There are so many reasons why life may get in the way of your globe-trotting dreams. The pennies can quickly add up when going on holiday and if you’re looking to make a big purchase like a house, or are planning a wedding the first things that often get axed are those luxuries including your holidays. It might not even be a big purchase that prevents you from getting your bags packed and jumping on a plane; you may be a student, too swamped at work or even a busy parent.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s often the price tag that prevents you from clicking on the book button. But fear not – going on holiday might not be as expensive as you think and it is still possible to go abroad without breaking the bank! We’ve put together our top money saving tips to ensure you can still enjoy your hollybobs whilst minimising the hit on the old bank account.
Although airfare might contribute a big portion of your holiday cost, there are a number of ways to save money on it. Researching on different price comparison sights such as Google Flights or Kayak will show you the cheapest options available. Where possible, try to travel during off-peak times and pack light to avoid having to pay for excess baggage charges or for hold luggage on a budget airline.
Speaking of budget airlines, don’t pay the extra for the early check in or seat reservations. Instead, set a reminder for when check-in opens and reserve your seats then. Some budget airlines now don’t provide complimentary food or entertainment in order to make the airfare cheaper. Do some research ahead of time to make sure this won’t affect you. If it will, make sure to take some food with you so you don’t have to pay for the expensive on-board meal and pack a book, a tablet or some other form of entertainment.
We absolutely love Airbnb when we go on holiday. It feels more like home having your own apartment and the accommodation is typically much cheaper than a hotel. If you’re looking to save that little bit extra, find an apartment with a kitchen where you can make some home-cooked meals.
Staying in hostels is another option worth considering. Do bear in mind that many hostels have the option of a private room so you don’t necessarily have to bunk in with a bunch of strangers.
If neither of these options are appealing and you’d prefer to stay in a hotel, look for those located slightly outside of the city centre making them cheaper.
Taxis are definitely not the best way to travel if you’re looking to stay within your budget. Using the local travel network of buses, trams or metros will get you from A to B for a fraction of the price.
Google Maps also works in most cities and tells you the quickest way to do your journey on public transport so you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
Many big cities also have a local bike hire scheme where you can rent a bike for a very small cost. In some instances the first half an hour is free so just dock your bike and hire out another one for another half an hour. A great way to see the city for next to nothing!
When travelling, the cost of the activities you choose to do can quickly escalate and before you know it you’ve blown your carefully crafted budget! However, there are always plenty of things you can do which will keep your days filled to the brim with fun activities without costing an arm and a leg. Some ideas for how to save money on activities:
- ‘Free’ walking tours – most cities have free walking tours which take place daily giving you an excellent introduction to the city you are exploring. Just bear in mind that most tour guides work for tips so although the walking tours are advertised as ‘free’ there may be a small cost associated with it.
- Research free attractions – museums, art galleries and exhibitions are just a few of the attractions you can visit for free in many big cities. A bit of research beforehand will show you which ones are free so you can pick and choose what you’ll be doing during your trip. Some attractions also have free or discounted entry on some days so check this out directly on the attractions website.
- Book activities online – although this is not always the case, sometimes booking activities online can be cheaper than booking directly at the venue. An added bonus of booking online is that you can also skip the entry queues when you arrive.
- Multi-activity bookings – if there are a few different activities you definitely want to do, see if you can make a saving by booking all in one go. This can be done either online, at tourist information booths or through specific passes such as CityPASS.
- Ask for a discount – many places will offer discounts for students, seniors, under 26s, groups etc. Make sure to ask when booking, after all if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Eating out for every meal whilst on holiday can quickly become expensive but there are things you can do to minimise this cost without compromising on quality or skipping meals. Here are some ideas on how to save money on food:
- Start the day the right way – if you’re staying in an Airbnb have breakfast in your apartment. When you arrive at your accommodation, ask your host for the closest supermarket so you can stock up on those breakfast essentials. Not only will you save some money on eating breakfast out every day but you will get a good insight into local foods – going to the supermarket is actually one of my favourite things to do whilst on holiday!
- Enjoy the outdoors with a picnic – whilst you’re at the supermarket, stock up on snacks and other picnic items and enjoy the local parks whilst having lunch or dinner.
- Choose the local drinks – when eating out, opt for the cheaper (and often superior) local alcoholic drinks rather than the more expensive imported ones.
- Stay hydrated – another way of saving with drinks is taking your own water bottle which you can fill up free of charge from drinking fountains. In hot countries it’s easy to get through loads of water and this can quickly add up so save those pennies whilst also doing your bit for the environment!
- Skip the expensive snacks – in Europe, you will often be served bread or alternative snacks whilst you choose what you would like to eat. However, in some places you will be charged extra for this so pass on this if it’s not something you want.
- Avoid the tourist traps – when you’re looking for a restaurant, avoid the ones where people are standing outside trying to entice you in. These are aimed at the tourists and the prices reflect this. Stray off the beaten track and find a restaurant filled with locals – your taste buds and purse-strings will thank you!
What are your top tips for saving money on holiday? Let us know in the comments below.
The Rambling Travellers