If you are reading this, you probably enjoy travelling. But, let’s face it, travelling can get expensive. Here are some tips to help you stretch your travel budget.
Firstly, if you are going to a city you don’t know very well, don’t rush into booking the cheapest accommodation you can find. Very often, cheap accommodation equals expensive transport. You may end up spending far more on transport than you think you are saving on a hotel room. So, first figure out the sights you’ll want to get to, then try to get a sense of how much travel will cost you. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have an idea of where you need to look for accommodation – even if it costs a little more.
Whether it’s hotels, flights, tours, or cruises, ticket prices tend to follow a pattern leading up to the date of departure. It’s worth finding out what that pattern is and booking accordingly. Sometimes prices drop off dramatically just before the departure date – though there is no guarantee you will get a ticket. So, if you know exactly what you want to do, book as at the optimal time but, if you are able to be flexible, book as late as possible. By doing that, you’ll know that, over time, you are generally getting the best deals. Occasionally you might miss out on a show or a cruise – but most of the time you’ll be stretching your budget.
Banks and credit card companies offer very generous travel rewards if you use your card. If travel is your thing, make sure you have one of the travel rewards credit cards. Don’t use it to make purchases you can’t afford but, whenever possible, use it instead of cash. That way you are earning air miles and other travel rewards for purchases you would have made anyway.
If you are in a foreign country, with a foreign language, try to avoid the restaurants with English signs. The prices will be lower, the food probably better, and the experience will be an adventure. Sure, you might order the wrong dish from time to time, but you might get to try a dish you wouldn’t have otherwise.
On the subject of food, picnics are cheaper and better than fast food. From time to time, you may get tired of eating unfamiliar foreign food and want some comfort food. Rather than rushing off to McDonald’s or Starbucks, find a supermarket and buy some bread, cheese, cold meat, and fruit. Fast food is often relatively more expensive outside of North America so eating food from a supermarket will be cheaper. It’ll also give you an opportunity to hang out at a local park.
And one more food tip. Hotel breakfasts, when not included in the price of the room, are usually very overpriced. Instead, look at where the locals are heading for breakfast – they’ll know where the best value options are and they’ll probably know where the best coffee is too.
These are just a few great ways to make your budget go further when you are travelling. There are lots of other ways you can save money too. Remember the more you save, the more you get to travel – even if you run out of time, you can defer some of those savings to your next trip.