Follow our travel planning tips and advice to save money on every adventure you take in 2013, getting the very most out of your travel budget;
General Travel Planning Tips
1. Travel Budget – Work out a realistic travel budget and stick to it! Remember to factor in flights, accommodation, tours and food.
2. Use Promo Codes – Search online for promotional codes for flights, hotels and car hire. Check out travel forums and swap information with fellow travelers.
3. Go Direct and Save Money – Book your adventure tours direct with local tour operators which saves you money and gets you a more authentic holiday.
4. Travel Forums – Exchange tips and advice with other travelers – connect with people local to you and discover local deals and offers.
5. Travel Club – Join a travel club which offers ongoing discounts and special offers to its members.
6. Ask for an upgrade – Don’t be shy about asking for an upgrade on your accommodation and flights. Smile politely and the worst they can say is no.
7. Book Online – Many airlines and hotels offer discounts and special offers for booking online.
8. Book Direct – By booking each of your travel elements direct with the suppliers, you should secure a better deal by cutting out the middleman.
9. Book Off Season – traveling out of peak times offers better deals and more availability.
10. Travel Guidebooks – Borrow your travel guides from the library or use online versions such as PureTravel Travel Guides. Also create your own guide by saving mementoes and creating a scrapbook. Guidebooks will recommend cheaper eats, sleeps and shops and often feature price guides.
11. Pack Smart – Pack individual clothes which can be paired up to make outfits – pack a color and maybe black or cream.
12. Take a Backpack – Try to pack as little as possible, preferably traveling with a backpack. Avoid the excess baggage fees by not over packing.
13. Pack Light – Individual onboard luggage allowances will vary so check what your airline allows. And if you’re on a multi-flight trip, check any other airlines too as they may have different policies.
14. Watch your Weight – Weight your luggage before traveling with portable speaking scales; just hang your bag on the hook for an instant weight.
15. Domestic Baggage – Sounds crazy but it could actually work out cheaper to ship your luggage overland by courier than actually pay to check in it with your airline.
16. Travel Auctions – Try a travel auction to pick up a bargain, especially on luxury travel options – ask friends and colleagues for their recommendations.
17. Pack and Swap – Swap half of your packed clothes with your fellow traveler so if your bag does go astray, you’ll have clothes to wear.
18. Box Your Essentials – If you’re a frequent traveler, put all of your travel essentials – passport, documents, alarm clock, toiletries, etc – into a box so it’s all in one place for quick packing.
19. Pack Batteries and Film – If you’re old-school and still use batteries and film, then make sure you pack enough for your trip in case you can’t find them and as they’ll probably cost more on your travels.
20. Book Early – By booking early you can take advantage of early booking discounts and get what you want.
21. Book Late – Waiting for a last minute deal also offers a good bargain, although maybe not as much choice.
22. Be Flexible – With every element of travel booking, the more flexible you can be with dates, locations etc, the better deal you can secure.
23. Pack Medications – Take common medications on your travels as your favourite brand and products could be difficult to find and more expensive.
24. In Flight Charges – Take your own pillow, blanket, headphones etc to save on those extra onboard costs.
25. Share Your Celebration – If you’re celebrating a special birthday, anniversary or are on honeymoon, share that for a treat such as a gift basket, complimentary spa treatment and maybe even a room upgrade.
26. Check Price Changes – Prices fluctuate on flights and hotel rooms daily and if you spot that your price has gone down, it’s well worth seeing if you could also secure that lower price. It might also pay to cancel your reservation and rebook at a lower price (although this could be risky).
Holiday Money Tips
27. Follow The Dollar – Travel to where the dollar is strong and keep your eye on the exchange rates.
28. Travel Insurance – Don’t go without it but do shop around for a good deal on travel insurance. And consider annual policies.
29. Bank Accounts – Check whether your bank account offers free travel perks such as travel insurance, fee-free holiday currency, airport parking discounts etc. Many banks offer upgraded current accounts which often have these benefits thrown in.
30. Credit Cards Abroad – Check before you use your credit or debit card abroad as the fees could by expensive.
31. Sign Up for Daily Deal Sites – Before you travel, sign up for deal alerts from daily deal sites such as Groupon etc. There are tens of sites out there that all offer amazing deals on everything from meals out, cinema tickets and family days out.
32. Blog About It – Write some travel articles on your journey and publish them for money on travel blogs.
33. Check Social Media – Check out what’s happening locally before you arrive. You’ll find out which restaurants, museums and bars are running promotions.
