If your deflated bank balance is at odds with your growing wanderlust, never fear! With these top 10 money saving travel tips you won’t have to give up on your holiday aspirations this year. Whether you need to employ some savvy thinking and smart tactics as you’re working to a strict budget or you’re just looking to spend less and travel more, once you’ve mastered the budget break, you’ll never have to go without a holiday again.
1. Keep your dates flexible
If your children have flown the nest or you’re hoping to get away for some much-needed ‘you time’, keeping a weather eye on the school holiday dates and avoiding planning trips within these times should save you a pretty penny. Don’t forget to check the holiday season in your country of choice, too. Additionally, bear in mind that it’s common for people to plan short breaks over a weekend – consequently prices for flights and accommodation tend to be higher at this time of the week.
2. Pre-book airport parking
Although everyone needs a little spontaneity in their lives, waiting until the last minute to organise airport parking simply isn’t worth the hassle and cost. By planning ahead and booking a slot, you’ll not only lower your blood pressure by removing stress on the day you set off, but you’ll also save the expense that comes with booking on-the-spot.
3. Stick to local eats
For the epicurean traveller, sampling delicious cuisine can be one of the most appealing prospects of a holiday. However, the cost of dining out in fancy restaurants can easily mount up if you’re not careful. A top money saving tip is to stick to local cuisine – not only are you likely to experience a range of authentic and top-notch dishes by eating local specialities but the ingredients are more likely to be locally-sourced, cheaper and fresher than the alternatives.
4. Exchange money like a pro
Although you will likely want to avoid carrying large wads of cash around with you on any trip, it definitely pays to put some thought into exchanging your money to ensure you’re not losing out on holiday spends. For example, withdrawing money abroad can incur hefty charges with some banks – make sure you do your research in advance so you can limit your trips to the cash machine. Some reputable companies such as Travelex frequently offer discounted rates when ordering money online – don’t rely on good rates at the airport when all the less-organised travellers are rushing to buy their currency.
5. Consider house-sitting
Take the cost of accommodation out of the equation, and you’ll find your travels suddenly become a lot lighter on the wallet. Think outside the box and explore sites such as TrustedHousesitters.com where people advertise their homes in return for a little domestic care such as watering the plants or feeding the family pet. You need to pay a regular fee to become a member, but the access the site affords to homes all over the globe means that you can travel more frequently without worrying about splashing the cash on hotels.
6. Sign up to flight alerts
Many comparison sites like Skyscanner offer the option of signing up to flight alerts so that you don’t have to keep checking to bag the best deals. Whether it comes in the form of a weekly newsletter from a local budget airline or price change alerts for a specific destination, staying on top of your emails means you won’t miss out on any bargains.
7. Look for a free walking tour
In many major cities, the tourist board will put on free walking tours for visitors to see the key sites. Instead of signing yourself up to an expensive tour, put your investigative skills into action to track down the freebies – it’s a great way to get your bearings in an unfamiliar place and pick up some interesting facts from a local guide.
8. Use public transport
Although it might seem a lot easier to simply hail a taxi or order an Uber, if you can put a little bit of time into navigating the trains, buses or trams that the everyday population in your country of choice relies upon, you’re bound to save heaps of money. You’ll also feel a distinct surge of satisfaction once you have successfully made your way independently from A to B.
9. Download maps to your smartphone
Although roaming charges are not what they used to be, they can still quickly mount up when you start using data abroad. However, when you are lost in a strange city, it will almost seem worth paying through the nose just to get back to the beaten track. By anticipating your poor orienteering skills and downloading useful maps in advance, you can prevent any rash data-roaming decisions taking place in the heat of the moment.
10. Shop around for travel insurance
Travel insurance may not be the most glamorous part of planning a trip, but it’s an essential element nevertheless. Medical Travel Compared can help you shop around for the best policy for your needs, offering access to a wide range of reputable insurersCompare Quotes Now