Remember that friend who always manages to squeeze in a great holiday within an enviable budget while you keep saving for your vacation? It’s time to stop getting jealous and do something about it!
Here are seven money saving holiday secrets that will help you plan your next trip better:
1. Go off-peak
You’ve already heard that it’s cheaper to travel during off season as compared to peak tourist times. But, when it comes to flight costs, what you probably didn’t know is that this pearl of travel wisdom also applies to the time that you make your booking. For example, flying on weekdays is almost always cheaper than flying on weekends. But if weekdays are not an option, just remember that Saturdays are generally better than Fridays and Sundays. Similarly, flights that take off after 9pm or arrive early in the morning are generally cheaper than the ones that arrive during the day.
2. Look for sales
Who said EOFY sales are just for cheap clothes and shoes? Airlines go on flash sales every few months, the only problem is that you don’t hear about them until it’s too late. That’s why it’s a good idea to sign up for travel newsletters and follow airlines or other tour sites on Facebook and Twitter so that you get notified as soon as a sale hits the market. Another practice that can help find a cheaper deal is that when you are searching for tickets or even hotel accommodation, pair your search with keywords like ‘discount voucher’, ‘sale tickets’ or ‘hotel coupon’ and see if something useful turns up.
3. Save on travel money
Did you know that how you spend your money on a holiday can actually save you money? Let us explain. Say you use your credit card to pay for a $100 dinner with your family, you might also have to pay a further surcharge of $3 because your card has a foreign exchange fee. Sure, that’s not much for one meal, but on a ten day trip when you are eating out for every meal this could mean about $100 extra just on food. Unless you’re happy donating this money to the bank, you can save it just by choosing a travel credit card that does not charge overseas transaction fees on purchases, like the 28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard.
4. Credit card rewards
Most of us are often in such a hurry to book flights and hotels that we forget to check if we could have gotten a better deal. For instance, one of the best ways to use your credit card rewards points is to buy flight tickets. Many cards also have a concierge service, which includes special discounts on hotel rooms and restaurants. Doesn’t hurt to check if you can get a free bottle of wine with your dinner thanks to your credit card!
5. Loyalty points
Unlike your car insurance provider, airlines and hotels actually reward people for showing loyalty. So if you’re a frequent flier and normally use one particular airline, don’t slack on opening a loyalty account with them, many of them are free to join! Same goes for hotels, where most international chains let customers use loyalty points anywhere in the world.
6. Be ATM smart
Yes, a debit card will charge you less than a credit card for withdrawing cash overseas. But, remember your aim is to minimise extra charges when travelling. First of all, try to estimate how much cash you might need on your holiday and split your money accordingly - it’s always a good idea to have a variety of money options just in case something goes wrong with one. But when you use overseas ATMs, make sure you withdraw a large enough sum to last you for a few days because you really don’t want to pay that $5 extra withdrawal fee again and again.
7. Look for free days
Many major attractions like museums and galleries across the world offer certain days or times of the month when the entry is free. For example, the Louvre in Paris (€15 ticket) and MoMA in New York (US$25 ticket) both have particular free slots when you can enter without having to buy a ticket. That’s about AU$50 saved on just one attraction for a couple! Getting to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Van Gogh’s Starry Night are both priceless experiences, but wouldn’t they get that much more special if they were free?
Spread some travel love and share more ideas on how to save money on holidays!