Travelling can be expensive, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. No matter what destination you choose, there are plenty of simple ways to reduce costs and enjoy your vacation even more. Some websites may offer tips and advice that seem like common sense, so we have compiled a list of the top 10 ways to save money on travel that you haven’t heard before. Keep reading to find out what they are.
1. Consider calling places before booking online. Whilst booking travel arrangements online is easy and simple, it does not always guarantee you are getting the best deal. An example of this is with hotels. A good idea is to call a hotel and ask to speak to someone higher up such as a manager or supervisor. This will ensure that the person you are talking to actually has the authority to cut you a deal.
A useful strategy is comparing pricing and seeing whether they can match it or not. This idea works not only for hotels, and many places will give discounts if you ring up. However, it pays to check that there are not additional phone-booking fees charged.
2. Use repositioning flights or cruises. Airlines frequently use repositioning flights to move planes from airport to another. These repositioning flights are a lot cheaper than normal flights, but provide exactly the same service. Repositioning deals are also offered by cruiselines, however they are not as often. Rental cars and campervans also offer these and this can mean cheap travel while on holiday. There are downsides to repositioning deals however, as they may not fit in with your scheduled vacation. Many providers will not advertise these deals, so you will have to ask directly.
3. Travel to places that travellers don’t normally go. Some people purposely travel to places where tourism is less prevalent. Not only does this give travellers a more authentic experience, but they can avoid inflated tourist pricing. Places that have recently been struck by disaster also provide opportunities to dramatically reduce costs. There have been reports of travellers having saved thousands by travelling to the Greek Islands after austerity struck the region. Similarly, the Chinese government heavily subsidised tourism after the SARS outbreak.
4. Try alternate airports if you are travelling by plane. Many large airports have other airports nearby. Instead of using the closest or biggest, it may be more cost efficient to use another airport that is a little bit further away. An example of this can be found with New York, as most flights arrive at the La Guardia airport. However, flights to other close airports such as Newark and JFK may be cheaper. A dedicated site called AlternateAirports.com has been set up to help travellers see if this option is available to them. However, don’t forget to remember other factors to make sure your chosen airport is the best for you
5. Spend more time in less places. Travelling slower may mean that you get to take in more of the country while substantially reducing costs. Flights, trips by bus or train, and driving are amongst the most expensive components of travelling. By taking more time and going to fewer places, these are greatly reduced. This means that not only do you have more time to enjoy your destination; you also have more money in your pocket.
6. Be flexible with your holiday dates. Being flexible in planning when you want to go on vacation can save you a lot of money. Try to avoid peak times, such as school holidays or festivals. During these times, a premium is often charged on top of what you would normally pay. It pays to research when these times are and avoid them. This also works with flights, and flying at unusual hours and days can much cheaper. The cheapest day to fly is normally a Tuesday or a Wednesday.
7. Haggle on the price of everything. In some countries it is expected for both buyers and sellers to negotiate during every transaction. This can lead to bargain prices, which means your money will go further. If you are unsure on whether haggling is common practice in your destination of choice, it pays to do a bit of research before going. A handy site is Numbeo.com, which lists averge prices for goods in different countries. By using this site, you can ensure that you are paying the right amount for goods and services during your travels.
8. Do things that don’t cost money. A popular phrase is “ the best things in life are free”. This is largely true, and while travelling you can enjoy many experiences that are inexpensive or free. Examples of these include: street fairs and cultural events, visting markets, climbing mountains or hiking, swimming at beaches and lakes, and watching sunsets or sunrises. Exploring your destination of choice on foot is a free yet exciting activity, and you will be sure to discover new things around every corner.
9. Ask the locals for advice. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for recommendations and ideas. This will not only provide inspiration for activities, but help save you money. Locals will be aware of offers and deals around, so these can reduce your costs. They may also know someone that will be able to help you if they can’t themselves, so it is a good idea to talk to them. A good icebreaker is to ask for directions or advice.
10. Use your age to save money. Your age can save you money when it comes to travelling. Younger people can get cheaper flights and accomodation through STA Travel, who is the world’s largest student and young adult travel organisation. Likewise, older people can take advantage of senior discounts that are often available.