Savvy travel hacks to save you money!
Traveling is not something everyone can afford. Most of our parents and grandparents have never left their country of origin. It is only since travel became more affordable and the younger generation being more adventure seeking, that the world has become more travelled.
Being fortunate enough to travel at least once a year over the past fourteen years and now more frequently, we have paid our schools fees and learnt some expensive lessons. Here is my advice on a few matters that might make your next journey a little more pleasurable.
There is an algorithm built into the pricing of flights as to when and from where they are booked. Flight fares are based on the strength of a country’s currency, meaning you will pay a little less booking a ticket from a developing country than for example the USA or the UK. Try using a VPN to see how fares differ from various locations.
Booking flights over the weekend tend to be higher than in the week. So book your flights mid-week and in the middle of the day. If you must fly over the weekend, Saturday’s flights are generally cheaper than flying Friday and Sunday.
Use various search platforms. Skyscanner and Trip.com are a great way to find the best fairs. If you are flexible with your dates you can choose the best rate as certain days like Wednesday’s and Thursday’s are cheaper to fly.
Air Miles and loyalty rewards are great and can be used against the fare price. Some programs are better than others enabling you to use the miles before they expire.
Be careful of low budget airlines. The fares might be great, but you will pay for every little extra going forward. We were recently charged €55pp for not checking in online prior to the flight, and found out that there was a further €20pp for not printing our boarding pass.
Having learnt from experience. Catching that convenient taxi from the airport to your accommodation has always ripped us a new one! Try negotiating a fixed price before getting into the taxi and do some research as to the cost from the airport to your accommodation, or better yet download the local taxi app for that country as these rates are regulated and you are less likely to be scammed.
Most European countries have an excellent underground system which offers 24h/72h/weekly travel passes. This is the most affordable way of traveling and most often include rail, tram and bus. Also try pre-download the underground map so that you can plan your trip.
We found this app called Moovit, it knows where you are, you insert where you need to be and it will plot the route explaining what train to take, where to change lines and where to walk to catch the next mode of transport…AMAZING technology that got us to where we needed to be in the best time without fail every time. You will need Wi-Fi for this though.
Another little trick we use is the Hop on Hop of bus….not only is this a great way to see the most important sites, but it also acts as a taxi around the city. There is little difference between the one day and three-day pass, so make use of the difference.
Research, research, research…. use the best booking platforms and once you have selected your chosen accommodation, check other platforms to make sure you’re getting the best deal. I often use my mobile to book with Booking.com. As a level 3 Genius user and using your mobile to book accommodation means you get the maximum discount. Skyscanner now also offers an accommodation booking service comparing various platforms. Once you have booked, contact the venue and ask if there is any chance for a free room upgrade. It doesn’t hurt to ask! I also always request a quiet room…meaning they put you on a higher floor to avoid street noise which also means you get a better view. Self-catering apartments are a good option which save you the cost of having to eat out three times a day but be careful and read the reviews. I can’t tell you how many times we have booked self-catering apartments that were not nearly as nice as they appeared in the ad and lacked the advertised amenities. Even with good reviews, not everyone’s standards are the same. So read our savvy travel hacks and save money.
Airport prices are ridiculous. You can literally pay 30c for a mineral water from the fuel station outside the airport to two euro once going through the security check point. I can’t tell you how many times we have thrown away unopened water just to buy another bottle on the other side. Carry a re-usable water bottle with you that you can fill up on the other side. Not only are you saving a few bucks, but you are also reducing your carbon footprint and saving the world from one less plastic bottle. Carry a few snacks on you to keep you going through longer layovers.
Always get a room with a fridge. DON’T touch those evil little bottles…pack them away and make use of duty free to get yourself a liter bottle of your favorite tipple of choice. Pre-dinner cocktails in the room will save you a fortune.
If your accommodation does not include breakfast, you can also use the fridge to keep muffins, yogurts, fruit and juices. A healthy breakfast option that will also save you from having to spend money on eating out.
Have a large lunch. They are often cheaper than the dinner menus and it’s never a good idea to go to bed on a full stomach. Many restaurants offer set menu lunches for great prices. Keep dinner light…tapas and drinks are a great option.
Street/market food is often a great way to try the local cuisine, not to mention a more affordable way of eating out. Eat local! Read our travel resources.
Of course there are going to be those MUST-SEE items on your travel itinerary which are going to cost, but you can reduce the price by pre-booking online. Also look out for tourist passes that will get you into various places while visiting a city. Do some research on free tours, not everything has a cover charge.
The City Bus tour ticket also offers you discounts on the sites they are partnered with, so just by having this ticket you will be entitled to further discounts.
Tourism offices always have mounds of brochures that contain discount coupons, so pop into the nearest office and see what they have to offer.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked away from a vendor just to have him/her shout out their best price while my back it turned to them. Don’t be afraid to haggle. In some countries it’s considered an insult if you don’t. If you think the price is too high, walk away. If you don’t find it cheaper anywhere else you can always go back.
Roaming is expensive and having Wi-Fi while on holiday is gold. Without it I feel like I’ve lost a limb. Every country has a tourist sim card that is relatively cheap and offers you enough data to see you through your stay. Don’t buy it at the airport. Make your way to your accommodation and use their Wi-Fi to research the next day’s activities and get yourself a sim card from the local store or cigarette vendor. Most countries now offer tourist Wi-Fi hotspots in the city center, shopping malls and underground trains or you can just hop from one hot spot to the next. Data in Europe is cheap and you will find free/open networks everywhere. But just to be safe try download maps/apps prior to your stay and screenshot important information. We also found that downloading movies to screen share with your hotel room smart tv came in handy, especially when there are no English channels or even when the inflight entertainment was not up to scratch.
If you have enjoyed this article, see our Editorials for more!