How to Save Money on Travel
With so many exciting destinations and things to do around the world, even if you only travel for a short duration everything adds up. We often get asked 'how can I save money on travel' so we have put together a list of tips for how you can travel more and for longer.
So instead of wasting money on unnecessary things, read how you can save money which you can then use to spend on activities and sightseeing.
Check out our top recommendations below.
1. Book Flights in Advance
Usually the earlier you book flights the cheaper than price. This goes for both internal and international flights and this can save you a lot of money.
2. Search Flights on a Comparison Website
To get the best deals on flights we recommend using a comparison website like Skyscanner. You can search and compare thousands of flights from major international airlines and find the best rates on your prefered departure day.
If you are planning to fly longhaul consider a stop-off rather than flying direct, prices will usually be much cheaper this way. Some other airlines like Norweigan air offer cheaper deals if you don't include meals in the price. Prepare snacks in advance and save big on the normal flight ticket!
3. Join a Frequent Flyer Program
Some companies and airlines offer points for every time you fly with certain airlines. You can build up points which can be used towards cheaper/discounted tickets/accommodation/sightseeing and although it might take time to benefit, usually it is worth it over time especially if yuo are a frequent traveller.
4. Be Flexible with Travel Dates
This isn’t something that everyone can work with, but if you can, you’ll benefit greatly and could make significant savings on your trip. Being flexible with travel dates can allow you to get the cheapest flights and maybe even a reduced price for your accommodation, too. If you’re flexible enough to travel off-peak, then you could get your trip for ridiculously cheap, in comparison to what you would at peak times. However, this will depend on your destination.
Try to be flexible with the dates you go, usually to fly anywhere from Friday to Sunday is more expensive than weekdays whilst also some times of the year are more expensive than others.
5. Check For Flight Discounts
Some travel agencies offer specific discounts to students, teachers Ask about student discounts at STA Travel. (if only to be young again!)
6. Avoid Expensive Destinations
Some places in the world are more expensive than others, and your budget will go a lot further if you choose your destinations wisely. For example you will probably spend more money in a month travelling in Australia, than you would for 3 months on a tour of south-east Asia. Check how much accommodation, sightseeing, transport and general costs are before going anywhere.
Of course some places you really need to see and understandably you will want to go no matter how much it costs. We do though recommend limiting your time in these places and then using the money saved to spend more time in other destinations.
7. Work Out a Budget
Knowing how much money you have available can really help you to plan and budget.
8. Choose Accommodation Carefully
The idea of staying in a luxury hotel with a gym and swimming pool might sounds incredible but unless you have a huge budget this will really eat away at your outgoings. There are so many options for places to stay including hotels, hostels, guest houses, AirBnB and apartments - and you can get great deals if you research before. Using a website like Booking.com or HostelWorld will save you a lot of money. And as with flights, usually the cheaper you book the better.
9. Search Hotels on Comparison Website
Booking.com is our top choice for booking hotels and accommodation around the world. They have over 800,000 properties world wide including hotels, apartments and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.
10. Stay in Hostels
Staying in a hostel can really help you to save money and travel longer. By using a website like HostelWorld.com you can search and compare thousands of hostels and budget places to stay worldwide.
Airbnb is now one of the most popular forms of accommodation and a great alternative to standard hotels and hostels. AirBnB is website where you can search short-term lodging including apartments, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms and more. This is perfect if you want to travel cheaper as you will have you own kitchen which can save you money not eating out all the time. Prices are also very competative especially if you stay more than a few days.
12. Stay More Than 1 Night
You will find most hotels, hostels and accommodation offer cheaper rates if you stay longer. Usually 2-3 night stays are cheaper than just individual days. Whilst Sunday to Thursday are generally cheaper than Friday and Saturday.
13. Avoid Super Central Areas
Usually if you book accommodation slightly outside of the main centers you will find accommodation for the fraction of the price. Just check there are good transportation options in advance.
14. E-Mail Lists & Social Media
Okay mailing list e-mails can be annoying and you might get bombarded if you sign up for too many, but some airlines, hotels and travel companies offer specific special offers via e-mail. E-mails are also a good way to get to hear first about deals and special offers.
15. Ship Your Luggage
Transporting your luggage abroad to accompany you on your travels can be expensive, especially if you want to take more than one bag. Sometimes airlines can be sneaky by providing a big luggage allowance on the outbound flight, but reducing it on the return and if you’ve also overpacked, you’ll have to pay out for extortionate excess baggage fees.
This makes your travel all the more expensive, when it really doesn’t have to be. Booking with a luggage shipping company like Uni Baggage is not only convenient, as you can have your bags and suitcases picked up from your front door and delivered straight to your destination, but it’s also extremely cost-effective.
