make it really messy. You might have the option with your bank to notify them of your travels, and they might have a special allowance. If not, set up a google alert for things like the Travelex’s Happy Hour – it is a short period of time in which they offer discounted rates.
Get your emails hotting up with deals and discounts. Once you have a firm plan of where you’re going, sign up to some mailing lists. You can grab a great last minute flight or some serious % off. Like their Facebook pages and be sure to turn on the notifications – if a local eatery has a half price evening meal, or an airline cuts $300 off a flight they will often post it there first.
Earn some cash while your there. This might seem a bit impossible, but with some forward planning and a few days or hours, you can make a chunk of cash. Depending on what country you are in you could offer a few days language tuition, bartending or check out WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.