Heading abroad is great fun. Whether you’re off on your annual summer family holiday or a romantic city break over a long weekend, exploring a new place is exciting and rewarding.
But going abroad can be expensive if you don’t plan well. You’ve got to think about how you’re getting there, where you’ll stay, what activities you’ll be doing and how much you want to spend on food and other extras. The costs can quickly rise.
As such, a travel budget is a necessity for anyone travelling abroad. Everyone likes to know they’ve found themselves a good deal and can allocate more money elsewhere. That’s why we’ve found five tricks for you to utilise when you’re booking your next holiday. Try some out and see how much you could save on your travel budget.
Think outside the box
You won’t find the most amazing deals by choosing the same destinations as everyone else. You’ve got to get ahead of the trends, and find where’s set to be popular in the future. In these places, prices are yet to soar and you’ll be able to get yourself a bargain. In no time, people will be following in your footsteps but paying a lot more for it.
You can find places like this by doing a bit of research. Travel bloggers and travel magazines usually have their nose on the ground and hunt down places that aren’t on anyone else’s radar. For example, Travel and Leisure reveals 10 destinations with fewer crowds, but similar perks, to their popular counterparts. This great list includes places like Naxos and Milos in Greece, Margaret River in Australia, Slovenia in Eastern Europe, and Anguilla in the Caribbean.
2. Learn to haggle
Are you nervous about negotiating? Don’t be. With a bit of practice, you could save yourself a fortune. There’s a certain art to snagging some savings on holiday, though, so pay attention to these expert tips:
- Be buyer savvy – do your homework and find out if local prices are fixed before you hit the shops
- Start small – haggle with small denominations of notes and coins
- Shop around – get a few comparisons
- Poker face – try not to show much emotion when you’re haggling over price
- Walk away – sometimes, the tactic of walking away tempts the vendor to lower their price further
- Be vigilant – inspect items for any flaws
- Know the currency rate – or keep a conversion app close by
- Pick your time – the best bargains are normally found at the end of the day.
Where appropriate, be prepared to negotiate the first price you’re offered down to something acceptable. It’s not just market stalls where this works – you can even try it at your hotel, especially if you’re travelling in low season. Ask for an update or for some freebies thrown in. You’d be surprised how much you might get by just being brave enough to politely ask.
3. Organise your own tours
Adopt a ‘do it yourself’ attitude and ditch the organised, commercially run tours. You can easily find popular itineraries, admission fees and all the details you need about key attractions online (for example, 1Cover has some useful travel guides for popular destinations like the US and Bali).
There’s no need to pay the inflated fees they charge for guides and transport. With a bit of planning, you can organise it all yourself. An additional benefit is you get to explore and sightsee at your own pace, without other annoying tourists bothering you.
What’s more, in compact cities, you can also plan your sightseeing geographically to save on all your bus, tube and taxi fares by walking between places.
One thing to remember when you’re visiting popular attractions is that although you’re saving money by going it alone, you’ll still be surrounded by restaurants, cafes and bars whose main trade comes from tourists. Head a bit further away and you’ll be able to cut a bit off your bill.
4. Sign up to email alerts
Airlines, hotels and all travel providers will run offers from time to time. The best way to be among the first to know about these money-saving deals is to sign up to their email newsletters. The thought of loads of emails clogging up your inbox might be annoying, but when you save hundreds on a holiday, it’s the last thing you’ll be thinking about.
Be careful, though, and always check the small print before you snap up a holiday deal. What times are the flights? How good are the hotel’s reviews? Does it include food and transfers? Vigilance pays off, as the last thing you want is to arrive and be hit with loads of additional costs you didn’t factor into your budget.
It’s also worth following your favourite travel providers and bloggers on social media to keep up-to-date on key locations, offers and travel trends.
5. Be flexible
Last but not least, if you really want to make substantial savings, you’ve got to have a flexible attitude to your holiday. Whether that’s the time you fly, as late nights and early mornings tend to be cheaper, or even flying indirectly (having a stop-off can save you up to 50% on the cost of flights), being relaxed about the specifics of your trip abroad is likely to save you the most.
Perhaps you could investigate how much being flexible with accommodation could save you. Package holidays, with flights, accommodation and food thrown in, may seem like the easy option but if you’re willing to do a bit of extra work, you can save money by doing it yourself.
The same goes for when you’re on holiday – self-accommodation and cooking for yourself tends to be the cheaper alternative to dining at a hotel, even if you’re staying there. With a bit of effort on your part, you’ll end up with more spending money for your holiday. Finding deals abroad might involve more planning, but it’s worth it.
How do you save money when you go abroad? Share your cost-cutting tips :-).
**This is a collaborative post**