34. Don’t Miss Out – Sign up to the RSS feeds, emails and newsletters with your favourite tour operators, airlines and travel suppliers. You’ll then hear about any special offers and sales as soon as they are launched.
35. Make Free Calls – Travel with a laptop or iPhone and you can make free Skype calls as long as your family are also set up on Skype. Skype to landlines and mobiles does carry a charge.
36. Become A Geek (momentarily at least) – Still deciding between that ‘staycation’ and the far-off adventure? Then don’t forget to factor in your car fuel costs – hop on a website to find your average miles per gallon for your car model (unless you know already!), then calculate how much that staycation round-trip will actually cost you.
Type of Vacation Tips
37. Stay Close To Home – Consider exploring your own country instead of flying abroad.
38. Hot Or Not? – Some of the local tourist may not be all that hot. Get some local insider knowledge and do what interests you rather than following the herd.
39. Try Voluntourism – Try a trip that combines helping out local communities with a vacation as well.
40. Back To Nature – Trips that involve walking, climbing and activities are generally cheaper and healthier too!
41. People Watching – Grab a coffee and a spot in a park or on a street bench and watch the people go by; fascinating, free and a great way to rest your legs.
42. Experience Outdoor Activities – Balance an expensive day at a theme park with a free activity day; visit the beach, go for a walk and watch the local sunset.
43. Don’t Choose A Destination – Go a little crazy and let your next vacation come to you. sign up for holiday email alerts and let the bargains come to you!
44. Share Tours – Opt for a small group tour rather than a private tour and you can also interact with your fellow travelers, meet new people and save money.
Flight Planning Tips
45. Avoid Baggage Fees – Check your airliners baggage allowance and make sure you’re under it. And allow for any souvenir buying.
46. Cheap Airfares – Search online comparison sites for cheap airfares, remember to factor in the taxes. Sign up to airline newsletters and comparison websites to find out as soon as promotions are launched.
47. Frequent Flyer Programs – Make sure you take advantage of any frequent flier clubs that your airline may run. Use the points before they expire and don’t take a flight just because of the points – factor in all costs.
48. Connecting Flights – Check out connecting flights to see how much you could save.
49. Return Trips – Compare costs between round trips and single journeys as more often than not the return trip will offer a better deal.
50. Night Flights – Save one night’s accommodation by booking an overnight flight or train journey.
51. Avoid Check In Costs – See if you can avoid airport check in charges by printing off your ticket before you get to the airport. You’ll save time queuing as well.
52. Airport Shopping – Don’t go crazy and splurge your cash at the airport on needless gadgets but do buy your usual toiletries, perfumes, clothes etc that are cheaper there.
53. Airport Parking – Buy your airport parking in advance and check whether a hotel and parking is cheaper.
54. Parking Rules – Don’t double park and make sure you follow the car parking rules otherwise you could be hit with a hefty parking ticket on your return.
55. Foreign Currency – Don’t buy your holiday currency at the airport where the exchange rates are often lower.
56. Eat At The Airport – Many airports have international restaurant chains which may offer tastier (and cheaper) food than on your flight.
57. Free Airport Wi-Fi – If your airport has free wi-fi or free computers to use them whilst you’re waiting for your flight.
Save Money on Travel and Transport
58. Rent A Car – Hiring a car for the duration of your stay could be a cheaper investment than using public transport and taxis, especially if you’re staying off the beaten track.
59. Car Rental Insurance – Before you shell out on collision damage and loss damage waiver cover, aka CDW and LDW, check whether your current insurance policy already covers you. Some credit cards and bank accounts may also include this.
60. One Way Car Rentals – Compare the price to return a hire car to same location, as one way car rentals are often a lot more expensive.
61. Share Rides – If there are other travelers waiting for a taxi outside your accommodation ask them where they’re going and if you’re going the same way you can share the fare.
62. Rent A Mini – Hire the smallest rental car that you can get away with.
63. Rail Pass – Get a rail pass such as an Octopus card in Hong Kong which offers convenience as well as money saving.
64. Walk – Try walking the shorter journeys and checking out local sights on the way.
65. Take A Train – see whether a train journey offers a cheaper, and more scenic, alternative to flying. Same applies to taking local mass transit systems and buses, especially in your destination, which may save on taxi costs.
66. Public Transport – Opt for public transport as much as you can to save money and to experience the real sights, smells and people on the way!
