Okay, we’ve all been there, we’ve got over-ambitious plans to see and do everything when we travel. It’s kind of a given, especially if you want to explore and see as much of new cities and countries as humanly possible. That being said, there’s always that niggling critter of financing that tends to bite at your heels to keep your dream trip in check. This is exactly why I wanted to share some practical and easy ways to save money on travel, so you can stretch your trips (and budget) even further.
Now, one thing to note here is that every single person has a budget when they travel. Some might be keen to look at budget travel, whilst others might be looking for that uber-luxurious trip that’s filled with pink flamingoes and gold water! Whatever the case, no one that books a trip is ever happy in paying more than they need to.
This is why I wanted to pop over a few easy ways I’ve used to save money on travel and still do all the things I want to do.
Take a look, below, at some easy ways to save money on travel planning and the trips themselves.
1.) Cut down flight costs
Okay, so, one of the easiest ways to save money on travel is by choosing your flights wisely. You see, there’s a whole range of different tips and tricks to nab the cheapest flights – which will all make that holiday budget stretch much further.
For starters, make sure to be flexible in the times and dates of your flights. Monday and Friday’s are usually more expensive than Tuesday and Thursday (for instance). This means, if you can be flexible with work, you can grab yourself a significantly cheaper flight.
Also, if you really want to save money on travel itself, then make sure to also check the times of your flights. For instance, a 6 am flight is usually cheaper than a mid-morning flight. Obviously, this is due to the unsociable hours and less demand, so make sure to take advantage and head for these.
Finally, if you can, fly from secondary airports in and out of bigger cities. This works well for places like London, where you’ll usually find cheaper flights landing at Stansted Airport than at City Airport. Though, with secondary airports, always weigh up the transport costs to your accommodation, too. You won’t want to be stung with high train fares.
2.) Visit regional cities
Now, if you really want to save money on travel then you might want to stay away from the more expensive cities. For instance, travelling to London or Rome can end up being more expensive than visiting Palermo or York (for instance).
Typically, in more regional cities, accommodation and food prices are somewhat lower and more affordable for the pocket. This all means you can stretch your budget that bit further and explore for that bit longer.
3.) Find free things to do
This is probably one of the easiest things to do to save money on travel, especially once you arrive at a new destination. Even in the most expensive cities, there are always free events, tours and specific ‘free entry’ dates for museums and galleries that you can easily take advantage of.
Once you arrive, sign up for some free walking tours, head on over to the websites for the museums and galleries and plan, plan, plan!
Equally, cities like London have a treasure-trove of free museums and galleries that are free any time of the year.
4.) Share costs with friends
For me, this is a total no-brainer, especially as I’m all for trips with friends. Not only do you get to hang out with your nearest and dearest, but you’ll also be able to save money on travel by shilling out those invites.
You see, the more of you that share taxi costs, accommodation, food and pitchers, will bring your individual costs much lower.
It’s a totally easy way to bring your gang together and end up saving more money, too.
5.) Visit Places during ‘off’ season
Prices can change dramatically on the dates you decide to travel. This is exactly why it’s important to always keep a close eye on seasonal changes in pricing and plan your trip accordingly.
For instance, you can head across to some stunning Greek islands in May or October and it’ll cost you a fraction of the cost of travelling in August. This is all to do with the summer holidays and, untimely, demand.
Easily, If you plan your trip at the start or the end of the season, then you can save money on travel, making your trip so much cheaper.
6.) Spend on cards
Now, there’s another pretty easy hack to save money on travel and that’s actually by spending itself! If you’re like me, I always tend to use cards over cash, which means you’re can sign up for lots of perks from your card issuer.
For instance, certain credit cards and an American Express will actually reward your spend with points that can subsequently be used on travel. Perks can include anything from cashback with certain companies, flight miles and even cash itself.
It’s one of the easiest ways to make your spending work for you!
7.) Eat like a local
This can be a total winner if you’re looking to save money on travel and still want some great foodie treats. You see, heading to restaurants in the key ‘touristy’ areas can actually end up costing you significantly more than a spot just 10-minutes away.
I’m using London as an example again, but no Londoner really eats in ‘Angus Steak House’ in Leicester Square! Not only is it overpriced, but it’s placed as a convenient option for unknowing visitors to hop in quickly.
Take a little stroll away from the main haunts and check out the more independent and less tourist-focused restaurants for a bite to eat. This way, you’ll be guaranteed a better quality of food and not be paying through the nose for a restaurant that’s hiked up prices.
8.) Shop wisely
If you’re anything like me, you’ll usually be in an excited state by the time you’re at the airport and ready to board your flight.
Now, this can be all well and good, but typically, this usually comes with impulsive purchases in the duty-free areas. You know the kind of things I mean; a huge Toblerone, fragrances, sunglasses and beauty products.
First up, it’s always good to remember that duty-free isn’t always as cheap as it’s cracked up to be. You see, you can take advantage of seasonal sales like black Friday perfume deals or post-Christmas stock clearances that cost way less than duty-free itself.
This all means that your essentials like Yves Saint Laurent perfume or that massive Toblerone shouldn’t be impulse bought at the airport. Oh, and yeah, Toblerone is definitely essential. Ha!
9.) Take a red-eye flight
Now, this is quite an easy way to cut down on accommodation costs for one night. For instance, we’ve done this when we’ve travelled from Seattle to NYC and ended up arriving into the Big Apple first thing in the morning. It’s a totally easy way to save money on travel, especially if you want to keep costs as low as possible.
That being said, this comes with a risk, especially if you can’t fall asleep on the plane. So, arrive at the plane tired and get ready to snooze.