Let's face it, traveling is awesome. The world is so vast, so why wouldn't you want to explore it? On the down side, it can also be quite expensive when you're out there, and the hip pocket can take a bashing. Fear not. We're here to help you with tips and hints before booking and during your travels to keep your wallet happy.
1. Location, location, location: When booking your holiday be aware of it's proximity to all the activities you're wishing to do. Transportation can be costly (hello taxi's) so you ideally want to be within walking distance to your intended location or at least be able to catch a bus or a train.
2. I can wait a bit: If you can be flexible with your flying times, stopovers, seat selection etc, then you can save quite a bit of money as less people want to drag out their transit times. This also goes for booking out of peak seasons as they're not as popular as other times of year. Hotels will also give you better deals out of season as they need to fill vacant rooms.
3. Free is sweet: Many places will have free activities if you do a little research before you get there. Checking out community calendars to see what's on whilst your in town is a great way to see some interesting and possible unusual events that might not be in the tourist books. Also ask forums or locals for advice on free or cheap things to do. Take yourself on a walking tour with the help of a map or your smartphone and familiarize yourself with your destination. This is a great way to discover hidden gems all over the place.
4. Chill, heat or cook: If you book a room with a fridge and microwave or even a kitchenette, you can save on eating out for breakfast. Make your own breakfast and coffee and save on hotel breakfasts or eating in a cafe or restaurant.
5. I've got the munchies: Many restaurants, bars and cafes offer lunch specials where the costs are less expensive. Have a big meal to get you through till dinner so you don't buy unnecessary costly snacks mid afternoon. If you are going to be out and about all day or will be doing a lot of walking, take your own snacks and water. This will cut the cost of having to buy overpriced food and drink especially around major tourist attractions. Likewise when you eat out at dinner, steer clear of typical busy tourist spots as they jack up the prices in restaurants, bars and cafes. Walk a few blocks away and see the prices fall.
6. Local is best: Shop at farmers markets and local stores as their food will be at a fraction of the restaurants and you can meet and chat with the locals. This will also give you an opportunity to ask locals about any hidden gems off the beaten track. Cook up your goodies at a local park BBQ or in your room if you can.
7. Size matters: Booking two rooms with an adjoining door for the kids can be extremely costly when travelling. Use Air BnB, HomeAway VRBO or even sites like TripAdvisor or Agoda. These sites will help you with apartments, homes and even cheap hotel rooms with adjoining rooms.
8. Who needs 5 star: Although it's super luxurious to have a flashy room, you're not really going to be spending much time there are you? Will you be using all the facilities like the pool, gym or restaurant? Do you need all that extra space and a killer view? For the amount of time you'll be spending in your room you may as well get something much smaller and save a heap of cash.
9. Staying the distance: Staying outside a city will always be cheaper than in the city where all other tourists will be. You can always catch a train or bus into the main areas and just use your room to sleep at. Heaps cheaper.
10. Tourist in a card: Depending on the card, you can gain free entry to top visitor attractions, discounts at restaurants and shops, skip-the-line options at busy attractions, free public transportation, and even free guidebooks. This can save you both time and cash depending on your itinerary. It might be worth the money.
There are so many more tips and tricks to save money out there but with a little research you can have a spectacular holiday if you spend the time just looking for cheap ideas and cost cutting tricks. The last thing you want to remember is the total on your credit card statement instead of the memories you'll make.
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