Sometimes you might experience buyer’s remorse when you buy something you maybe don’t need. Perhaps you have felt this way when you’ve bought a new smartphone after your former model dared to no longer be state-of-the-art after six whole months. There is one thing that you will almost certainly never feel guilty about spending money on, and this is travel. To see the world is an enriching and unforgettable experience, although it would be nice to do it without breaking the bank. So if you’re a novice to the world of international travel, what are some great ways to save a bit of cash?
- Finding a Flight Bargain
Take your time looking for flights. Check a travel website aggregator (a website that collates all the prices from a number of different websites), along with the airlines themselves, and also a few different travel agents. You will be surprised at the differences in prices, particularly if you’re flexible with your dates. You should also consider checking different prices for each stage of your journey.
As an example, if you were planning to fly from Prague to Paris, and then to London before heading up to Oslo, it might be cheaper to book three different flights from three different sources. There is also the theory that you can find cheaper flights online by deleting your internet cookies before searching. And sometimes you should also disregard the idea of flying at all…
- Other Transport
It’s nowhere near as quick, but it can be infinitely cheaper to travel by bus or rail when travelling within a certain area. And when you consider the fact that you need to make your way out to the airport on the edge of a city (hours before departure) and then go through security before you can even get on a plane, it can often be quicker to catch a train over short and medium length distances.
The prices are usually comparable too, just so long as you book in advance. Catching the bus is never quicker, but it can be ludicrously cheap, particularly across much of Europe where deregulation had led to increased competition amongst the ever-expanding number of bus companies.
Take a similar approach with finding a cheap hotel as you would when looking for flights. Check travel website aggregators, the hotels themselves, and a number of travel agencies. Ditch the hotel altogether in order to make some extra savings. Renting an entire apartment can sometimes cost more than renting a hotel room, but you can cook your own meals in your own kitchen, so this can work out to be a true bargain – particularly if you’re travelling with a few friends or family members. It’s wise to begin your apartment hunting as soon as you know your travel dates, particularly in Europe. While some cities welcome tourists with open arms, other places are beginning to crack down on short-term apartment rentals. There’s a thought that such rental services can lead to a shortage of permanent rentals, which can contribute to a shortage of available housing.
If you don’t end up renting an apartment while on vacation, try to get somewhere that includes breakfast, ideally a buffet. This allows you to fill up on food before you begin to explore your destination, with only smaller (and less expensive) meals later in the day.
Restaurants will generally give you better value for money at lunch, since this is traditionally their quiet time, meaning that specials can be found without too much trouble. If you truly want to save money, get into the habit of having only a light snack at dinner time, and fill up on an included breakfast and a cheap lunch.
- Spending Money
Have a word with your bank before you go. You don’t want them to possibly deactivate your cards, which could happen if there are suddenly a whole lot of cash withdrawals and credit card transactions in different countries. You should also ask if they have any reciprocal arrangements with foreign banks, meaning that you could go to one of these foreign banks and withdraw cash without having to pay a service fee.
You should also check how goods and services are generally obtained in your destination. In some places (like Cuba), you will need to pay for almost everything in cash. In other places (like Denmark), you can download a smartphone app that allows for an instant funds transfer when you’re out shopping, so you don’t need actual cash or even plastic.
- Group Tours
Don’t overlook the idea of a group tour, even just a day tour to give you an overview of a particular city. Look for something that is largely inclusive, meaning that your transportation to key attractions and the cost of entry is included. You might also be able to skip the queues in some instances.
Sometimes it can actually be surprisingly cheap to explore an entire country or region with a guided tour, and this can reduce both your costs and complications – especially when there are a few of you travelling at the same time. Affordable group tours in Cuba can be an excellent way to see a country that can sometimes be wonderfully chaotic… all while saving money and reducing the potential for stress.