16. Travel on Local Transport
Usually travelling on local transport is a lot cheaper than organised group tours, especially when doing a city tour. For example, in a city like London official sightseeing tours are very expensive but local buses usually travel the same or similar routes. Although not as fun, you will save a lot of money.
17. Walk or Cycle
It really goes without saying, but getting from A to B when travelling abroad can cost a pretty penny. However, it is always worth spending some time thoroughly researching the ways in which you can reduce your travel costs whilst abroad. In some cities, the cost of public transport can quickly mount up, and so you could make significant savings by simply getting to where you need to go on foot, or even by renting a bicycle. It can also prove to be a much more enjoyable way to travel through cities, allowing you to see and explore much more.
18. Share Transport Costs
Some companies like Uber offer the option to share a ride with other people and this reduces the cost of your journey. Or if you are on the road, don't be afraid to ask other travellers where they are going and see if you can share transport and costs.
19. Speak to Locals
Getting tips from local people can really help you to get authentic experiences which are often cheaper. People are knowledge and insider tips are the best when it comes to saving money. When you arrive at your accommodation or when out and about exploring don't be afraid to ask questions like 'where is a good restaurant?'.
20. Take Advantage of Free Stuff
Who doesn’t enjoy a freebie every now and again? Something that many people don’t think of when travelling is the range of freebies they can probably get their hands on with just a little research. There are countless attractions, activities and landmarks in major cities throughout the world which are completely free of charge. For example museums sometimes have free days How you enjoy your trip and the memories that you get to make should not have to be determined by how much you spend.
21. Avoid Eating in Tourist Hotspots
If you go slightly off the tourist trail e.g. out of popular tourist squares for example you will find food and drink for the fraction of the price. Side and back streets usually have more local restaurants which will be a lot cheaper. This will save you a lot of money in places like Venice for example where restaurant prices in hotspots like St Marks Square are astronomical.
22. Cook Yourself
Cooking your own food can be an easy way to save your pennies whilst travelling. You can easily control your outgoings, as the cost of eating out every night of your trip will mount up quickly. Not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy eating out every once in a while, because you should. But it can also be fun and educational to try your hand at cooking local dishes.
23. Check if Meals are Included
Some hotels and hostels offer free meals like breakfasts - this can be a good way to save money.
24. Take Advantage of Free Wi-Fi
If you’re someone who can’t stay offline for long, if you’re not careful, you could soon rack up a hefty bill when travelling abroad. To avoid this, take some time to search locations that offer free wi-fi. It can be a saving grace when you’re itching to check your social media, or check in with your loved ones back home, but can’t justify the expensive consequences.
25. Use Coupons
There are lots of websites like Groupon offering travel discounts worldwide. Also when you arrive in a hotel or destination check brochures, magazines and free maps. Usually they have promotions and discounts for local sightseeing activities, tours and also food.
26. Travel Overnight
If you book transport e.g. plane, train, or bus consider travelling overnight so you save the cost of accommodation.
27. Find Free Things to Do
There are so many free things to see and do around the world in towns, cities and villages. You've just got to seek out local experiences, read forums, travel guides and ask around locally. For example, go people watching, check outdoor squares, performer spaces, beaches and bars.
28. Car Drop Off
In some destinations like the USA companies will pay you to transport a car or vehicle to a certain destination which can be perfect if you are looking to explore on a budget.
Couchsurfing a huge community of travellers around the world with hosts who list a room or couch for people to stay. You will get to meet new people, stay for free and might get a local experience if your host is friendly and shows you around. It is safer than you might think as there are reviews and ratings available to view before contacting potential hosts.
Some websites offer the chance to stay in a families home whilst they are away, a home sitting style of accommodation which a lot of the time is free. Availability and locations might be limited but for some destinations this is a great way to save money.
31. Buy a Kindle
If you love to read then you can save money and also space in your baggage by buying a kindle. A kindle is a decide which allows you to download and read books - you can choose from thousands of titles, a lot of which are either free or very cheap compared to the cost of paper/hardbacks,
There are several different models of Kindle available including:
32. Be Social
Try to be as friendly as possible when you travel and make friends. These people might then offer you the chance to visit them in their home country. You might also want to use social media to meet new people and find places to stay.
33. Cut Down on Alcohol
Drinking is very social and fun, and it can be tempting to be out socialising and partying everynight (well life is too short to just stay in especially if you are travelling). But this can easily eat away at your budget. Alternative options include cutting down on alcohol or just drinking water which is totally free!