Holidays and travel are something most of us get massively excited about. Whether it’s a quick spin through Europe, a relaxing beach holiday, a trek through the mountains or something in between, holidays can be overwhelming. Incorporating a few simple travel hacks can help you save time and money while on the road.
Before you go
Look into house sitting
While not yet as popular as accommodation like Airbnb, house sitting is a valid option, especially if you have a good tenancy history and can provide references (yes, references!). While free accomodation is the most obvious plus, generally you’d also be staying/living in different areas than you would if you were to book a hotel or serviced apartment for your stay.
Search for free stopovers
Generally airlines will offer free stopovers (think long layovers) in their base of operations, like IcelandAir offering free stopovers in Iceland or Emirates offering free stopovers in Dubai. They do this to get your tourist dollars, of course, but it’s a nice perk sometimes if you have the time in your itinerary to spare. Or you could even build your trip around it!
Pack light and smart
If you’re able to pack your trip carry-on only, you’re starting off on the right step, as most airlines change for a checked bag now - and even more if you go overweight. The time honoured tradition is to roll rather than fold your clothes. If you want to up your game, roll and use packing cubes. For the times you know you’ll be coming back with a lot of shopping or souvenirs, pack yourself a secondary duffel or backpack that packs down really small rather than having to buy another suitcase or bag at your destination.
Download Google Maps and translate for offline
In order to use your roaming or international plan as infrequently as possible (often they’re still a big expense, compared to a normal phone plan), download for offline use both Google Maps of the cities or locations you’ll be staying. Do the same for conversation and download Google Translate for the local language. Having both of these offline will keep your roaming charges down and give you a bit more peace of mind.
Avoid roaming charges
You can help reduce roaming charges by downloading important things offline, as we talk about above - there are other solutions as well. Sometimes buying a local SIM or researching any offers your current phone provider may have with international travel may be well worth it. This is especially true if you end up not having to pay a lot if there’s an emergency, or your flight is cancelled and needs to be rebooked.
When you’re traveling
Bring an empty water bottle to the airport
We all know that airport prices are a bit ridiculous, especially when it comes to food and drink. Bringing an empty water bottle to the airport (ideally one you’d be able to reuse on your travels) helps to ease that cost ad bit, and will probably help keep you hydrated, which in turn may help you get over your jet lag better.
For an additional bit of comfort before your flight, getting access to a lounge may be a good idea. Some credit cards have partnerships with lounges, or you can buy day passes (or similar) at many airline lounges. Especially if you’re in for a long flight, the relaxation beforehand may be worth the additional cost.
When you arrive
Shop (and eat) at local markets
While it may be appealing to eat out all the time, food is probably one of the expenses that’s most prone to going over-budget. I mean, it’s probably a once in a lifetime trip - it’s so tempting to try and go to (and Instagram) all the places you’ve bookmarked!
To still give yourself the local experience while saving a bit of cash - check out the markets! Pick up interesting ingredients you wouldn’t normally eat at home, but seem popular there. Or if you’re not someone who cooks (or doesn’t have access to a kitchen) markets generally have a good selection of local street food. Eat!
Multi day passes
Whether it’s a city pass or a multi-day pass for public transport, often these passes give major discounts. For city passes though the benefit comes in visiting the majority of the places they’ve partnered with, so if you’re not planning on seeing those sights, this may not end up being the best choice.
There are a lot of travel hacks out there that may be worth considering thoroughly before adopting them.
- Flying budget: We’ve all heard horror stories from someone or another about the time they booked the cheap flight and got stranded, or had to land at a completely different airport. Don’t be that person! Plus, if you are thinking about a budget airline, build in expectations for all the fees they have: high charges for carry-on luggage, food, water, alcohol, blankets...the list goes on. Cost-wise, it may end up being cheaper to pay more upfront for a more amenity-inclusive airline.
- Clearing your cookies before booking: May actually harm you because some airlines will hit you with great deals to try and get you to book.
- Booking a stay outside the city: Sometimes the cost (physical and monetary) of public transport makes your “cheap” hotel outside the city actually more expensive than one in a more desirable location.
All in all, there are some straightforward ways to save yourself time and money when you’re traveling. If you're looking to book the holiday of your dreams but don't have the funds today, it's worth checking out our Holiday Loans page to see the great rates we can offer.