Saving money whilst travelling can seem like an impossible task. The whole point of adventuring is to have as much fun as possible and that’s a whole lot easier when you’re not having to worry about the budget, right? Wrong. Holidaying on a budget can be great fun, having to cut corners here and there will help you to live a little more like a local and get an even deeper understanding of the places you choose to visit.
Get Back to Nature
Where does the bulk of your money go when booking a holiday? Unless you’re flying a very long distance, then it probably goes on accommodation. One very simple way to save money on accommodation is to bring your own! Camping holidays are great fun and ridiculously affordable, especially if you’re travelling as a family.
You can choose how ‘back to nature’ you make it, whether you bring your own tent or fork out a little for a yurt, you’re bound to be saving compared to a hotel room and there’s something ever so special about waking up in the great outdoors. Of course, this sort of tip, whilst great for the countryside, is not so practical when it comes to a city break, so onwards we go.
Saving in the City
Whilst a camping holiday may be quite straightforward in the money saving department, there are some destinations that require slightly more thought. Glitzy destinations such as theme parks, or large cities require creative thinking, but it’s still possible to cut some corners. Let’s start with the trickiest and take the casino capital as an example; although it appears difficult, there are still ways to save money in Vegas. Making the most of resort cards and loyalty schemes is a great way to save a few pennies, particularly in cities that are geared towards tourism.
The other great benefit of big cities is that most of them have ‘free days’ where museums and galleries don’t charge for entry. If you’re travelling as a group then this could easily save you enough money for a couple of bottles of wine or your airport transfer. Another cheap way to amuse yourself is with a walking tour.
Many guided tours are stewarded by students, who know the city like the back of their hand and have a wealth of knowledge to share. Most are free to join with the expectation to tip at the end and when you know it’s helping a student who needs it, it feels like that’s money well spent.
Save on Flights
Flights are another hard-hitter when it comes to planning a holiday. Of course the best way to save money here is to not fly at all, take a staycation or get the train if you have the luxury of time. However, sometimes you want to be far away from it all and flying is the only way to get you there. In that case, be savvy when booking your flights.
Travelling off season (i.e. not in school holidays) is the number one way to save money. If you don’t have that luxury then book midweek flights and book them at the weekend – its estimated people pay around 19% less when booking flights at the weekend compared to during the week.
If you’d like the hassle taken out of booking then there is so much travel technology to help you with that. SkyScanner searches through all available flights for your selected dates and picks out the cheapest ones for you.
Remember though, clear your cookies regularly and browse in incognito mode. Companies are always collecting information, so if they realise that you’re looking to fly on specific dates, you can be sure those dates will become more expensive the longer you look!
Saving on Food
Eating out three times a day is not only bad for the waistline, but also disastrous for the bank balance. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling somewhere with a farmer’s market then make the most of the fresh produce. Local fruits and vegetables, as well as speciality meats and cheeses, will be much cheaper at the market than in a restaurant and are usually of exactly the same quality.
Book an apartment or a room with a fridge and kitchenette and use it! Having a big fresh salad once you’re home from a long day will save you plenty of money and taste delicious. Try to have your eating out meal at lunchtime, as prices are often cheaper and if you have any leftovers you can pop it in the fridge.
If you’re bound to a hotel room then there is still hope. Try to stay somewhere with a breakfast buffet; a big meal in the morning will keep you satisfied for longer and breakfasting in restaurants can be prohibitively expensive. Buy non-perishable snacks and drinks that you can keep in your hotel room and take with you on excursions. A packet of granola bars is only likely to cost a dollar or two at the store, whilst buying just one in a vending machine will be the same amount of money.