Be prepared and research before you go
Publications such as Lonely Planet and Rough Guide are excellent resources. You can pick these up at charity shops or libraries, but if you haven’t got the latest version make sure you double check online. You don’t want to turn up at a hostel to find it’s been knocked down…
Fly round trip
If you really have to travel by air, then booking a round trip can help you save money. Round trip tickets are usually cheaper than one way tickets. Also, flights are cheaper during the weekdays than on the weekends. So, plan your travel accordingly to make the most of these discounts.
Take Advantage of Promos
Most airlines and shipping companies usually give promos during the holidays. Take advantage of these deals because they give great discounts and offers that will help you save money on your transportation budget. There are also accommodation promos and tour packages which you may avail from hotels, resorts and travel agencies to further save on your budget.
Be Smart When Calling Home
Depending on the method used, calls home from Asia can be either ridiculously expensive or pleasantly cheap. Calls made home using public phones, credit cards, calling cards, or the phone at your accommodation are archaic and costly options.
Calls can now be made across the internet via programs such as Skype and Local phone. Many internet cafes offer headsets, or you can purchase a cheap set to carry on your trip. A typical call to the US using a VOIP service costs less than two cents per minute.
Think carefully about driving.
Sometimes driving can seem like a no-brainer. You can skip the security, no checked bags, and you are in control of your travel times. But is driving really a better option than flying in your case? AAA and Travel math both have fuel calculators so you can figure out the total cost of gas before hitting the road. Travel math goes one step further with a calculator that tells you whether flying or driving will be cheaper based on your answers to questions about your trip. Just remember that with a road trip there are always incidental expenses.
Foreign food restaurants are always more expensive than local options. This rule applies to any country. One of the best ways to save money while travelling is to eat locally. Try to find restaurants that locals frequent as opposed to tourists. Not only will the prices be lower but the food will also be more authentic.
One of the biggest mistakes of first time backpackers is to feel the need to rush around and see and do everything. Slowing down is the name of the game when it comes to reducing costs while traveling and taking less things in your backpack while mobile. Not only will you experience local culture in a more enriching manner, but more importantly, you’ll save money by not having to buy transportation all the time.
Negotiation is the lifeblood of the travel industry. Its products are time-sensitive: a room left empty one night or an airline seat that isn’t filled can’t be resold the next day. So, especially if you are booking at the last minute, and now that the hot weather has hit sales of holidays abroad, do bargain – especially when dealing with tour operators, travel agents and hotels.
Travel with a partner
Travelling with a partner can help you save money in a number of different ways. Meals, food, drinks and long haul transportation will still cost the same; however, accommodations and local transportation (such as taxis and tuk-tuks) can be split.
This is perhaps the most repeated budget travel advice: holiday during off season. If you can manage it, then travelling during off season is the best as you will get great offers on hotel rooms and travel tickets. Research a bit about the place you are planning to visit, find out about their off season and adjust your plans accordingly, if possible.
If you’ve planned your own itinerary, go online and check for coupons and discounts to tourist hotspots. You can also pick up multiple passes, which combine several popular attractions and are cheaper. You can even check with the hotel concierge if there are any ‘free’ visiting days.
Pick your dates
If you have to travel in the school summer holidays, go for the latest possible dates. The last week in August and the first in September are normally significantly cheaper than the rest of the holiday period. With the August bank holiday falling quite early, on the 26th, you may be able to squeeze in a week before the schools go back.
Be a Savvy Shopper
Never buy too many souvenirs, especially from touristy spots because they will cost the earth. Pick them up from local markets instead. In fact, you should carry out most of your shopping from the markets that are not on the tourist circuit. Also make sure you don’t buy too much stuff otherwise you’ll end up paying baggage fee at the airport.
Pack a lunch
Whether you’re flying or driving, food on the go is expensive. Have you seen how much those in-air snack packs cost? While many airports still have tough restrictions when it comes to bringing bottled water through security, there are no rules against packing a lunch for the flight. And if you’re driving to your holiday destination, plan to picnic rather than eat at pricey — and unhealthy — rest stop restaurants.
Think outside the holiday box
Of course you want to travel during the holidays — the problem is that everyone else does, too, and that’s when travel gets miserable. Plus, some airlines and hotels tack a holiday surcharge onto their rates because they know people will pay. See if your friends and family are willing to shift the holidays ahead or back by a week or two to avoid the rush and the massive fare hikes. What’s more important, getting the dates right or spending quality time with the people you love?