Travel broadens the mind, or so they say, but all too often it can lighten your pocket too! From overpaying on your hotel through to finding extra charges on your rental car bill, it’s amazing how quickly the cost of your trip can rack up.
Our guide to saving money while you travel will help to ensure your budget stretches further and allows you to enjoy more of those poolside cocktails!
Hunt for discounts
If you look around you’ll find plenty of great discounts available. Be smart about when you travel. Can you go off-season or flex your dates at all? Can you book an early bird ticket to benefit from advance discounts? Conversely, can you be flexible enough to take advantage of the last minute deal?
The more you look for discounts, the more you’ll find. Sign up to group-buying sites such as Groupon, get travel discount emails, use a student discount to find deals if you’re in college, go into travel agents and haggle… there are plenty of ways to uncover discounts.
Similarly, you can use online travel agents to find excellent value holidays with flexible pricing if you are prepared to put the effort in! Many of these will include last minute deals from accommodations that are underbooked, such as LastMinute.com.
Get plenty of tips online from other holiday bargain hunters too.
Plan well ahead
The more time you can spend thinking about your trip, the more you can secure great deals in advance, rather than paying the ‘rack rate’ at the moment you book. You have more leverage when you are buying service in advance, so make use of it and compare prices with competitors too to avoid paying over the odds. In fact, you can save about 25 percent on your trip when you book in advance.
Why? Because travel operators like to have certainty on bookings to help with their own management (find out more here)
Remember too that thinking ahead will help you to budget more accurately so that you aren’t reliant on an expensive credit card. The more budgeting the better — you’ll be able to relax more as you travel, knowing that you aren’t going overdrawn in the process.
Use a VPN
When you use the internet to buy flights, hotels or other holiday services, you will see a price dependent on your current location. If you are located in the UK, for example, the chances are you will see a higher price than an equivalent shown to someone booking in another part of Europe, or the other side of the world!
Use a VPN to mask your IP location and to allow you to pretend to be in other countries by choosing one of the alternative servers to route through.
By doing this, you will see prices shown in the local currency, and often these will be cheaper than the expensive and premium-charging UK. So you can simply pay in the local currency and enjoy your savings.
If you don’t have a VPN yet, it takes just a few steps to sign up for one and it offers you private and secure browsing, amongst other benefits. For just a few pounds a month, the best services will keep you completely anonymous and free from cybercriminals when you go online.
This means that a VPN can help you to save money while you travel by keeping you safe! You can use a VPN to access public Wi-Fi safely, for example — and also to catch up on your favourite home television shows when you’re abroad!
Find a legit VPN though…
Be careful though, as some sites purporting to be VPNs are actually just fronts for malware. We regularly review all of the latest VPNs so that you don’t have to. One of our favourites at the moment is PrivateVPN, which we’ve reviewed in full.
Check out the full details in our newest PrivateVPN review and benefit from localised pricing, which is cheaper than you’d get from your ‘home’ IP address.
Ask for tips from the locals
Local people will invariably know where the best hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions are, so befriend them and get all the tips. Buy your new local friends a drink or two and you’ll be rewarded by fantastic holiday insights that take you off the beaten track and away from the tourist traps — to the real heart of the place you are keen to explore.
Do you need to do the usual hotel, flight and car combo? Why not look at Airbnb? Or consider house-swapping? You could try backpacking or rent an RV for a holiday on the go. There are plenty of alternative holidays out there that can save you money.
For example, some hostels are now pretty fancy and offer family private rooms. You can also do volunteering holidays or cultural exchanges, which are run by non-profits.
The more you look outside the box, the easier you will find it to secure a fantastic holiday without breaking the bank!