You are looking through Instagram, watching story after story of your followers overseas at a beach in Santorini, walking through the piazza in Italy, and eating a baguette in front of the Eiffel tower. You sit in awe and wonder how on Earth you would be able to afford an amazing holiday like that.
You might think it is impossible, but with some saving and frugal methods, it could be you next. With our tips for booking flights, organising accommodation and roaming the streets of your dream destination, you can travel for much less than you think. Besides getting the best Instagram photos, you will also encounter great memories that you will treasure forever. It is important to also know when you can spend a little more and enjoy if you can afford it, and where to save your coins. Read on for more information on being a classy, smart traveller on a budget, and do not miss out!
With flights, there are large fluctuations in prices, particularly from airline to airline. Whilst you do want to feel safe with the airline you chose, opting for a less expensive option can be beneficial for your wallet. With the ability to download Netflix videos to watch offline, and games you can play on your phone, paying for expensive in-flight entertainment just is not worth it.
When looking for flights, try to avoid the absolute peak time by travelling just before or after. For Europe, June and July are the tourist peaks, so the flights during this time are busy and expensive. Once you get there, the attractions are also extremely busy and hotels increase their fees. To still get some of the warm weather you are craving, try booking for May instead, or if you do not mind the cold, go during a completely off-peak season. Enjoy the snow and small lines into all your favourite attractions, and use the money you are saving on hotels for enjoyable, unforgettable activity experiences at the landmarks. Just keep in mind that some aspects may not be running, such as certain tours or restaurants staying open late during off-season. This depends on where you are going in particular, so do your research!
In terms of cheap flights, there are some applications available to help you score a real deal. Whilst many bundles offered by travel agents do not turn out to be worth the expense, sites like I Know The Pilot, Hopper and Last Minute can really help collate deals for you to enjoy. Whether there are spare seats on a flight, or there is an early offer, you can take the opportunity. Booking quite far in advance can be a blessing when locking in cheaper early-bird deals. However, if you have left it really late, these apps can help you find a last-minute flight special when they are trying to fill seats.
Whilst travel time can be long, an extra stopover can create major savings for your commute. The difference can be better spent at your location, so if you do not mind adding a few hours extra of flying, this is a great way to save. Also, taking the first flight out may be cheaper, so if you are an early riser, this one's for you. You can always try to catch up on some sleep whilst you are on the plane.
Bring your own snacks (sealed of course to get through security) so to avoid the urging temptation to buy those overpriced chips out of boredom. Airlines love charging extra on your luggage, so wear your heaviest items to the airport, and always weigh your luggage before leaving the house so you do not uncover any extra costs once you make it to the airport.
The next thing you have to organise on your frugal travel experience is accommodation. The location of the accommodation is the first thing to consider, whereby staying in the main part of town is the most expensive. In actuality, you can stay just outside the city and walk or catch a bus to the main centre during the day. Often, walking through new places is actually part of the experience, and you may just find a lovely shop or cafe that you would not have spotted by taxi.
You can shop around for the cheapest accommodation using services like Tripadvisor or Trivago. Google also has a widget where you search the name of a potential accommodation you are considering and immediately view what hotel sites have availability and the cheapest price. Travelling in pairs is a good tip because a double room is only slightly more expensive than a single room, and this way you can halve the total cost. It can be worth negotiating for upgrades once you get to the accommodation, such as an included breakfast. Free shuttle buses are important to look out for to save you costs, as they can help you get around between airports, the beach or the shopping centre.
You can even get a travel money card if you want to save on conversion fees, lock in your exchange rate early, and hold multiple currencies when you are moving between different countries. For more information on this topic, click here.
Booking the biggest, luxury room is nice, but often you spend so much time out exploring that you are only really at the hotel room to sleep and shower. So, find the cheaper, decent looking hotel without the view, and instead, go out for a walk to see the attraction up close.
The experiences you have on holidays will be treasured for years to come. Whether you are touring the churches of Florence, or in France exploring the Louvre, you want to be able to get around to the main places for the best prices. One key thing to remember is to always download the local transport application to assist you in finding trains, buses and ferries for your destinations. This will save you from taxi costs, and avoid the more expensive tours that pick you up from the hotel.
Steer clear of booking multiple tours if you can and instead, try to explore by yourself. There are online resources you can watch before to help you navigate the destination without a guide. In some areas there are cheap walking tours around the city, or adventure out yourself to see what you stumble across. If you are on a cruise, avoid booking the tours available on the ship and wait until you get to the main islands. This is because there are often cheaper deals available directly from the locals, and you know that you are supporting the local community better through direct sales.
Another tip is to search online for free things to do in the city you are in, and plan a day or two around these activities only. Not only will it guide you on the best places to go, but you also do not have to worry about forking out high costs for enjoyable experiences.
Finally, you must consider your dining options well when you are travelling on a budget. Try to always pick a meal to eat in, especially if you have access to a kitchen via your accommodation, as a quick market trip is far less expensive than a restaurant meal. Breakfast is quite easy to eat in, by buying some milk and cereal on the first day and keeping it in your accommodation. You could also buy fruit or make a sandwich for the day when you are out sightseeing, and save on those expensive restaurant costs. If your accommodation has breakfast, make the most of it as it can satisfy your hunger cravings for longer. Try even bringing a zip-lock bag to score an apple or pastry for the road.
Additionally, take advantage of happy hour when you go out to bars, or plan to have a few drinks beforehand in the hotel with your friend, so you are not as tempted to surpass your budget whilst out. Try to make and keep to a daily budget, so that you are comfortable with your spending.
It is worth saving for a nice dinner out to enjoy the real food of the city you are in. One way to do so is to rotate between nicer dinners and lunches, simply because lunch menus are almost always more budget friendly. Remember that the restaurants located in the most touristy parts of town are overpriced and often not as authentic. By travelling further out, you are likely to come across more reasonable costs, and actually get a feel for the real food of the area. Ask staff members of your accomodation for authentic recommendations, and you should find that they are not on the main street of town.
Overall, even a frugal traveller can have a great overseas experience. Between saving on flights, getting a travel money card and being smart about eating out, you can still have the holiday of your life. Get the best photos, have at least a few authentic meals and enjoy your surroundings in peace knowing that savings have been made along the way.