SAVE MONEY ON TRAVEL WITH THESE TIPS
With winter behind us, many people will start planning their summer holidays.
Holidays can be expensive – especially during peak times. But if you’re smart about it, you can dramatically bring down the cost of your holiday. We’re not talking about spending the summer in a beaten up old caravan – you’ll still be living the boss lifestyle, just at a much lower hit to your wallet.
Follow these tips to save money on travel and you’ll be sure to get the most out of your money:
Let’s start with flights. They’re often the most expensive part of a holiday. But they don’t need to be. In fact if you’re smart about it – you could get away with rarely paying for a flight…ever.
Using credit card rewards points.
We’ve touched on this concept many times before. If you’re not doing your everyday spending on credit cards and collecting the points, then you’re literally throwing away cash. We can’t emphasise this enough: Free flights are going to waste if you’re not using a good points based credit card.
Get yourself a credit card that has a decent joining bonus and a solid reward scheme, and you’ll be racking up frequent flyer points in no time.
When it comes to booking a flight, all you’ll need to pay is a small amount of taxes.
It’s not rocket science, but it continually amazes us how many people ignore this ‘free lunch.’ Sign up for a rewards based credit card now and start accumulating points and miles today. While there are of course many ways to rack up free rewards points and miles, credit cards have been and remain by far the most lucrative way of doing so.
Cards we like include these two
for the USA and this
one for the UK.
If you do have to pay for your flights, use search multiple engines like Kayak and Skyscanner to ensure you get the best prices. Don’t just use one site and call it a day. Although search engines check similar databases, each site uses its own software and varying procedures. Once in a while, you can see price differences in their results. You also don’t have to fly out and back with the one airline. Mix it up and the total cost may be cheaper.Furthermore, the timing of your flights can have a significant influence on the price. Research shows that flying out on a Tuesday / Wednesday can be around 30% cheaper than flying out on a Friday night. Similarly, avoid coming back on Sunday if you’re looking for a cheap flight.Finally, how about MAKING money off a flight? Flights are more full than ever and there’s always a chance one will be overbooked.
If you’re willing to be bumped to a later flight, the rewards can be attractive. You’ll likely be offered USD $300-400 or more in compensation (credit to be used on a future airfare). On top of that, you may even be given an upgrade. On international flights, the difference in service levels can be enormous. Additional benefits can include a large offer of frequent flier miles and food vouchers. Don’t hesitate to ask – you’re the one being inconvenienced. Airline personnel can be more accommodating than you think.
The best way to volunteer for a bump is simple: arrive to your departure gate early, approach the gate agent, and simply let them know your schedule has become available and you’re willing to volunteer for a later flight. They’ll keep you in mind and when the time comes, you’ll be near first in their mind.
Like most things with airlines, your level of compensation can vary greatly but whatever airline you’re dealing with, three keys remain the same: arrive to the gate early, look presentable, and ask nicely.
Along with flights, accommodation always consumes a significant chunk of your holiday budget.
So how do you get more bang for your buck here?
Better still, why not rent out your own accommodation on Airbnb while you’re away and GET PAID to lie on the beach? It’s always a great feeling to know that money is rolling into your bank account while you’re sipping a cocktail on holiday. Getting started on Airbnb is extremely easy to do. For more details, check their website – airbnb.com.
If you are set on a hotel, use our Hotwire trick
here to attempt to uncover the hotel you want for a fraction of the regular price. If you’re paying full price for a hotel, you’re getting ripped off.
Lastly, a good app for last minute discount rooms is Hotel Tonight, which we listed in our recent Top Travel Apps
Banks love to RIP YOU OFF when you travel abroad. They see you coming a mile away. Lets say you’ve travelling from London to NYC for a few days, need to transfer your GBP to USD, and the official fx rate is 1.6700. You’ll be lucky to get 1.6200 from a high street bank. On £1000 spending money, that’s a £50 loss before you’ve even spent a cent!
However if you’re visiting a friends / family overseas, try this trick:
Transfer your spending money to your contact abroad with TransferWise
, and then collect the cash on arrival. TransferWise are an amazing FX provider that give customers the mid market fx rate (ie. the 1.6700), and simply charge a transaction fee of around £5 or less. That’s all you’ll pay.
Assuming you can trust your friends / family and they won’t flee to Cancun with your hard earned cash, this is a great way to save a little extra money on your next holiday and ensure your spending is stretched to the limit.
Another tip for holiday spending is to get yourself a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. If you can find one that gets you bonus points for international spending – all the better. Your holiday spending could go a long way towards your next flight!If you do need foreign currency, it’s generally NOT a good idea to change your money at the airport upon arrival. These FX providers usually have very lousy exchange rates.
Just like the banks, the phone networks love to rip you off for international phone usage. There’s nothing worse than getting back from holiday to find an extortionate phone bill.
The first tip here is to look out for a international travel phone bundle. If you’re travelling to Europe from the UK, there are usually plenty of good bundles available that will give you cheap texts, calls and data. This is more complicated for US travellers as their networks are still playing hardball with international roaming fees – a topic we will be exploring in the future to find the best way for US travellers to use their phones abroad.
Another tip is to use web-based apps for communication (assuming you can get access to free / cheap wifi). Use Whatsapp for texting and Viber/Skype for calls. This will dramatically reduce your phone bill.
Uber is a fantastic app that allows you to order luxury cars to pick you up from your location within minutes. Uber X is the budget version – smaller cars and lower prices.
We’ve touched on the amazing pricing of Uber X taxis
before. Uber X aims to be 30-50% cheaper than a regular cab and it genuinely is. In Paris
, an Uber X van cost us a third of what we were quoted for a regular taxi!
So if you’re in a city with Uber X and want to cut down your travel costs, definitely check it out for cheap transport. The savings can be significant.
There’s nothing like kicking back in a lounge with a G&T before your flight to escape the chaos of the airport. For those without elite airline status, we recommended taking a look at Priority Pass
. For a small fee, you get access to over 600 lounges worldwide. Better still, find a credit card
that gives you free enrollment in Lounge Club – the scaled down version of Priority Pass. It will get your holiday off to the start it deserves.
Lastly, don’t buy travel accessories at the airport.
Need adapters, eye masks and other travel accessories? The best places for these items are sites like Ebay and Amazon. They will cost you a quarter of what they would at the airport.
Got a boss pair of headphones and want to use them on the plane? Grab a headphone adapter and you’ll be able to listen to the movies in much better sound quality.
Pick one up cheaply on Amazon before you go.
Use these tips to ensure your next holiday doesn’t cost you a fortune. You’ll still be rolling like boss – just at half the price.