As enjoyable as travelling can be, there is so much that needs to be taken into consideration before your jet off on holiday such as where you’ll stay, which tourist attractions you plan to visit, how much money you will need etc. Travelling isn’t for the faint-hearted. If your planning and organisation skills aren’t your strongest asset, then you will definitely have to think twice before you start globetrotting. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned since I started to travel is the importance of having a plan.
When it comes to planning a holiday, it’s almost impossible to do so without taking money into account. Whether you are travelling on a budget or not, you don’t want to be counting pennies until your next payday. In order to have a worthwhile holiday experience, managing your money effectively is essential. In this post, I’m going to be sharing tips on how you can save money on any holiday. I’m starting to write a lot about travel because it is one of my favourite things to do in the world. If you missed my last post, in which I collaborated with a host of travel and lifestyle bloggers who shared some pretty amazing cheap flight hacks, click here to give it a read. Now, let’s talk about how to save for a holiday on a budget:
Go Incognito – Contrary to what many travel websites will tell you, private browsing DOES save you money. I’ve compared prices when I’ve searched for flights or hotels in incognito mode and when I have searched for both when browsing regularly, and there IS definitely a difference. In addition to going incognito, delete your cookies too! I can’t stress about the importance of deleting your cookies enough! Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when you search for a particular route or hotel more than once. The aim of the site is to deceive you into booking the flight or hotel quickly. It’s a very smart tactic and it’s one that you shouldn’t fall for. Also, be weary of using too many incognito tabs at once because your cookies reset each time you re-open a new one. Your previous searches may be ”remembered”, thus potentially increasing the cost.
Familiarize yourself with flight search engines – Flight search engine’s are a travellers best friend. Search engines will always have inflated costs so never book a flight straight from Google or any other search engine. Familarise yourself with a few flight search engines. The two most popular flight search engines out there are Skyscanner and Kayak. Skyscanner is one of my flight search engines because they show you the best price first, so you are able to determine which airlines are offering the best value for money. Another benefit of the site is having the option to choose which airport you fly out from (if the airport flies to the destination of your choice). I haven’t taken a flight from Heathrow in years. My preferred airport to travel from is Stansted simply because all I have to do is take a bus and a train in order to get there. I haven’t used Kayak but I have heard great things about the website. Different flight search engines have different benefits. Find the one that works for you and stick with it.
Public transport is always a yes – Yes, some days the temptation to be boujee and get an Uber everywhere may be there, but let’s be realistic, this is the quickest way to finish your money. Most cities have decent transportation systems so use them! There’s nothing like taking in some beautiful scenery while you’re on a bus or train. If you’re worried about getting lost, don’t be. Use the ‘Maps’ app on your phone and take a map with you wherever you go. The majority of public transportation systems are really easy to use. If you are a Londoner especially, it should be easy for you to catch on pretty quickly. Cities like Paris and Barcelona have colour systems in place. When it comes to public transport, buy a pass for the duration of your trip on arrival. If everything is within walking distance, then of course, this is an exception, but if you know you will need to hop on a bus or Metro every day, buying a travel pass is the best thing to do.
Open a holiday account – If you love to travel and you know your finances aren’t as vast as you would like them to be, then opening up a bank account for your travels makes sense. Saving can be challenging when you are reminding yourself to do it every month. An easy way to ensure you are adding to your holiday fund on a monthly basis is to set up a standing order. If you put £50 a month in a travel pot, then in the space of 10 months, you’ll have £500 in that account. It’s a win win situation. Another recommendation I’m going to make for struggle-savers is to open your holiday account with a bank that isn’t your main bank, and don’t ask for a card. If you’re someone who has the urge to travel all the time, alternatively, you could use the services of Cash Lady.
Pay for your holiday partially – Travellers are probably subjected to a whole heap of questions revolving around how they are able to afford to go away so much. Never fall under the assumption that a traveller is able to pay for a holiday all in one go. Maybe a few are, but the majority of people who do travel have saved for a long period of time to be able to do so. A practice I have proudly adopted is paying for my holidays partially: so this means in one month, I will pay for my flights, and in the other I will pay for my hotel and then use money that I may get paid the next month as my spending money. I never sporadically travel. My trips are planned well in advance.
Do your research – Before you embark on your travels, research your destination thoroughly! This isn’t just waiting a week before your holiday and taking down any notes you can. You need to know the in’s and out’s, especially regarding the area you will be staying in. Are the transportation links local? How long will it take you to get to the city centre? Does the area you are staying in have a high crime rate? These (and many more) are questions you will need to ask yourself. Also, don’t forget about the culture. As a UK citizen, it can be so easy to expect everyone to adhere to your way of thinking and being (because London is one of the most commercial cities in the world) but as they say, ‘When you’re in Rome, do what the Roman’s do). Learn a few basic words in the language and also familiarize yourself with a few customs.
Choose your flight wisely – If you want to save money on any holiday, you’ve got to think about the day and time that you choose to travel, because it will affect the price of your trip. Now, from experience, what I know is that the best day of the week to travel is Tuesday. In terms of times, a lot of travellers will opt for late flights because they tend to be the cheaper ones. Solo travellers may not really be able to exercise such an option but if you are with a group of friends, then book a flight after 5pm if you really want to save your pennies. Don’t forget to compare prices among airlines to make sure you are getting the best deal and don’t be afraid to take advantage of airline sales. I’ll be going on another holiday next month and my tickets cost just £40. I know people who have found flights for £10 (incl. return). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: flying yourself out doesn’t have to break the bank.
Pay for as much as you can with cash – This tip is neither here nor there but paying for things with cash does help in the area of financial management. One thing I always do before I travel is get cash. John Lewis are my faves because their exchange rate is quite good (even though it did suffer a little when Boris became Prime Minister, but let’s face it, we all suffered on that day). In the event that you happen to spend all your money, just use your card. Firstly, you’ll be cautious because you don’t want to end up broke and secondly, most banks allow you to use your card abroad. Just do some reading up beforehand as there may be a charge for this.
Go on a sightseeing tour – If you want to make the most out of any trip you go on, you should definitely book a place on a sightseeing tour. If you are lucky enough to stay in a place where everything is all in one place, then a sightseeing tour will allow you to familiarise yourself with certain places. In addition to this, sightseeing tours are such a great way to learn about a city’s history and culture. It’s a win win. Also, when it comes to excursions, do book any activities well in advance of your trip. If you travel during peak season, the price of excursions will undoubtedly rise.
Book hotels that are good value for money – Travellers have a lot of choice when it comes to finding a place to stay. Personally, I prefer to stay at a hotel. I feel that they are more value for money but you have to take a lot of things into consideration. For example, it would be in your best interests to stay at a hotel where breakfast is included as part of the deal. In some countries, breakfast is so expensive. When I went on my first city break to Amsterdam, I was lucky to have been able to buy breakfast for 5 euros. This isn’t the case in many places. Also, do keep amenities in mind as well. Ideally, you want to have access to things such as WiFi, a restaurant, maybe a pool or sauna etc etc. A place where I love to book my hotels is Hotels.com. The reason why I love this website so much is because you can unlock secret prices, search for hotels based on the best guest feedback and when you book a total of 10 nights, you get 1 night for free! For more hotel secrets, click here.
Thanks so much for reading this post and I hope the tips shared have been useful for saving money on holiday. If you have any tips of your own, then please leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to like and subscribe so that you will be first to know whenever there’s a new post on the blog xo.