We’ve all come to the realization that vacations and trips cost money, but we continue to take them because they’re worth it! In fact, we wish we could travel even more than we already do, which is why it’s fine to be as cost-conscious as possible while planning your travels.
Being cost-conscious could mean anything from choosing the cheapest stateroom on a cruise, to cutting the planned tour in favor of exploring on your own. Either way, you’re a budget traveler, and we can appreciate that. Want to travel like the pros? Better start pinching your pennies, pesos and pounds. While it’s true that money can buy you an elite – easy, even – adventure anywhere, those who travel for a living genuinely enjoy the challenge of bargain hunting.
Riding public transport, couch surfing and sampling street food immerses you in the day-to-day life of any city – and isn’t that what travelling is all about? We talked to four travel writers and bloggers about why they do it and asked for advice on how others can, too. To assist you with your frugal ways, we’ve compiled our top travel hacks on how to save money when planning a trip, including a few tips regarding travel insurance and how to stay on budget while also protecting your investment.
Know your values
When you tune into your values, that is, what’s important to you and what you want to create, you’ll rarely go wrong when spending your money. Knowing your values will reduce your expenses on things you don’t care much about, and stop you spending money on things just to impress others.
Change your money attitude
Love money and learn how to manage it and respect it. Remove feelings of fear, shame, and guilt around money – these will cost you a lot and will trap you into cycles of self-sabotage and unconscious (and unhealthy) spending.
Be grateful for money – no matter your position in life. It helps provide you with needs and wants to live an amazing life. There’s nothing that can help you more to save and grow money than having a good relationship with it.
Set flight alerts
Search Kayak for the flight you want, and check the price predictor. If the flight is more than 3-4 months away, set a fare alert, and watch the price.
When you find a price that works, try to book it on a Tuesday or Wednesday when prices are typically lower. To make the hack work even more in your favour, head over to American Express Travel and pay the flight with as many points as you have. If there’s a balance left over, use your American Express card to pay for it and collect more points!
Buy an upgrade with points
Some seats on each flight are kept aside for frequent flyers to effectively ‘buy’ using points. These can be seven times less than the Points plus pay seats which are available. These are best suited to solo and flexible travellers.
Qantas has the option to bid for your upgrade. The last remaining unsold biz class seats are put to auction with the highest bidder wins! Take your chances!
Only buy the accommodations and coverage you need
Consider the activities or expenditures that are going to “make or break” your trip and stick with the essentials. If you can cruise without the excursions, then maybe you can upgrade your estate room. If you haven’t invested too much money into your trip, then a travel protection plan may not be worth it. By being focused with your trip and coverage needs, you can avoid overpaying.
Take public transportation
This is one of the best travel hacks to save money in 2019 because many people don’t even consider it. Instead of private taxis, go on an adventure and use public transportation. Some of my best memories are navigating on chicken buses in Guatemala, tuk-tuks in South East Asia and local buses in South America.
Split the cost of taxis
Before getting a cab to a popular destination, ask around to see if anyone else is going there and split the cab! I’ve done this several times when arriving at an airport.
Instead of paying for a cab into the city with just two of us, we find another couple going to the same area and split the cost! We’ve also done it to go to popular tourist spots and beaches as well. We’re going to the same place, may as well save some money and potentially make some new friends as well!
Take the Bus or Train instead of flying
While there are great budget airlines available sometimes it’s cheaper, faster and more scenic to use the train or bus to get around. Airports are usually out of the way so it’s inconvenient and can cost a lot just to get there, you have to arrive a few hours early and waste time waiting around and sometimes you have to pay luggage fees.
When you use the train or bus you can get there 5 mins before it leaves, baggage is usually always included and they are also typically centrally located and easy to get to.
Take a walk and look for restaurants that are packed with locals because this means the food is affordable and will be delicious! In Ubud, we ate at small warungs with almost no tourists and the food was always cheap, fresh and so GOOD!
Follow the “five-block rule”
Kepnes’ rule of thumb is to avoid businesses within five blocks of a city’s touristy areas. Just a few blocks farther, crowds disperse and prices drop. “You walk five or six blocks from any site, you’re going to get better food for half the price,” he says.
As the mother of two children, cutting costs has always been on the mind of journalist Cindy Richards, especially when travelling.
Don’t Change Currency At The Airport
You’re bound to be busy in the weeks leading up to your departure date but make sure you leave yourself time to exchange currency at your bank. They’re notorious for giving the worst exchange rates and for a little extra effort you can save yourself a significant amount.
Don’t Pay For WiFi, Find It For Free
Lots of Open WiFi zones will ask you to purchase a set amount of data but when you’re traveling, it’s incredibly easy to find free WiFi if you’re surrounded by bars and restaurants. Where there are lots of people, there’s WiFi!
Find Free Things To Do
From free-walking tours to complimentary tastings at farmers markets — there’s an unbelievable amount of free activities on offer in metropolitan hubs as it’s a good way to attract people to visit the city. Simply Google “free activities + your location” and have some fun for free!