Heading abroad is great fun. Whether you’re off on your annual summer family holiday or a romantic city break over a long weekend, exploring a new place is exciting and rewarding. But going abroad can be expensive if you don’t plan well. You’ve got to think about how you’re getting there, where you’ll stay, what activities you’ll be doing and how much you want to spend on food and other extras. The costs can quickly add up.
Wouldn’t you like to find the best deals so that you can travel more and work less? That’s why we’ve found 10 tricks for you that will stretch your travel budget much further. Try some of these out and see how much you could save!
Before you go
Think outside the box
You won’t find the most amazing deals by choosing the same destinations as everyone else. You’ve got to get ahead of the trends, and find where’s set to be popular in the future. In these places, prices are yet to soar and you’ll be able to get yourself a bargain. In no time, people will be following in your footsteps but paying a lot more for it.
You can find places like this by doing a bit of research. Travel bloggers and travel magazines usually have their nose on the ground and hunt down places that aren’t on anyone else’s radar. For example, Travel and Leisure reveals 10 destinations with fewer crowds, but similar perks, to their popular counterparts. This great list includes places like Naxos and Milos in Greece, Margaret River in Australia, Slovenia in Eastern Europe, and Anguilla in the Caribbean. Forbes did an interview with 14 travel experts who make it their business to keep track of the best bargains and defined the 30 cheapest places to travel in 2017.
Sign up for email alerts or get a Hopper app
Airlines, hotels and all travel providers will run offers from time to time. The best way to be amongst the first to know about these money-saving deals is to sign up to their email newsletters. The thought of loads of emails clogging up your inbox might be annoying, but when you save hundreds on a holiday, it’s the last thing you’ll be thinking about.
Be careful, though, and always check the small print before you snap up a holiday deal. What times are the flights? How good are the hotel’s reviews? Does it include food and transfers? Vigilance pays off, as the last thing you want is to arrive and be hit with loads of additional costs you didn’t factor into your budget.
It’s also worth following your favorite travel providers and bloggers on social media to keep up-to-date on key locations, offers and travel trends.
One of our new favorite apps for booking flights is Hopper. It will help you find the best times to fly, the best times to book or will suggest alternative airports. It analyzes billions of flights so that you can save money.
Join a Frequent Flyer Program
How can we forget about this one!? Joining a Frequent Flyer Program doesn’t cost you anything and can save you quite some money. Choose the Frequent Flyer program that covers the destination you are travelling to so that you can get most out of your flights.
If you want to know all ins and outs of earning points, then head straight to the Points Guy.
Gather wisdom via a Facebook group
Join a Facebook group that is focused on the destination you are planning to go. You can reach out to this group to ask for best places to go, when to go and any great travel deals.
For example, when in Amsterdam, instead of renting a bike, you can easily buy a bike via the local “Bike Marketplace – Amsterdam” group on Facebook and sell it when you leave. It’s been done! They are sold and bought like hot pancakes (errr.. pannenkoeken in this case).
Choose a credit card that doesn’t charge any fees
When you are a US citizen use Charles Schwab bank as it has no fees and reimburses all your ATM fees at the end of each month. For non-US citizens, the following websites are worth checking: Creditcardfinder for Australia , UK Creditcards for the UK and Rewards Canada for Canadian citizens.
When you are there
Learn to haggle to get a local price
Are you nervous about negotiating? Don’t be. Ask some of your local friends what is normal. With a bit of practice, you could save yourself a fortune. There’s a certain art to snagging some savings on holiday, though, so pay attention to these expert tips from Travel Insurance:
- Be buyer savvy – do your homework and find out if local prices are fixed before you hit the shops
- Start small – haggle with small denominations of notes and coins
- Shop around – get a few comparisons
- Poker face – try not to show much emotion when you’re haggling over price
- Walk away – sometimes, the tactic of walking away tempts the vendor to lower their price further
- Be vigilant – inspect items for any flaws
- Know the currency rate – or keep a conversion app close by
- Pick your time – the best bargains are normally found at the end of the day
Where appropriate, be prepared to negotiate the first price you’re offered down to something acceptable. It’s not just market stalls where this works – you can even try it at your hotel, especially if you’re traveling in low season. Ask for an update or for some freebies thrown in. You’d be surprised how much you might get by just being brave enough to politely ask.
Eat where the locals eat
One thing to remember when you’re visiting popular neighborhoods is that you’ll be surrounded by restaurants, cafes and bars whose main trade comes from tourists. Head a bit further away and you’ll be able to cut a bit off your bill.
Or have a home dinner with a local family while spending the night at a homestay or farmstay. A wonderful way to get a peek into local life and support the family at the same time.
Use apps to call
You can save a lot of money with all the great apps out there that allow you to text and call. Think of WhatsApp, Skype, or Google Hangout.
Track your finances with a Wallet
Trail Wallet is invented by a couple who’ve been traveling full time since March 2010. They noticed that by managing their finances well it enabled them to have so many more wonderful experiences. The Trail Wallet is a free app for IPhone and IPad up to 25 items. It is an easy way to track your travel expenses.
Walla.by is an app that is focused on optimizing credit card rewards, hanging interest rates, increased fees, and better credit. They show you the best card to use to save you money.
With Mint you can create budgets, track and pay bills, and be alerted when you are low on funds.
The one that applies to both
Last but not least, if you really want to make substantial savings, you’ve got to have a flexible attitude to your holiday. Whether that’s the time you fly, as late nights and early mornings tend to be cheaper, or even flying indirectly (having a stopover can save you up to 50% on the cost of flights), booking on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is generally also cheaper and being relaxed about the specifics of your trip abroad is likely to save you the most.
Perhaps you could investigate how much being flexible with accommodation could save you. Package holidays, with flights, accommodation and food thrown in, may seem like the easy option but if you’re willing to do a bit of extra work, you can save money by doing it yourself.
The same goes for when you’re on holiday – finding accommodation by yourself and cooking rather than eating out tend to be the cheaper alternatives to dining at a hotel, even if you’re staying there. With a little bit of effort on your part, you’ll end up with more spending money for your holiday. Finding deals abroad might involve more planning, but it’s worth it.
For more ideas have a look at more tips how you can save money on your travel.
How do you save money when you go abroad? Share your cost-cutting tips with us.