Travelling doesn’t have a cost a fortune. Contrary to what many may think, you don’t need to be ‘balling’ in order to see the world. The truth is, if you know how to watch your pennies, you will be able to master the art that is travelling on a budget.
The inspiration for this post was my cousin. We were having dinner at MNKY HSE last week and we started talking about holidays and she asked ‘How are you able to travel all the time?’ In this post, I am going to tell you how I do it. As I always say in tip-filled posts, I’m not an expert. I will always do what’s right for me and that’s what I share with you all. I hope you enjoy this post:
If you have no plans to save, travelling WILL cost you an arm and a leg. What I find most helpful is rounding up the costs of my flight and hotel first and saving up for one or both in the space of a month. Don’t be afraid to partially pay for holidays as well. There’s nothing wrong with booking a flight in March and booking your hotel in April. The trouble with saving is that it isn’t glamorized but that is how many of the people you admire or are influenced by are able to pay for their hols.
If you find it difficult to keep money to one side, you could consider opening a savings account primarily for travel. If you put £30 a month in the account, within a year you’ll have saved £360. Depending on where you decide to go, that’s more than enough for a flights and a hotel. Families also tend to favor this option too. With Brexit looming, the cost of living is set to rise and the thought of having to take £400 (for example) out of a monthly pay packet is incredibly daunting for some.
Planning is one of the most important parts of your holiday budget. As mentioned in the previous point, travelling spontaneously really isn’t the way to go. Think about how long you’d like to spend in each country. Is there anything you really want to see? Are there any activities that you’d like to do? Are you planning to visit places that tend to get busy? You need to think about all of these things and more. When I went to Paris last July, I bought my tickets for the Louvre a week and a half in advance! Even prior to your holiday, be sure to plan your journey to the airport in great detail and always check your route the day before/or morning you are due to travel. If you can, try to book any train tickets in advance as prices will be much cheaper.
Signing up to airline and hotel websites
There are so many benefits to signing up to airline and hotel websites. If you hate receiving too many promotional emails, direct them all to a folder. What’s great about a email service like Gmail, for example, is that all mail is categorized. You have primary, social and promotional mail. If you sign up to airline websites, you’ll be the first to know of any sales or promotions. Some airlines have reward systems set up, I know British Airways has a scheme where you can earn Avios (points) when you spend money at retailers such as ASOS, Tesco and John Lewis.
For hotel websites, the benefits are similar. Hotels.com have a reward system where if you collect ten nights in any hotel, you get one night free. On one occasion, I was lucky enough to take advantage of a promotion on Booking.com where 10% off was offered when you booked a hotel on the app. If you are sleeping on airline and hotel apps, now is the time to wake up! Most of the time, flights and hotels are cheaper when you book via the apps. If like me and you use the ‘Wallet’ app on your Iphone to save your tickets, you would need to reinstall the app, prior to your flight or you can just print your tickets.
Researching your destination of choice before you book anything is important. Look into things such as attractions, transport links, weather, crime rates etc. Having knowledge of wherever you chose to go is a must. If you want to travel solo, I highly recommend googling the country/city along with the words ‘solo trip blog’. If you are able to find a few blog posts (or even reviews), give them a read. Not every place is safe for solo travellers. Also, find out when is the best time to make your visit. Some places are great all year round but if you like the sun, for example, the last thing you want is to carrying an umbrella around because you’ve decided to travel during raining season. To summarise, research is essential. When it comes to travelling, never rely on one person’s experience.
Taking advantage of sales
A lot of airlines have sales all year round, for example Ryan Air. As mentioned previously, signing up to receive emails and promotional offers will help because you’ll be first to know when sales actually start. Personally, I like to know that I am saving money when I travel. I compare prices on different websites whenever I book a flight. Don’t be under the impression that if you aren’t paying huge amounts of money for a flight, you won’t have a good experience with the airline. From experience, this hasn’t been the case for me. If I can go to a beautiful place and have a great time, using a budget airline isn’t a big deal.
When searching for flights online, do clear your cookies and your search history. To explain this in simpler terms, every time you are in the process of booking a holiday online, airline and hotel websites will use your search history against you! Of course, the downside to deleting your cookies and search history is that the ‘remember my password’ function will be defunct so in order to avoid resetting all your passwords (if you forget them easily), use a different browser to search for holidays. When using apps, try deleting searches or reinstalling (if you notice a change in prices).
Being cautious of third-party sellers
I wish I knew what I now know about third party sellers five years ago! Without naming and shaming, a lot of third party sellers will advertise what appears to be an amazing holiday deal. You look at it and convince yourself that you are getting your money’s worth. Before you know it, you’re calling the holiday provider to finalise prices and the “perfect” £200 deal has now become a £400 one. Does this sound familiar? Using third party sellers to book holidays is neither here or there BUT I wouldn’t recommend it. If they are your preference, always read the fine print. However, most of the deals are deceptive, they are designed to make you spend more so be cautious!
I hope you have enjoyed this post! As always, I love to hear from you all so how do you travel on a budget? Maybe you’d like to travel more often? If so, which of these tips did you find to be the most helpful?
If you need any advice or guidance on getting your finances in check, I wrote an article for online store The Biographies which features a range of entrepreneurs who are on a mission to change the relationship you have with your money.
Thank you for reading this post.