Did you just spend the weekend feeling jealous of all your friends posting cool vacation pics on Facebook? Well then stop feeling sorry for yourself and start planning your next holiday!
Don’t have the dosh to get on the next plane to London? Then change your destination. Or the dates. In all my years of travelling, I’ve learnt there’s no holiday that isn’t achievable with a little flexibility and some forward planning.
Here are three easy tips that will go a long way for saving on that holiday budget.
1. Track down the cheapest flights.
If you’ve got your heart set on a dream destination that’s expensive to fly to, then sign up for newsletters with different airlines and ‘like’ their FB page to ensure you don’t miss out on any flight sales. Most airlines go on sale around a specific season or event – for instance, I bought a Tigerair flight from Sydney to Melbourne for just $18 when they announced a sale for booking their 18 millionth passenger! Sweet, right?
Many airlines also let you set up a price watch update where they track the lowest fare for a particular destination within a time period. Say you want to go to Bali in summer, you can ask Jetstar to monitor the best price for flights between November and February. Like I said, a little flexibility on dates can turn out to be really useful.
2. Haggle on accommodation.
Most of us don’t realise this, but often the best way for getting a discount is to ask for one. In my experience, it doesn’t hurt to ask a hotel or booking agent if the place is available for a better price, especially if you’re planning to stay there for more than three nights. This is especially likely to work if you’re travelling off season or last minute when a place is not sold out.
Here’s what happened to me in Italy – I was travelling in winter and because there weren’t many tourists at that time, my hotel in Venice gave me a discount on the price quoted on their website. All I had to do was call and ask.
But haggling is an art and you should use your judgement to know when it’s a good idea and when it’s not. For example, I wouldn’t negotiate on Airbnb because it could be a red flag for many hosts.
3. Pick the best travel money options.
You’ve heard this before but it’s still the best travel money tip – NEVER exchange currency at the airport! Convert your dollars in advance, take advantage of a competitive exchange rate and avoid that ridiculous transfer fee. And you don’t even have to go to a bank or local currency converter – just book your exchange online and get a better rate at the airport.
Another key tip to keep in mind is to mix up your travel money options so just in case you run out of one, or it is lost or stolen, you still have another. Depending on your travel destination and duration, you can choose from a prepaid travel card, a travel debit card or a travel credit card. All of them have varying fees and charges so it’s wise to compare travel money cards side-by-side and read the pros and cons of each before making your final decision.
Do you have some of your own secret travel tips? We love sharing holiday advice – tell us how you save on vacations in the comments section below!