Travelling on a budget is never the most exciting thing. Don’t get me wrong, travel is incredible! But when you add in a whole lot of money restrictions, it can be quite limiting. There’s nothing worse than seeing the perfect overseas present for a family member or an amazing souvenir for yourself and not being able to buy it. But luckily, there are some money-saving hacks you can try (some of them even before you leave home) that could leave you with a bit more cash in hand by the time you’re there.
1. Book the cheapest flights possible
Yes, you may want to travel in comfort and style, but is it cheap? Usually not. Your best bet to save money is to book as far in advance as possible so that you can get the most financially-savvy deal. Also, book return where you can! One-way tickets generally end up costing so much more money than return. If you have to make a connecting flight back to the same airport, even this often ends up costing you less. Be flight savvy!
In general, you should probably turn off your roaming when you travel internationally. Local cellphones are designed to constantly search for phone service, no matter where you are. This roaming internationally can clock up some seriously huge costs if you don’t let your provider know you are going overseas. Also, if you are planning on taking your phone, chat to your provider about international plans that can help you to save money.
3. Eat smart
Planning your meals before you go out will be far more cost-effective in the long-run. Even before you leave for your trip, try to cook at home where you can so you aren’t throwing money away on eating out. But understandably when travelling you aren’t always able to cook for yourself, so try to research the places you want to eat at before you go there. If you’re able to look at the menu in advance, you’ll probably find it much easier to pick a cheaper option.
Public transport is generally the cheapest option anyway, but a few simple hacks can save you some easy cash. Firstly, if you happen to be taking the train somewhere long-distance, book as early as possible. Last-minute seats are usually always pricey and can drain your bank account quickly. If it’s just short-distance travel, try getting a bus and definitely make sure you obtain a transport card. Paper tickets almost always cost more money than having a ‘tap-on, tap-off’ system, which usually apply discounts for a certain amount of trips.
Travel insurance will generally cover the costs of so many issues that could occur while travelling. If you lose anything, have something stolen, or even have to miss flights or a hotel stay because of weather (or something else out of your control), you should be able to be fully refunded for whatever it is. Because travel is so often unpredictable, this is vital just in case something goes wrong. If you’re not sure where to start, check out a travel insurance comparison site.
6. Tourist spots
Don’t spend money in them! Tourist attractions are a hub of expensive activities. Try to indulge in more cultural or free attractions like landmarks or bars. These will let you get the perfect photo without letting go of too much money! If you’re lost for inspiration, check out articles like this for some free inspiration.
Travel doesn’t always have to be the most expensive thing. In fact, it’s quite do-able on a budget, and often results in a more cultural trip anyway. At the end of the day, you have to do what suits you best in order to get the best possible value out of your trip. With just a few simple changes to your spending habits, you could have the trip of a lifetime.
About the author: Bessie Hassan is the Australian Head of PR and Money Expert at Australia’s largest personal finance site, finder.com.au. She is passionate about helping people find better deals and save money, and regularly blogs on the topics of money and finance.