If you are anything like me you will be dreaming of the first place you want to visit when it is safe to travel. You might also be panicked by the news that travel destinations may rocket in price if everyone has the same idea and decides to purchase a ticket when everything is up and running.
I have funded all of my travels myself and often get asked,”is it not expensive?” and the truth is NO. Over the years I have learnt to adapt my holidays to budget and have a few ideas to get you guys thinking about.
Lets talk about before you travel.
It really goes without saying that if you book in advance you are potentially saving a large amount of money but be mindful of WHERE you book. A lot of hotel websites will have different prices for the SAME room. Sneaky move right? Always check hotel prices on a private browser as you could be seeing one price one weekend and a higher price the following day because you have visited the page twice. I am not highly tech savvy but I know a lot of sites do this. Anyone remember those airlines who claim there is only one seat at the cheap price available? That is another example of being aware how and where you book as more often than not it pressures people into panic buying.
To find cheap flights all year round I love using apps which email me when deals become available. These emails give you a few different options on airports close to you and a whole list of destinations and dates which you can then Google search. My personal favourite is “Jack’s Flight Club” which is a free service but you can upgrade to premium service for a small fee. I find the free version more than sufficient so it is a good starting point when you plan your travels and don’t want to waste time browsing for cheaper dates to fly.
Most people have a list of places they want to go in their chosen location, but how many of you plan the route on how to get there? A fellow backpacker told me about this tip because I certainly didn’t use to do this before. The thing is, if you buy your tickets for trains and buses in advance you can get many benefits in doing so. For example, if anyone is going to PortAventura theme park in Spain then you can actually get your entrance ticket WITH your train ticket for a heavily discounted rate. This is useful to know because imagine buying both separately and spending double…….. The same goes for when you exit the airport in chosen destination and hop on the shuttle buses which take you into town. I swiftly found out whilst living in Barcelona that a much cheaper bus was available just 2 minutes away from the main airport shuttle buses. By the way if you are travelling to the UK for at least 6 months I highly suggest you get a railcard to make all your train rides more affordable.
A lot of the time it may be easier to book attractions and tickets when you are in the city you have planned to visit. However, a much more enjoyable and cheaper alternative is to book activities through Air BnB experiences. Yup. I booked for a photo shoot, cooking class and walking tour all through the experiences section on Air BnB and had such a good time meeting others in the process. A lot of these activities are run by hosts who offer much cheaper prices than standard tourist hotspots for virtually the same activity so do keep this in mind. You can also see which dates are more in demand and which dates are cheaper via the calendar option.
Lets head onto saving your cash when you are actually abroad. It takes a lot of willpower to not blow everything on the first day as I found myself doing way too many times.
Imagine you are walking around and see someone approach you with a menu, persuading you to enter the restaurant and before you know it you are given a hefty bill. I am sure it has happened to all of us right? Well, tourist hotspots are notorious for this. Of course, there is nothing wrong with attempting to attract business to your restaurant this way but a lot of these places will attract tourists who are unfamiliar with the prices of food in that country or place. A quick google search could potentially save yourself from shelling out 20 euros for a plate of pasta lol. I usually have a quick browse on TripAdvisor when I need some genuine opinions on whether a restaurant is worth a visit because being let down with your first holiday lunch IS NOT FUN.
One for any students out there, your student card will usually enable you to have the same discounts abroad as you would be able to use back home. This is particularly beneficial for museums, parks and activities and it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask. If your student card won’t make the cut then you can get a TOTUM card which works internationally.
Finally, need some souvenirs but have no idea what to buy or where to buy it? Well, you might be able to buy a lot of it from regular supermarkets and shops. OK HEAR ME OUT ON THIS ONE. I was looking for a box of chocolates when I was in Belgium but felt the street sellers would be charging unspeakable amounts for the tiniest quantity. That is when I headed to a supermarket and found THE SAME BRAND OF CHOCOLATE in a BIGGER box for CHEAPER. Guys my head was spinning. I also wanted to get a traditional set of spices when I was in Hungary and got a huge box from a shopping center which I knew would break my entire bank if I got it at one of the specialized souvenir stores.
To keep in mind:
Sitting at home and want some inspiration to gather up a small amount for travel essentials like toiletries and snacks? How about taking that forgotten box of pennies and changing it into notes? That way you are clearing out but also adding to your travel funds. Another option if you need to buy a few things before you go is to sign up to survey sites where you get rewarded for taking short surveys. One of my friends likes to do this and tells me that once you have done a certain amount of surveys you can redeem your time for a digital gift card which works in store and online. They are not huge amounts but definitely help with a few little bits.
I hope this encourages you to realize travel doesn’t always need to carry a weighted price tag. I also hope my friends see this so that I don’t need to explain all the time how I manage to travel so often hahaha.
Until next time, and stay safe!