Ok, your Travel Budget is all set and you are ready to go! Well, not quite yet. There are still a couple of things that you might want to consider…
The Secrets of Budget Travel: Ways of saving money and going as far as you can
Always try to negotiate. Since all travel deals are time-sensitive there is always a room left empty or a flight seat that isn`t filled. If you find one (especially if it is a last minute deal) try to bargain and most likely you will get a sweet deal from your tour operator, hotel or travel agent.
Money saved: as much as possible.
Try to avoid peak season. Sometimes you have to travel during school summer holidays and in that case you won’t have much choice but try going as late as you can. If you do have a choice than the last week of August and the first one in September are much cheaper than the rest of summer vacation season. If you are lucky you will manage to squeeze a week just before the school year starts.
Money saved: 15-30% in comparison to peak-season.
Carefully pick you dates. When you do your own booking and planning you must check all fares available through a website like Skyscanner.net. This will give you an insight of all fares around your dates of travel. Sometimes the prices for the same flight can differ significantly.
Money saved: As high as 300% on flights.
It’s always a sunny week or two in October. I know that in general October can be unpredictable but traveling in places like the Canaries, Morocco or Florida can be a home run. Make a reservation for October a few months earlier will provide you with the lowest possible rate.
Money saved: 20-40% in comparison to peak-season.
Using websites for price- comparison and monitoring the internet. 15 minutes spent on the internet can save you some serious cash. Website like Kayak can be used by travelers to look for best prices for package holidays, hotel booking, car rental, travel insurance etc. Make sure you don`t overlook the details because companies often lower their prices by cutting away many extras. Many travel companies put out special offers and price reductions (especially for peak periods) via email. Sometimes getting all that annoying email can be worth it.
Money saved: as much as possible.
Avoiding additional charges for expensive frills and overweighed luggage. Simple things like looking at the very bottom price when booking a flight or making sure that your bags are bellow the size and weight can help avoid additional charges.
Money saved: up to $40.
Plan your departure carefully. Since your departure date determines the fare for long-haul flights, adjusting your date even by a single day will cost you dearly.
Money saved: $300+
If you can doze off easily try traveling overnight. The point is to save the cost of a hotel by taking the overnight ferry or train. Night time crossings are usually cheaper. But if you can`t handle it – don’t do it since there is no point ruining your next day by being tired and sleepy.
Money saved: 2 nights’ accommodation on a return trip.
Bring your own food and drinks. A couple of sandwiches and soft drinks on a family trip can cost at least $30. It`s better and cheaper to bring your own whenever you can.
Money saved: $15+
If you`re up for it try swapping your house. This idea was new to me when I found out that people who live in desirable areas are prepared to swap houses and cars with like-minded holidaymakers abroad. If you like the idea try Homeexchange.com and Homebase-hols.com.
Money saved: the costs of all your accommodation.
Camping is not as cheap as it seems. You might think that staying in a tent or in a RV can be a budget saver move, but keep in mind that in high season a mobile home can cost up to $1.600 for a week. On the other hand renting a small vacation house is much cheaper – almost half the price.
Money saved: 50%.
Using ultra-cheap hotel chains for stop-overs. They may be not as pretty to look at, but they need to be clean and efficient. Also be prepared to share a room with your family. Often such hotels are located outside of town centers, so it might be a good idea to map the exact location if you are planning to arrive late at night.
Money saved: around $100
Duty-free shopping. There are many tax-free shops in the EU, but you can also get a refund from non member states from shops participating in national tax-free schemes. All you have to do is keep receipts and present them before leaving the country. All refunds are usually made by post.
Money saved: around 20%
Good old-fashioned walking. All major cities like Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome… are pretty easy to get around. All you need to do is a little ahead planning and order your sightseeing locations so you don`t have to use a bus and tube fares.
Money saved: $15-$20
Buy a travel and city sightseeing pass. You can save significantly with transport passes. For example: in Paris, 10 journeys can cost you around 13€ and a single one is almost 2€ (tickets are sold in “carnets”).
Sightseeing passes can offer more benefits if you can get them at decent price. Some of them allow unlimited public transport and many discounts (up to 25%) for museums, sights, concerts, shops and restaurants.
Money saved: $15+
What`s your age? If you are over 65 or still a student, some entries in museums or galleries can be free of charge or with a certain discount. Students should always carry student ID for lower charges or maybe a freebie.
Money saved: $15+
When traveling/renting a car. Lately, all companies try to keep the advertising costs as low as they can so they often will try to add extra charges during the booking process or pre-arrival. Always compare only bottom-line prices and not the headlines. The most common and often the most expensive add-on is car insurance. You can cover this cheaply by getting it from an insurance specialist. Go for a diesel car if you can (since they tend to use lees fuel and are cheaper than petrol). Also use supermarkets for refills rather than motorways and auto route and compare prices if you are traveling cross countries. Another way of saving some car money is by using toll-free roads. They are often slower to travel on but there’s no toll and the chances are you will use less fuel.
Money saved: $40-$260
Don`t you dare open that mini bar! 🙂 All drinks are way too expensive. It`s cheaper to buy them from the bar or you can always smuggle some from the local supermarket.
Money saved: at least $3 per drink.
When eating out. Don`t go for the first restaurant you see at big sights. A few minutes of walk around the corner can save you a lot of money and it will enrich your experience. There are two basic rules for eating out: menus are always cheaper at lunchtime and choose meals from a fixed-price menu, or go for the meal (dish) of the day. When complementing your food try local wines because they go well with the traditional dish and are much cheaper. In many Continental European cafe`s the food and drink are more affordable at the bar rather than at the table. For example: an espresso in Rome might cost you 1€ at the bar, or 3.5€ if you take a table. Beer lovers remember that draught beer is half the price than bottled beer.
Money saved: almost half the price.