50 Essential Travel Money Saving Tips for 2014

by Jules on March 25, 2014

No matter where you’re going and whatever time of the year, there’s always an opportunity to save money – follow our essential travel money saving tips to get the most out of your journey.

EHIC – Make sure your European Health Insurance Card has not expired, and if you haven’t got one, why not?! And what’s more, it’s totally free.

Translation App – Install the Google translate app which contains around 50 different languages and is free on android.

Travel Insurance – It’s a must! And if you take two or more trips each year (including city breaks) it usually works out cheaper to buy an annual policy. And yes, you do need travel insurance in addition to an EHIC.

Guidebooks – Loan travel guidebooks from your local library and save money – just don’t go overdrawn.

Unplug Before You Go – As well as switching off the heating and water before you travel, make sure you also turn off other electrical items, never leave items on standby.

Backpack – Use a backpack as luggage, rather than a suitcase to avoid excess baggage charges and to carry-on your luggage, as opposes to potentially paying checked luggage charges.

Currency Converter – Getting to grips with currency conversions on the fly is a doddle with the XE Currency app.

Travel Accessories – Buy your adaptors, gadgets and accessories before hitting the airport as discount stores and supermarkets carry a great range at vastly cheaper prices.

Pack Batteries – If you still use batteries (rather than solar) when travelling, pack a spare set as they’re becoming more difficult to find.

Medications – Take enough of your regular medication with you as sourcing some overseas could be incredibly difficult.

Cheapest Destinations – Each year the Post Office publishes its ‘best value’ guide which highlights the cheapest destinations for travellers. Have you read this year’s top 10 yet?

First Aid Kit – Pack a small capsule first aid kit with plasters, antiseptic cream and bandages to cover any minor injuries. Also pack painkillers for hangovers, antacids and rehydration sachets for upset stomachs.

Foreign Exchange – Get your foreign currency before you hit the airport/train station/ferry terminal otherwise you risk getting stung by awful exchange rates.

In-flight Costs – Take your own pillow (inflatable is good), headphones and blanket to save costs on airlines and for your own piece of mind of their cleanliness!

Free Attractions – Sightseeing costs can really add up so research free things to do in your destination prior to travel, such as Barcelona, New York and Krakow.

Sunscreen – Take along your own sun lotion and after sun to avoid buying pricey alternatives locally.

Pack Smart – Wear your heaviest shoes and clothes rather than packing them and the same goes for heavy items of jewellery and gear.

Cheap Books – If you still like to read actual books (rather than via an e-reader) scour charity shops which sell pre-used books at a fraction of the cost.

Track your Currency – The value of your own currency against foreign currency will vary wildly, for instance the pound sterling is currently performing very well against the South African Rand and the US Dollar. Head to the best performing destinations.

Passport – Eek! Is your passport in date? And is the expiry date long enough to get you into your destinations?

Visa – Check whether you need a visitor’s visa before you travel.

Pay on your Card – Pay for your hotel, car hire, flights, train tickets etc on your credit card and should the company go out of business, your credit card company is liable.

Eat Before you Fly – Unless you get a free meal onboard, eating at one of the international restaurant chains in the airport terminal will probably work out cheaper (and tastier!)

Get App Happy – Load your smartphone up with useful travel apps before you go, which will save you money over your whole journey.

Car Hire – Consider if you really need a hire car and if you do, then book early to get the best rates. Many cities have superb public transport facilities so car hire may not always be necessary.

Airline Check-In – Avoid excess check in costs by pre-printing your boarding pass. In fact several airlines will only accept pre-printed passes.

Airport Parking – Pre-book your airport parking to save money and look into hotel and parking options, which often work out really cost effective.

Hit the Markets – Check out the local markets in your destination for cut-price food on the go. Buy some snacks for a picnic, as an alternative to another restaurant meal.

Travel for Free – Consider couch surfing or housesitting as a way to explore the world on the cheap.

Driving License – If you plan to drive abroad, check to see if your current license if valid or see whether you need to apply for an international permit.

Forget Room Service – Get active and go out for your dinner, as opposed to ordering room service, which will come with a seriously un-tasty tray charge.

Ditch the Guidebook – Once an establishment gets a mention in one of the major guidebooks, the prices creep up.

World Clock – If you’re on a multitrip adventure, consider downloading the free Perfect World Clock app which displays several chosen times from around the world.

Get Connected – Add Skype to your devices when travelling so you can make ultra-cheap calls when abroad, and avoid costly hotel call charges.

Download free books – There are a whole raft of free books out there for your e-reader – download the app and discover the classics. Have you ever read Charles Dickens ‘Tale of Two Cities’? Did you know it’s the most read novel of all time!

Free Samples – Cosmetics counters should give away free samples and trial sized products and all you have to do is ask.

Miniature Toiletries – Most high street chemists and supermarkets sell everyday toiletries in handy travel size bottles. Save space and money. Or you can buy empty bottles to decant your own favourite products.

Skip the Hotel Breakfast – Skip the costly hotel breakfast and grab something on the go instead.

Learn the Language – Pick up some useful phrases with the handy BBC languages site which covers more than 40 popular languages around the world.

Check your Credit Card – Contact your credit card company to ascertain likely charges for using your card abroad – many add an additional 3% on top of charges. There are 0% cards on the market so do shop around.

Bank Account Perks – Many enhanced bank accounts come with a whole raft of travel perks, such as fee-free currency, special travel insurance deals and discounts on airport parking.

Avoid 3G Shocks – Watch your mobile phone usage on holiday – data roaming, 3G and downloads can all rack up huge costs. Either switch to a specialist sim card or switch off those costly functionalities. The Onavo app (free on android and iPhone) reduces the data need for everyday tasks.

Get Your ESTA – If you’re heading to the US, you’ll need to complete an ESTA form but make sure you only use authorised sites.

Ditch the Citybreak – Staying within a city center will come at a premium, so consider staying just outside the city and travel in instead.

Consider a Hostel – Opt for a hostel rather than a pricey hotel – they’ve come on a long way from those 80s movies you know!

Try Street Food – Sample the local delights via street food sellers who knock out tasty food at a fraction of the cost of a restaurant.

Get a City Pass – Many major cities sell all-you-can-visit attraction passes – just head to the local tourism office.

Haggle – You’d be surprised how often it works, from a market stall to a luxury shop – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Subscribe – Add yourself to the email list of your favourite airlines, hotels and restaurants to be the first to hear of their sales and special offers.

Use your Facilities – If you pay for hotel with a swimming pool, then make sure you use it. Ditto a gym, inclusive buffet breakfast and leisure facilities.

If you’re in need of anymore tips, the Money Advice Service has put together a helpful guide on how to save some cash for your holiday. You can take a look at it here.

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