Want to make your £$€ go further? So, you can afford that parachuting trip or the guided hiking excursion you thought was out of your price range?
This week I’ve brainstormed 5 the key areas where travellers bleed money, curating my top money saving tips to use whilst on the road, to save money in ways you’ve probably never even thought about, without having to make major compromises!
Lets make sure your hard earned money goes as far as possible without skimping on those once in a life time experiences whilst on an adventure, with these 5 easy tricks…
NUMBER ONE: Don’t buy drinks when eating out
I’m not just talking about the wine you share with dinner, but the coffee or bottle of water you might purchase with lunch. Whilst visiting Poland (which isn’t a a particularly expensive place to begin with for many), I noticed that a coffee is comparable to the price of an entire meal. It’s not just Poland where this is true, most places in the world charge a serious premium to enjoy a drink that could be bought at a quarter of the cost in a supermarket and often adds an additional 30-50% on to any meal bill. Over the course of a holiday, especially a long one, this is a huge area for saving.
Solution.. Buy a bottle of something to carry in your bag at a convenience store/supermarket, or (even better) use a reusable water bottle to save on plastic too. If you still need that coffee, save your budget for an afternoon pitstop instead. This gives you more opportunities to soak up the atmosphere in a different cafe, in a different area of wherever you’re visiting, and helps break up the exhaustion of sightseeing for hours.
Did you know.. A weeks’ worth of a small cappuccino-a-day habit in the UK easily sets you back over £15 a week! That’s at least one entrance fee to a site of interest.
NUMBER TWO: Research saves money
Fact: Informed decisions cost less. Some destinations are unavoidably pricey. London’s a prime example. However, there are always budget and high end options within the price scale. Don’t get caught out or forced to choose somewhere expensive because of lack of research. If you have an unlocked smart phone, the cost of a SIM card to obtain internet anywhere is worth the splurge. Simply because you can easily make that money back by using the internet to save you money.
Solution.. Trip Advisor, AirBnb or Yelp will help you find a tasty restaurant or decent accommodation, that’s nearby and exactly within your price range and travel blogs like this help you find many free or low cost things to do. Plus, use the likes of Groupon to snag cut price adventures and food. Instead of wandering around aimlessly and ending up paying through the nose for something mediocre.
NUMBER THREE: Book your own transfers
Sometimes the tourist trap is unavoidable. But, things like booking transfers through secondary providers (especially travel agents) is a prime area to get stung. As above, researching yourself saves you money.
Solution.. A quick google search for airport transfers from your arrival airport will soon tell you what transport is available in the local area, whether you should book it in advance, and even how much you should expect to pay. Unless your arrival is at a particularly unsociable hour or location, it’s almost always guaranteed you will find transport on arrival, won’t need to book and it’ll cost a fraction of what you would’ve paid through somebody else.
NUMBER FOUR: Avoid using a secondary website or agency to book accommodation*
This is a rule of thumb I never break, unless the accommodation themselves have told me to use a website other than their own. Sites like Booking.com and HostelWorld take a cut of what you pay to your accommodation. The same goes for travel agents and even some tourism websites. Of course they do – how would they be in business otherwise! Sometimes this is as much as 30%.
So, imagine what can happen if you look up the accommodations own website and reach out to them directly via phone or email? Whilst most won’t give you as big as saving as 30%, in my experience many will be at least be somewhat flexible on price or throw in an added extra like breakfast, that perhaps wasn’t already included.
Solution.. Never be afraid to bargain with accommodation, though it’s harder in peak seasons. Remember: the longer your stay somewhere, the more desirable you are as a guest. Guests who are only staying one or two nights are more work than those that stay 7 – less washing, less cleaning but the same advertised room rate! Use this to your advantage.
*This rule can be disregarded with package deals and sometimes flash sale offers, but, always double check your figures direct!
NUMBER FIVE: Never/always get your laundry washed
There are two sides to this argument, as it is entirely dependent on where you are traveling. For example, in Iceland a load of laundry would set you back around £15. A wash in Cambodia of my entire rucksack of belongings would be £2. A huge difference, I think you’ll agree. When I’m traveling in budget areas like Asia, where laundry service is cheap, I take very few things and have laundry done as regularly as possible. It’s light on the luggage and cheap on the wallet.
Solution.. For destinations where laundry is expensive (as a rough rule of thumb; Western Europe, North America, most of Australasia), I would either take enough clothes for the trip or consider clothing that can be easily hand washed and dried on the move.
Pro tip.. If you do send anything to the laundry, it’s worth making sure you’re given a receipt of what items you handed over or making your own note, to ensure the same items come back to you. Mistakes are made and usually a simple accident. A paper trail can failsafe against loss of your favourite pair of trousers. Don’t forget, sending laundry away in far-flung countries might not mean they’re washed in a washing machine or have as much care taken in the washing process. I’ve had clothes come back from laundry a different colour than when I sent them!