One of the main reasons why people don’t travel is that they think they can’t afford it. I hear people say all the time that travel is too expensive and that they could never afford to travel like I do.
Let me tell you, I am not rich! My parents are not rich, my husband is not rich and I don’t have a high-paid job. The key to travelling is saving hard and knowing where to look for the best deals.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive so in this blog post I am going to do a run-down of the tips that I have found most helpful when travelling on a budget.
Be prepared to search, search and search some more
It’s very rare you will find a bargain the first time you research a trip. I once spent several months searching for the right deal to New York City. I got it, but it took patience and perseverance. The result? I saved about £400 per person. It may take a fair amount of your time but it only means that you get to spend less and travel more!
Stay away from mainstream travel agents (most of the time)
You know the ones I am talking about. By all means, check them out, but 90% of the time you will find that they are double the price of other lesser-known travel agents/websites. Of course, every now and again you may find a great deal on one of those websites, it may be due to a flash sale, but as a general rule I resolve to pay half what the mainstream companies are charging. It generally works! For package holidays, use websites such as http://www.travelzoo.com, http://www.travelrepublic.com, http://www.loveholidays.com and http://www.holidaydiscountcentre.com and as above, be prepared to search for the right deal.
Book flights and accommodation separately
Don’t always assume that package deals are the most cost efficient. It is always worth considering your options. Check flights on skyscanner.net and search for hotels on booking.com. This will give you a rough idea of which option is the cheapest.
Book accommodation through Airbnb.com – Use this link to get £30 off your first stay http://www.airbnb.co.uk/c/zaitken1
Following on from the point above…use Airbnb.com for super cheap apartments. Airbnb offers privately owned apartments/houses which are often located right in the heart of a city for a fraction of the price of a hotel. If you want to save even more money, opt to stay in a private room in someone’s home rather than rent an entire place. Not only do you save cash but you also get to experience your destination like a local, making for an even better experience.
Be prepared to travel at awkward times
Granted, it may not always be convenient for you to catch a flight at 3 am but if you can, do so. You will often find that the flights that leave very early or very late will be a lot cheaper than those leaving in the middle of the day. The way I see it, the earlier your flight leaves for your destination the more time you get to spend there. Who wants to lose a whole day sight-seeing just because you wanted a flight that leaves in the afternoon?
Book flights on a Tuesday at 3pm.
For some reason, this is the time that most airlines release sales and cheap flights. Be sure to check out flights during this time in order to snap up a cheap deal.
Avoid expensive baggage fees
Do you really need 4 pairs of jeans for that 3 night stay in Barcelona? Travel light and take only what you need. Save kilos by buying cheap shampoos, shower gels and sun cream at the destination and leaving it there when you come home. By travelling with only a cabin carry-on bag you will save yourself up to £70! Yes, that is what some airlines charge for a suitcase! That cheap bargain flight can quickly turn into a very expensive one.
Book your own transfers
Forget taxi’s unless there really is no other option. Use resorthoppa.com for European beach destinations and for city breaks always be sure to research the public transport systems. It is often so easy to get around using the Metro, Subway or bus routes. It also gives you a great feel for the city you are in all while saving you £££.
Avoid tourist hotspots
It really is common sense that you will pay more for your food at popular tourist sites. To save money, wander off the beaten track. Don’t be afraid to try those tiny little restaurants down side streets, venture further out of town or give that street food a go. You will often find that this is the best and most tasty food to be had!
Avoid flying on a Friday or Sunday
The most expensive days to fly are the days when everyone wants to travel. Fridays and Sunday will always be the most expensive days as these are the most convenient for a lot of people. Try your hardest to be flexible to get the best results.
Look out for things to do that are free
Most cities offer free walking tours which help you to see the city and learn about it’s history and architecture at the same time. Also look out for museums which are free to enter. It’s usually best to do some research in advance as some museums have offers for students on certain days or are free for people of a certain age. For example, most of the attractions in Paris are free for European Union citizens under the age of 25, meaning you can save tons of money!
I sincerely hope some of these tips will help some of you to travel more frequently! There’s no better feeling than knowing you paid half what everyone else paid because you have the know-how!