67. Ask Your Concierge – Quiz your hotel concierge on local offers that may be running and soak up the local knowledge.
68. Go Self Catering – Stay at self catering apartments or accommodation and you can cook your own meals.
69. Try A Hostel – Hostels have come a long way recently and tend to be centrally based with great rates.
70. Couch Surfing – Try a house swap or couch surfing website for a more realistic experience.
71. Ask for Discounts for Kids – Many hotels offer specially priced family suites and other freebies such as children’s meals, kids clubs and Wi-Fi.
72. Don’t Stay Centrally – Hotels slap bang in the middle of all the action will command higher rates, so stay just outside of the big cities or popular tourist areas.
73. Just Ask – Ask your hotel or travel provider for a discount or something free. Don’t ask = don’t get!
74. Go Camping – Check out campsites as an alternative to pricey hotels.
75. Share Hotel Rooms – if you’re traveling as a group then it makes sense to share hotel rooms and bag yourself a discount. Do check though as some small hotels may charge per person rather than per room. And it’ll be short straws for the camp bed!
76. Get Online – If you’re planning on doing some work or surfing whilst on holiday check that your hotel has wi-fi and check the costs as they can vary wildly between hotels.
77. Free Wi-Fi – Many hotels have free wi-fi in their lobby, otherwise head to a coffee shop where you can browse for the cost of a coffee.
Eating and Drinking Travel Tips
78. Refill Water Bottles – Take refillable bottles along with you on days out but do check whether the water is OK to drink in your destination.
79. Take Snacks – Hit the local markets, buy some fruit and snacks to take with you on your days out.
80. Picnic – Enjoy a picnic in the park with some good local food, again markets and local shops are a good place to find some local food.
81. Eat Local – Try the local delicacies such as Pad Thai Noodles in Thailand which is an incredibly cheap option.
82. Plan Your Meals – Buy a guidebook which covers restaurants and note a few budget food stops in your destination, especially for breakfast and lunches.
83. Ditch the Guidebook – Once an establishment gets global recognition, the prices inevitably go up. So ditch the guidebook recommendations and get out there; escape the tourist areas in search of an authentic experience.
84. Breakfast On The Go – Skip the pricey and often unhealthy hotel breakfasts, and grab some buns, fruit and smoothies on the go.
85. Try Street Food – Street food stalls have some of the most tasty, authentic and cheapest food around. Pick a stall that’s busy and popular and take your pick of the delicacies on offer.
86. Ditch Room Service – Skip the costly room service option, where you’ll pay for delivery and get a reduced menu and still be expected to tip the staff.
Family Travel Tips
87. Kids Eat Free – Save money on family meals by looking out for deals where kids eat free or two people eat for a set fee.
88. Take Your Own Stroller – Using your own baby stroller or pushchair at some theme parks and attractions can save you from hiring one.
89. Multi Day Passes – Find out if attractions offer multi day passes or discounts and take advantage of them.
90. Use The Pool – If you’ve paid extra for a hotel for a pool then make sure you use it. Or consider booking a hotel without all the usual amenities if you won’t use them.
91. Child Spending – Set your children a daily budget on what they spend on souvenirs and gifts.
92. Enquire About a City Pass – Hit the local tourist office on arrival and enquire about a city pass that offers discounted rates on sights and entry frees. Paris, New York, Hong Kong and London all have discounted attractions passes available.
93. Student Discounts – Many attractions offer student, children, senior and family discounts. Check in advance and carry your ID with you.
94. Discount Vouchers – Many local papers and magazines offer local attraction deals such as 2 for 1 entry etc, which will save families money. Also look out for promotional leaflets in hotels.
95. Ask a Local – If you’re looking for the newest bar in town, the best place to grab a pizza or the cheapest place to buy clothes, ask a local. They’ll know the best places that are off the tourist trail.
96. Loyalty Vouchers – Other organizations also have offers from their partners – make sure you’re signed up to receive post from your credit card companies, supermarkets etc. In the UK, Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for entrance to loads of attractions, such as Longleat.
97. Haggle – Many markets and smaller traders on your vacation almost expect you to barter and haggle on the price of goods – give it a go, it’s all part of the experience!
98. Tax Refunds – Some countries have systems in places to allow tourists to get tax refunds on purchases made in the country.
99. Get Off The Beaten Track – Head out and explore your local area. Getting off the well-worn tourist trail can often lead to bargains as you stumble across shops and restaurants frequented more by the locals than tourists.
100. Hit The Markets – The biggest bargains are likely to be had at the local markets – ask where the locals go to pick up some local and authentic crafts.
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