Monday 2nd of January 2017
We know the main reason most people don’t travel more is money. So we want to help by giving you free advice and tips on how to travel longer, farther and more often.
1. Trust a decent comparison website for your hotel and flights.
We know that there are dozens of comparison sites for travel nowadays but which ones are actually worth your time? We say look at the reviews using an independent site like Trustpilot and go for a trustworthy site like Skyscanner or Expedia. Chances are, the better known sites don’t need to pay hotels to feature so you know there is no bias prices or sneaky hidden motives for a less-than-stellar accommodation.
2. Book early to save higher rates.
It’s no secret that service companies change their rates as the peak seasons approach. Avoid this unfair price hike by booking your room, apartment, rental car, flights, etc. as early as you possibly can. You can always cancel or change the details later on if you change your mind or something happens to your travel plans. And chances are if it’s still within the cancellation policy – you won’t be losing out any cash.
3. Exchange your money when the rate is highest.
There is still some volatility on the currency markets following the Brexit vote. If you’re worried, one option is to buy from a firm that allows you to order but with a cancellation right. So you lock in today’s rate, but if it improves you cancel and buy elsewhere.
4. Consider letting your house out while you are away.
If your budget doesn’t include a top 5* hotel and you can’t find a suitable apartment to rent (often cheaper) in the city of your choice then it would be well worth your while having a look at HomeExchange – Where you can search over 65,000 homes in 150 countries. To travel anywhere, live like a local and stay for completely free!
5. Walk. Everywhere.
Depending on the city you visit, there might not be a good transport system in place and unless you’re relying on a hire car, it’s a good idea to plan how you’re going to get around. A great part of travelling is the sight-seeing and most of that is done by foot. Find some interesting footpath trails and scenic walks that take you out of the central touristy areas and off the beaten track. Not only will you save money on train rides and buses but you’ll get a much better feel for the country and it’s neighbourhoods.
6. Do your research when planning.
When you’re planning your next holiday online, get on the Travel Forums and Twitter and see what people are saying about your destination. Often travel bloggers and lesser-known guide websites give a more honest review than the big brands and will help you from wasting money. The Secret Guide to… series are often the most interesting reads for local hotspots written by local people. What may sound like a really worthwhile, essential landmark may actually turn out to be a bit of a waste of time, reviews on TripAdvisor can tell you all you need to know before you spend your precious pennies.
“They were trying to charge us £12 at the gate to get in and see the castle but according to our Secret Guide to Dublin there was a cafe on the opposite side of the grounds with a balcony that gave us the most incredible view down into the castle walls. Plus we found the best coffee of the entire trip!” – Review on TripAdvisor
7. Don’t be tempted to choose ‘All Inclusive’.
When booking your hotel, you can save a small fortune on choosing Self-Catering versus All Inclusive. Self-catering holidays tend to be cheaper to book and suit those travelling in a large group as you can split the costs of food shopping and cooking. It can be wise to have your main meal of the day out at a restaurant or in your hotel dining room but breakfast and lunches can be super cheap to buy and make yourself in the room. You can budget for the essentials such as bottled water, wine, soft drinks, snacks and fruit. Doing it this way not only saves an awful lot of money but it gets you a much richer experience of the local produce and culture. After all, when in Rome…
Foodie Top Tip AskApril@askapril.com says “High end restaurants that are hard to get into, let alone afford, will be happy to serve you desert and a cappuccino after regular dinner hours. You’ll get the table, the luxury experience, the cuisine and the budget prices by skipping the meal.”
8. Make sure your insurance is valid.
One very expensive and rather unexpected cost can be having an accident, losing something or damaging your property whilst abroad. Most insurance policies cover theft but it is always wise to read up and check your insurance is valid before you go. If you don’t have the right insurance cover in place, your dream holiday could turn into a nightmare – with bills running into tens of thousands of pounds. The basics you need are Cancellation and Curtailment, Delay, Baggage and Belongings, Personal Liability, Emergency Assistance and Medical Cover. For a full comparison have a read on Money Supermarket’s list here.
9. Plan activities you will actually stick to.
It can be all too easy to see the first advertised guided tours and exciting excursions for your holiday destination. But be wary of the price, who’s selling it (might be cheaper direct from the company rather than booking through a travel agents who take a cut) and don’t buy until you’ve fully researched your options. Other companies might be selling the same trip but for a lower rate or at a later time in the day. Don’t forget to check Groupon and LivingSocial (GrabOne if you’re visiting Ireland) for half-price tickets on local events.
10. Be wise with your spending money.
You may have set out a careful budget and know exactly what you want to buy abroad but be careful how you take your money with you. Take your credit or debit card abroad, but watch out for foreign usage charges and your cards getting blocked by your provider. A better option would be a prepaid card which can be loaded with your spending cash and only let you go up to the amount set. Although keeping all of your cash on you is not the most secure way to spend abroad, do not be afraid to bring a little more in case you overspend, just be vigilant. Don’t forget you can also earn cash back through a third party site such as TopCashback.