As anyone who has ever planned a trip knows, travelling gets expensive. Between flights, car hire, hotel bookings and a daily spending allowance for activities and restaurants, what starts out as a cheap weekend getaway can quickly escalate into spending free for all – if you’re a rube.
If you’re not, and you have a little bit of street savviness about you, then there are a number of steps you can take to mitigate the costs of travelling and ensure that you get more bang for your buck. We’ll take a look at some of these tips and tricks below.
Book in Advance
Airlines make a ton of money off of last-minute flights. The logic is that if you’re booking a flight at the very last second then you’re absolutely desperate to reach your destination, probably for a business meeting or some other emergency, and this is where airlines crank up the price.
If you have more flexibility and time to plan your trip, booking way in advance is going to give you access to some of the cheapest fares available.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Depending on the country you’re travelling to, the water there might be of questionable quality, and you’ll likely find yourself shelling out loads in order to buy cold, sealed, plastic bottles of water. Not only is this terrible for the environment, but it’s downright criminal for your wallet.
A quick fix is to bring your own reusable water bottle with you. Just make sure it’s empty when you’re travelling through security at an airport, then you’re free to use and reuse this bottle to your heart’s content. It may not sound like a lot, but every buck you spend on a bottle of water quickly adds up.
Learn Your Air Passenger Rights
If you’ve ever travelled frequently before, then you’ll know that delays and cancellations are inevitable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about them. Quite the opposite. Under certain conditions, and depending on where you’re flying to and the duration of your delay (or if your flight was cancelled altogether), you as an air passenger are entitled by law to monetary compensation to the tune of up to €600.
Airlines are quite hushed about this fact, and make it pretty difficult for you to claim this money back. However, once you are aware of your air passenger rights, simply contact a company like AirHelp in the event of a cancellation or delay, and they will ensure you get your money.
Stay for a Month
This might sound counterintuitive – staying longer in one place to save money – but hear me out. If you’re travelling for an extended period, it might make more sense to stay in one location and use it as a base to explore surrounding areas.
The reason for this is that many hosts, hotels and other forms of accommodation offer hefty discounts for those willing to stay for a month or more.
It’s guaranteed income for them, so they’re willing to let you stay for less in order to reap the benefits of a long-term renter.
Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance seems like can add up to your travel expense but believe me, you are saving so much money by having travel insurance. Who knows what’s out there and what will happen. It’s worth the money to have a peace of mind than finding yourself standing in the middle of ER unsure if you can get the help you badly need.
A friend of mine went to Vietnam where he had an accident, he spent $2000 for hospitalisation whilst he could have paid $120 for a travel insurance coverage.
Travel During Off-Peak Season
Much like the last minute flights we mentioned earlier, airlines are also notoriously expensive during peak seasons. If you’re planning on flying during summer, Thanksgiving or the December period, you’d better be prepared to shell out a fortune on increased costs.
The prices of everything practically double! To save a ton of money, not to mention visiting a place when the tourist ebb and flow is at an all-time low, consider travelling during off-peak seasons.
Bring Food Onboard Before Flying
Many people don’t realize this, perhaps because they get scared away by stringent security checks at airports, but you’re absolutely allowed to bring food with you onboard your flight. If you’re flying on a budget airline where food isn’t provided, this can be a godsend.
Rather than paying insane amounts of money for what amounts to a cheese sandwich with white bread, or remaining hungry and moody for the rest of the flight, prepare something delicious at home and bring it on board with you. Your wallet and your stomach will thank you immensely.
Take Advantage of Free Activities
Just because you’re in a new city doesn’t mean you have to pay for every single tourist trap on the recommended list. There are a ton of free activities regardless of where you go, which will leave you enlightened and entertained without you shredding through money.
For example, if you find yourself in London, take advantage of all of their free museums and art galleries. Another good go-to strategy is to take a free walking tour. They’re on offer in almost every major city in the world and are a great way of getting to know the city you’re visiting for a minuscule or even non-existent price.
Be Flexible With Your Flight Dates
Like travelling during peak season or last minute, airlines charge more for certain days such as Saturday or Monday. Being flexible with your days allows you to travel on days when the price of travel is cheaper. If you have the option, try and travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. These are the cheapest possible days for flying and you’ll likely save a not inconsiderate sum of cash.
Stick To Your Budget
Travelling can get really expensive really quickly, which is why it always pays to have a plan. Before you even get on the plane, draw up a budget based on how expensive the destination you’re going to is, and try to stick to it.
Draw up amounts of how much you’d like to spend on food, accommodation, activities and even souvenirs, and try to stick to it. Even if you overspend slightly, simply having everything written down will make you more aware and more accountable for the money you’re spending, and help you stay on track.
Pack light only brings on hand luggage and avoid the costly fees for keeping baggage in the hold when you fly. You don’t need as much luggage as you think. Most airlines offer passengers at least seven kilograms of luggage to bring with them on board, and many others offer 10.
This is way more than you think, especially for short trips. Plan the outfits you’d like to wear, buy toiletries at your destination and don’t bring anything bulky – it’s easier than you think.