We all have that one friend who always seems to be jetting off to some faraway place. As soon as they get back from their current trip, they’ll not only be telling you all about how amazing it was – they’ll also be telling you where they’re heading off to next. We find ourselves wondering how on earth these people can afford to travel so often, assuming that they must be running up a colossal credit card bill to fund their getaways, or perhaps they have some rich relative who is financing their trips. Who knows, they might well have launched their own travel agency that allows them to travel for less too. Surely they couldn’t afford to pay the regular prices all by themselves, right?
Wrong. There are LOTS of ways to travel for less – here are some of my favourite ones:
- 1 1) Be flexible
- 2 2) Consider the cost of a return ticket vs. two one-way tickets
- 3 3) Book cheaper accommodation
- 4 4) Invest in an unlocked phone
- 5 5) Compare credit/debit cards
- 6 6) Sign-up for email alerts on flight and holiday deals
- 7 7) Use public transport – and Rome2Rio
- 8 8) Eat like a local
1) Be flexible
Be flexible as to where and when you travel to make sure you get the lowest prices. If you’re set on heading to a particular destination, compare costs throughout the year to find out when it’s cheapest to go. If you’re only able to travel during a specific time frame, be open about which country you visit to keep costs down.
When I’m booking flights, I use Skyscanner.net to search for the cheapest destinations and the cheapest dates. Just insert your departure airport, select ‘everywhere’ for your destination airport and change the dates to ‘cheapest month’, and you’ll see a list of destinations ordered by cost.
2) Consider the cost of a return ticket vs. two one-way tickets
Another way to find cheap flights is to look at the cost of a return ticket in comparison with two one-way tickets – it often costs considerably less.
3) Book cheaper accommodation
If you usually stay in a hotel or resort, consider booking cheaper accommodation in a trusted hostel or see what you can find on Airbnb instead. I like staying in hostels because it makes it easier to meet new people, which is particularly important to me if I’m travelling alone. I’m yet to book an Airbnb but I’ve only ever heard great things about it and there are some really cool properties available to rent.
If you’re feeling particularly cost-conscientious, consider couch surfing. Yep, there are lovely people out there who will let you sleep on their couch for nothing, and maybe even share their local knowledge with you too – take a look at CouchSurfing.com.
4) Invest in an unlocked phone
Get yourself an unlocked smart phone and you’ll be able to use SIM cards from any network in each country you visit, allowing you to access local rates that will often be much more reasonable than those charged by your usual provider.
5) Compare credit/debit cards
There’s nothing worse than being greeted by a big credit or debit card bill when you get home because of international cash withdrawal and/or transaction fees. Before you go, compare credit/debit cards to find the ones that don’t charge ATM fees, or those that will give you a full refund. When choosing a credit card, consider which ones offer the best points schemes for food and travel.
Don’t rely on one credit or debit card – it’s always wise to have a back-up option, just in case your main card is lost or stolen.
6) Sign-up for email alerts on flight and holiday deals
Register to receive email notifications for discounts on flights and holidays. I have found some particularly cheap deals through Holiday Pirates and Cheapflights.co.uk.
7) Use public transport – and Rome2Rio
When you arrive at your destination, don’t rely on taxis to get you from A to B – the costs will soon add up, and taxi drivers are often known to overcharge tourists. Instead, explore public transport routes to find the most economical way of travelling around. This way, you’ll get more of an insight into the local environment too.
The Rome2Rio website is particularly useful for comparing public transport routes – just tap in your departure location and where you want to go and this nifty search engine will tell you all the possible ways you could get there.
If you absolutely must catch a cab, compare costs with three different drivers first to make sure you don’t get ripped off.
8) Eat like a local
Resist the urge to splash out on lavish food and drink in swanky hotels and classy restaurants. Instead, follow the locals to wherever they eat – whether it be a simple café, snack bar or street food vendor, it’s bound to be cheaper and it could be more authentic too.
Hopefully, by now you will be feeling more clued up on how to save money on travelling and you can look forward to cutting costs your next holiday! However, if you need to travel at short notice (one of my friends once gave me one months’ notice of her hen do in Marbella!) and haven’t had time to save enough cash to go with, you could consider small loans or pay for your travel and accommodation on your credit card – just be sure to read the small print and double-check interest rates to make sure you can afford to pay back what you lend, without incurring hefty interest fees.
How do you save money whilst travelling? Tell me your top tips below.