Travelling is one of life’s great joys, and having the opportunity to do it is a privilege which we should take advantage of. Whether you are only able to go on holiday once a decade, or you travel every year, it provides you with unique and valuable experiences. Regardless of how frequently (or infrequently) you do travel, chances are you are keen not to overspend when you go abroad. But achieving this can sometimes be a bit of a struggle – and no small mystery. How, exactly, are you meant to holiday without breaking the bank? Fortunately, there are numerous tried-and-tested techniques for doing just that. Let’s take a look at a few of those tricks now.
Before You Go
The truth is, most of the money saving takes place before you even leave. A little reflection will soon show how this can be the case. After all, on which part of the experience do you normally spend the most money? If you are like most people, you will find that it is the pre-booked elements of your holiday which tend to cost you more. The good news here is that it is also these parts which are the easiest to skimp and save on. Let’s have a look in more detail at what I mean.
Quite possibly the main expense for the average holidaymaker is the flights. There are several ways to get around the often extortionate cost of flights. Far and away the most effective is also one of the simplest: be careful when you choose when to travel. Your choice of when to travel is one of the main determining factors in how expensive your holiday will be overall. If you are planning a trip, plan to go in low season. In other words, go when the minority of people are going. You will notice that around this time, the price of flights significantly drops. This is also true if you manage to avoid things like school or public holidays. It might take a little rearranging of your life to achieve this well, but with the amount of money you save it is likely to be worth it. It might also be worth considering what time of day to travel at. If you grab a flight in the early hours of the morning, it is likely to be significantly cheaper. The only real problem here is having to set your alarm so early!
But that’s not all – there are other ways to save money on your flights. Part of the process here is a simple matter of exercising your consumer rights. That’s right – you can probably save a fair amount on flights by just shopping around. Often, people automatically go for a certain airline who they assume will be the cheapest. But that is not always the case, and you might be pleasantly surprised at how thrifty other airlines can be. Regardless, with the cost of flights being what they are, it is always worth looking around a little. You also have the option of using air travel points. If you have points saved up, you can use them part way towards the cost of your flight, and save a little money.
Another way to acquire cheap flights is to fly indirectly to your destination. This can be a pain, and some people decide it just isn’t worth it. But, depending on your circumstances, it just might work out better overall. If you are someone who doesn’t mind a bit of a stopover, then this can be a great way to save a huge amount of money on your travelling costs. That way, you have all the more to take with you as spending money for when you are out there. Speaking of which…
When You’re There
No matter where in the world you are travelling to, there are many methods for keeping hold of your money as long as possible. We have all had the unfortunate experience at some point in our lives of running out of money while holidaying. Not only is this a downer on the whole trip, but it can also even be quite dangerous. You should, in an ideal world, always have something spare – just in case something goes wrong. The last thing anyone wants is to be stranded abroad with no money to their name. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make your money go further while you are abroad. We’ll start by looking at the accommodation.
After flights, the accommodation is often the next most expensive part of the average holiday. How much you can reasonably expect to save on this part of the holiday depends on what kind of sacrifices you are willing to make. The truth about accommodation is that you can’t reasonably expect to save a huge deal without giving up some degree of quality. However, depending on your travelling style, this might not matter. So how do you save on accommodation?
One obvious, and important, way to save on accommodation is just to book ahead as early as possible. There is also the advantage to be had from booking in low season. Just as with the flights, this can dramatically reduce the cost of staying at a hotel. And of course, you can always switch that four- or five-star hotel for a hostel if you want to save on the cash. But you need not go that far if you don’t want to. There are many other options available to you. One such option is that of the house swap. A house swap is a fantastically unique way of avoiding the many issues associated with hotels – much more than just the cost. With a house swap, you have a cheap and cheerful way of sourcing accommodation in your target country. This will cost you virtually zero, so it is definitely a worthwhile saving tip. There is, however, the important issue of being able to trust the people who are in your home for that time. But as long as you use a reputable agent, it should be trouble-free.
If you don’t quite want to go this whole way, you can still make something of a compromise. You could, for instance, save a fair amount of money by renting a private room rather than booking a hotel. There are many useful websites for doing just this, such as airbnb.co.uk What’s more, the costs of booking accommodation in this way are often up to a half or even two-thirds the cost of a hotel room.
But saving money while you are out there is not just about the accommodation. There are also many wise things you can do to make your money go further; simple tricks which anyone can benefit from. One main one is also quite simple indeed: budget yourself. Many of us are prone to budgeting at home, and then let things go a little when we are abroad. This is perfectly natural and understandable, I suppose. After all, it is a holiday, and you want to enjoy yourself. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t need to spend that much money if you want to enjoy yourself while abroad. Setting a budget is a wise idea for just about any holidaymaker. The main benefit is that it stops you overspending on those occasional frivolities. The things about those small expenses, as we all know, is that they soon add up. Before you know it, you are back home and wondering what happened to last month’s wages. Avoid this situation altogether by being a little stricter with yourself. Set the budget long before you even step on foreign soil. Have it very clear in your head what you are allowing yourself to spend. A good budget needs to be as detailed as possible, so make sure yours is. Have a daily budget, a weekly one and an overall one. That way, you are much less likely to splash out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. There are other ways to save money while you are out there.
Always ensure that you spend money in the local currency. If you use a normal debit (or worse, credit) card, then you will likely be shocked when you return home. These often have extortionate costs attached to them when used abroad. It is always best to use the local currency. Take as much of it as you can with you, and also consider using traveller’s cheques. These are one of the safest ways you can carry and spend money abroad.
When you are out there, save a little something extra by being careful about where you eat. Eating out is often one of the main expenses for tourists, so having some diligence in this area is likely to save you a considerable amount. The truth is, this works on many levels. Not only does eating at the lesser-known places cost less – it is often more authentic, more delicious food.
All that being said, it is just as important to remember to have as much fun as possible. After all, what is the point of travelling if you don’t enjoy yourself? Save some money in the process, however, and you will find you can go abroad more often.