Since I have been bitten by the travel bug and have started travelling quite a bit, everyone keeps asking me on how I manage the financing. No, I don’t ask my parents and neither do I earn a lot, but I have come to realise that gone are the days where taking a long international holiday or that dream vacation, meant an empty bank account. Nowadays with just a few hours spent on the internet, planning well and availing discounts available on the internet, you can actually take a vacation and also end up saving significant expenses.
So below are the top 5 tips that can help you save quite a bit on your vacation for that next trip on the horizon 🙂 –
1. Flights – Whenever possible, decide and block your air tickets at least 3 months in advance. For the best deals on airfare always check across various airlines / travel booking websites, travel related coupons , offers run by airlines etc before booking your tickets. Also check across all kinds of options available on routes, from nearby cities, different airports, etc as many times direct flights are more expensive and flights with some halts are much cheaper. See if you can also be a bit flexible on travel dates as the mid-week flights are normally cheaper than the weekend flights.
For all your regular and official travel, always try to travel by one large airline and collect air miles that you can always redeem for booking your vacation tickets. Another option is that you can take up one of the many travel credit cards available that give air miles as points on all purchases; you can use this card for your regular usage and aggregate as many air miles as possible. Both these options help get significant discounts on flights and at times nearly free tickets.
2. Accommodation / Hotels – Try and see if you can travel slightly off-season to any destination as hotels tend to be much cheaper and easy to book during these times. By off-season I mean 1 month before the entire tourist season starts. If you plan on staying in one hotel for more than 3 nights then try to negotiate for a better deal. You can also redeem your credit card or hotel chain miles or use travel coupons for additional discounts.
3. Local Travel during the vacation – Before booking your accommodation, take a few minutes to check out how close it is to all the places that you want to see. If possible, select a place that is at a walking distance from all major places and if possible also to the local train / bus station. This will save you a lot in terms of local travel expenses. If you drive then you can rent a car and drive everywhere. If you are relying on local transportation then check all the local city travel cards, group travel cards and other offers available. We once got a group travel card that included unlimited local public transportation of upto 5 people for a price of about 1.5 people.
4. Sightseeing – Every city has a lot to offer but you never have time to cover everything. Hence be sure on exactly what it is that you would like to see or do there and shortlist a mix of both free and paid things to see and do. Many cities have free walking tours that are good and only work on tips, so check them out and explore the city with them. For the paid things decide on what is it that you would like to see and buy tickets for that in advance online. This will save you a lot of time (of standing in the queues) and at times help you avail any available offers. Many places in Europe allow visitors to visit museums, etc free (without a ticket) on certain days. Check on these days online and visit these places then. Also if you are a student, carry your student id and avail student discounts wherever possible.
5. Eating out – To save on eating out, you can try the following –
- Try the local street food wherever you visit. This gives you an actual flavor of the place, that too at nearly rock bottom prices.
- Eat local whenever you travel and avoid restaurants near the tourist locations (also Indian restaurants are one of the most expensive places to eat outside India).
- Head for smaller restaurants in less touristy areas where prices tend to be more affordable.
- Additionally you can shop at local shops / stores for fresh fruits, yogurts, etc and the local bakeries for bread and pastries. This also gives you an opportunity to try stuff that you otherwise don’t get back at home.
If you find these tips helpful or have any of your own money-saving tips that you would like to share, then please feel free to share them below or tweet at traveler_budget. Here’s to Happy Planning and Travelling 🙂