4 Favourite Ways to Travel More and spend less in 2015
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Oprah Winfrey once defined the moment she knew she’d really made it thus: she laddered a single stocking and simply threw the whole pair in the bin.
Previously she would set aside the good one to make half of a new pair one day. She said it took her years of being incredibly wealthy to shake this habit and bung the perfectly good stocking in the bin with its laddered leg-mate.
The point of the anecdote is that no matter how rich you may be, it’s difficult to shake off the desire to be thrifty, and to deny the sense of achievement you get from saving a buck or two – and in my case, and I’m assuming yours too, this goes double for saving money on travel.
Most of us have a long way to go before we reach Oprah’s level of wealth, so for those of us who love to travel, saving money on our trips is always front of mind.
I’ve written previously about my 5 favourite ways to save money on travel. Here are 4 more ways to travel more and spend less – one for each major category that traditionally eats up our travel spending.
The first and most obvious way to save money on travel is to concentrate on the single most expensive aspect of the trip, which is usually the flights, by using a flight comparison site to ensure you find the cheapest deal.
But when you want to travel frequently sometimes a cheap flight alone is not enough and you actually want to fly for free. If you’re dedicated and organised this is possible using loyalty schemes and credit cards which offer free flights as rewards and incentives.
There are a number of credit cards which offer sign-up bonuses which can be translated into free flights, and sites like Money Saving Expert and Head for Points will give you detailed and up to date information about the best ways you can get free flights just by paying for your regular spending on a new credit card. Flying for free is a pretty nice feeling.
The reason flights are the most expensive aspect of a trip is simple – there are always a finite number of flights between any two destinations and once those seats are sold, it’s impossible for more to be created. Airlines know that if you need to get somewhere on a specific date you have a limited number of options and usually this pushes the price up.
Unless you’re travelling to a very remote part of the world, or to a popular destination at a busy time the same does not apply for accommodation. You can stay in anything from a hotel, hostel, holiday home rental, Air B&B apartment, caravan or a yurt, you can even couch surf or camp, so the options with accommodation will always be practically endless meaning there’s way more ‘room’ for bargains (that pun: groan).
This means as well as location, location, location, there’s one word that’s worth repeating 3 times when it comes to saving money but not compromising on your travel plans – deals, deals deals.
Sign up for as many deal alerts as you can, comb the internet, and do your research and you will almost always find a diamond in the rough. For example today a quick search turned up a discount code for 30% off Air B&B bookings through Travelzoo, and I’m always a fan of searching Groupon and other daily deals sites for reduced hotel inventory.
When you’re on the road the money you spend on food and drinks can really add up. Enjoying a meal or two in a nice restaurant during a short break is one thing, but when you’re away on a longer trip chances are you’ll eventually grow tired of shelling out for expensive dinners every night, plus having to sit in restaurants for every single meal can actually become tedious – though this may be the very definition of a First World Problem!
I know that when I’m away for more than a few days I quickly start to miss the comforts of a home cooked meal, so my favourite new way to save money on eating out abroad and translate that saving into a cool way of meeting new people and soaking up the culture is the new culinary answer to Air B&B – Vizeat. The service pairs you up with local hosts so you can enjoy a cheaper alternative to a restaurant meal prepared just for you at someone’s home.
We all tend to know the best place to go to purchase specific items at home, but without detailed local knowledge we probably all find ourselves spending more than we need to on basic supplies as soon as we leave the country.
My favourite way to get around this unnecessary expenditure is to find outlet malls, discount stores and thrift stores in my destination where I can not only buy whatever I may need at a reasonable price, but where I can also pick up souvenirs and curiosities to bring home for myself and my friends. The great thing about shopping overseas is that no-one else will know if you bought something at a knock-down price or paid top dollar.
Shops like Daiso which is Japanese but has branches all over the world including the Middle East and Africa, aims to give customers ‘surprises and fun… for such a low price’ and similar Danish chain Tiger which has also expanded globally, are amazing places to get holiday-friendly merchandise for peanuts.
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