It would be great if we could go on holiday on a whim. But...Read More →
Going on holiday doesn’t have to be expensive be it inside Australia or abroad. If you are on a budget and you really want to travel, you can still do it. There are so many ways you can go on cheap holidays and still get a great experience. Often, we don’t think about our spending as much when we are abroad, because well, we are on holiday, and we should be treating ourselves. While that of course is true, you don’t necessarily need to compromise your dreams in order to save money. Budgeting has a lot to do with habit and planning, and only a little bit to do with compromise. If you save enough money on trivial things, you might even have more money for the things that really matter to you. Here are some ways to make your holiday cheaper….
Booking early is one of the first things to think about when planning low cost holidays. Often tickets become scarcer and more expensive the closer to departure you get. If you start browsing early, you can choose between larger numbers of low cost tickets. Only a smaller and more expensive selection will be left last minute. When booking early, you are also in less of a rush to pick a ticket. You have time to get a good idea of the prices, so you can compare and make an informed decision.
A great way to go on cheap holidays is to be flexible with the travel date. Try to see if the day before or the day after has cheaper tickets. Play around with the times of day. Often, the price difference is enormous just with a few days or even hours of difference. Nights are for example usually cheaper than days. You can also consider moving your holiday closer to the off-season if your work allows you to.
Take your time to compare tickets on different comparison websites. It can be very time consuming to look through many different airline companies. Comparison websites can make it easier to compare as the flights are usually listed from cheap to expensive. However, when you do find a ticket that you like, it can be a good idea to double check and book on the airline’s own website (if the price is the same). It’s easier to avoid fraud and extra charges this way.
Longer transit times are usually cheaper. Waiting around in an airport is never very interesting, but the extra time flying isn’t necessarily such a big compromise. Think about the money you could save on a flight with a longer transit and imagine the things you could do for that money during your holiday. If you are lucky, the money saved could for example cover your hotel.
You can also choose an even longer transit time, save even more money and then walk around in your transit city as a part of your cheap holiday. Not all airports are close to the city, but it is possible in some places.
Who has never dreamed about seeing the beautiful mountains of Northern Europe, experiencing New York or walking on the Great Wall of China? Once in a while, we find ourselves hyped by a popular but expensive place, not knowing that there are cheaper and just as beautiful alternatives elsewhere. You don’t necessarily need to go to the Caribbean to relax on gorgeous beaches or to Amsterdam to see romantic European culture. The crowds and the ridiculously expensive tourist prices aren’t always worth it. Other less known Dutch cities are for example even more idyllic than Amsterdam, and you might find the beach of your dreams in some random no-name town of Vietnam. Ask around where other people have had good experiences, or try searching online for underrated attractions.
Cutting down food costs is an important part of cheap holidays. Some people eat out because they love the experience, but most do it out of habit or convenience. It can be difficult to cook in a hotel room, but it is possible to buy ingredients for sandwiches and to keep it in your fridge instead of eating in a restaurant every night. Depending on your love for going out, you can decide to make your own food at least some of the time and only eat out when you really feel like it.
If you do want to eat out, lunch menus are often less expensive than dinner menus. You can also grab something from a sandwich bar instead of dining in, or cut down on extras such as drinks and starters (tap water is free and healthy many places). It can also pay off to go down the side streets to find the local and less touristy places. The food will be better and cheaper there. In Venice, a cappuccino for example costs €15 in St Mark’s Square but only €3 in the Castello district!
The first and best hotel that pops up in the search engine isn’t always the cheapest. You can consider alternatives such as caravan parks, huts, camping, couch surfing or Airbnb. They are sometimes cheaper and often also allow for more freedom. Some of them are designed for low cost holidays. However, it can be a good idea to do your research, compare prices and book well in advance. Some hotel chains for example offer really cheap rooms if booked in good enough time while campsites (which should be cheaper) can become extremely expensive during peak season.
Paying for a guided tour or for someone to arrange excursions for you inevitably increases the cost of traveling. Many choose this option because they believe it’s hard to do things alone in a foreign country. While it does require a bit more planning, it’s often quite easy and of course much cheaper. It’s entirely possible to go places on your own with public transport or walking. Walking around on foot in the city you are visiting or simply taking the bus to the beach can also give you a nice insight to what it’s like to be a local where you are staying. You get to see the place from a different and more authentic point of view.
Transport can often be surprisingly expensive, so it can save you a lot of money to research the options before you go, or to ask around when you are there. Often, you can go much cheaper between European cities by bus than by train, for example.
You can also save a lot on travel passes if you know you are going to go a lot by public transport in the same city or area. And it goes without saying that a cab is much more expensive than any public transport.
Companies love selling us extra stuff so take a close look at what you are buying to make sure it’s really only what you need. Choosing seats on the airplane for example is usually not worth the money. If you just make sure to check in early, you can be almost certain to be seated together and also have some say in what kind of seat you are getting.
In hotels, stuff like Wi-Fi and swimming pool can increase the cost. It’s not always worth it. If you need to check your email, consider spending an hour on an internet café. If you want to go swimming, check if there is a public beach or communal swimming pool in the area.
Also, you can get a good discount many places if you are a student or a senior.
Plan well and bring everything you need so you don’t have to shop things you already have. Bring warm enough clothes if the weather might get bad so you don’t need to buy a sweater. If you know you are mostly going to self-cater, stuff like bin bags, tea bags and cutlery can also be useful. It’s a small thing but it could help you save on your cheap holidays.
It’s easy to forget just how many different things you can do when traveling on a budget. You can relax by the beach, walk around beautiful cities, take public transport like the locals, use low cost accommodation and still have fun. Not all of these 11 hacks are viable for everyone, but everyone can do something to go on low cost holidays. Saving money might give you the freedom to do all the things you dream about. Pick out the things you do want to spend your money on and enjoy them, while you save on things that are less important to you.
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