Holidays are a special time to get away, relax, and have a bit of an adventure. However, many of us put off big trips perennially due to cost and budget restrictions. With several ways to save before you go and once you’re on the road, you don’t have to let finances stand in the way of your dream trip.
Before you go:
Shop around for airfares
Always check several websites and use those that allow you to pick flexible dates and nearby airports to help you find the lowest fares. Additionally, Bing’s farecast function estimates how flight prices will fluctuate, helping you pick the cheapest time to purchase tickets.
Give up small luxuries
Having a dedicated “rainy day” or travel fund is always a good way to practice some disciplined saving, but sometimes you want that fund to grow just a little faster. For a year, a friend of mine gave up drinking at the pub and instead saved the money he would have spent on pints for a round-the-world trip. Not everyone can rise to this level of commitment, but consider eliminating a small, specific luxury from your daily life and banking that money in a separate travel fund instead. Starbucks every morning? Bacon roll Fridays? Wispa from the corner shop after lunch? A small price to pay for your big trip.
While you’re travelling:
Take your time
The longer a trip you take, the easier it is to save: convenience & speed inherently cost money. Depending on your schedule, this isn’t always an option, but it’s worth being aware of what you’re paying for. As an added benefit, going at a slower pace usually enhances your perception of a place and your travel experience as a whole. Anyone can climb the Eiffel Tower and eat a baguette in a weekend, but how many would say they have a favourite daily stroll through Luxembourg Gardens to ‘their’ boulangerie in the VIe arrondissement?
Flexibility will go a long way in helping you save money, from being able to travel out of season, which has the added benefit of keeping you away from the locust-like tourist hordes. Even just booking midweek flights can save pounds, not just pennies.
Ditch the hotel
Letting a flat for a holiday is much cheaper than a hotel and infinitely more comfortable than a hostel or cheap as chips guesthouse. As an added bonus, having a kitchen means that you can buy groceries and cook for yourself, saving on meals out.
Travel doesn’t have to be something you cut out just because you’re on a budget. Plan accordingly, do your research, take your time, and you’ll find you can still have a blast whilst being frugal!
Readers: Have you made travel plans for the Summer yet? Have any frugal travel tips of your own you like to share?