Travelling around is one of the most enriching things you can do – you get to experience new things, meet new people and try new foods – all of which give you a rounder view of the world and what you want from it. Jetting off to some far flung destination is certainly not as expensive as it used to be, and there are more ways to travel than there ever has been. While this is fine if you have the money, for some a trip to somewhere new is simply not in the budget. It doesn’t always have to be expensive, however – check out our top 10 tips for saving money when you’re on the move.
When travelling to another country, many people have a one track mind; hotels, hotels, hotels. While there’s nothing wrong with them, they’re not the cheapest places to stay, and they can restrict you when it comes to meals too. Try to break away from the hotel habit and go for something like a self-catering apartment, a hostel or camping instead. Bed & breakfasts, local guesthouses and Air B&B properties (where you stay in all or part of someone’s home) are also a good bet, as they’re likely to be much cheaper, more immersive in the local culture, and they allow you to eat more cheaply too.
If you’re planning a big trip where you need to get to a number of destinations before you head for home, it could be worth booking trains, ferries or flights overnight if you can. This means you can sleep whilst travelling and you’ve saved a night’s worth of accommodation costs. Of course, it’s important that you only do this when travelling in a group, so someone can keep an eye on the valuables.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your holiday for less is to befriend someone local who is happy to give you tips on where to go. Often, the most beautiful and the cheapest places are off the beaten track, so get some local knowledge on your side and you may even get a free tour of the surrounding area out of it too.
Rather than reading the guidebook on the flight out there, try to plan ahead as much as you can. Without prior research (looking at trip reviews online, getting a good idea of the prices you should expect etc.) you’ll probably end up spending much more than you should. Checking out the things you want to do in advance can also help you to budget for meals and where you’ll stay, so make this a priority.
Although it may be fun to eat out every single night while you’re away, this can get very expensive very quickly. Try opting for all-inclusive resorts, self-catering accommodation or simply immerse yourself in the culture by eating at the cheaper, more local places rather than fancy restaurants or cafes aimed at tourists. Give street food a try, or if you can, why not have a BBQ and invite some fellow travellers?
Rather than paying a lot of money to hire a car while you’re away, you should try to use public transport where possible. Many countries have excellent bus, train and ferry routes which are often a fraction of the cost of public transport here in the UK. However, this all depends on your destination – if you’re going to a country where it may not be safe to travel by bus at night, always err on the side of caution and travel in the day instead, or simply take a safer mode of transport.
…it’s who you know. Think about the people you know and where they are in the world. This can often be a good way to plan a trip – by stopping off to see old friends and distant family members en route. It’s likely you’ll be offered a bed for the night or at least something to eat, and it also puts local knowledge at your fingertips. People are often keen to show off where they live, so take advantage of this. And don’t forget to invite them to the UK so you can repay the favour.
It’s important to carry some cash on you when you’re travelling, just in case you lose your bank cards or they get stolen. Using a money belt which sits under your clothes is a common method for keeping this cash safe. Don’t simply put all of your cash into one wallet and leave it in your back pocket – this is a recipe for disaster!
Keeping it simple is the best way to save on luggage fees. There’s this saying – when preparing to travel, lay out everything you want to pack before you go, then take double the money and half the clothes – which illustrates a good point. Don’t over-pack your bags and get hit by high luggage fees. Similarly, don’t under-pack so much that you have to spend a lot of money when you’re out there. Take clothes which are easy to wash in a hotel sink (just in case!) and layer up thin garments so you’re able to take more with you without it affecting the weight of your bag.
Above all, it’s so important to be insured when you go abroad. Not only will this protect you if your holiday provider goes bust, but it can also get you a refund should your holiday be cancelled because of an illness or injury. Attending a hospital or doctor’s surgery abroad can be an extremely expensive process if you don’t have the necessary protection, and while it’s likely you’ll have a drama-free trip away, it’s best not to take any chances.
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