Budget Travel Tips – Go Further for Less
It’s gloomy being a Brit sometimes. Especially when headlines of triple dip recession meet uncertainty over Brexit. And the weather’s rubbish. Do you need help to make your adventure piggy bank take you further? Let me help with these nine budget travel tips on how to stretch out your holiday money….
Need Some Budget Travel Tips to stay afloat?
It’s a tough time to be a parent. And even tougher to be a child; the younger generations are likely to be the first group in modern times to have less cash to splash than their parents. So how can you make that small budget go further? Don’t close your eyes and hope for the best; take positive action keep the money in your piggy bank until you need it. Here are some ideas and budget travel tips..
Use your phone to compare prices
The world of travel is changing as rapidly as the internet and these days you don’t have to trawl the high street to uncover a bargain; the net can do the legwork for you. There are travel price comparison sites that will search tirelessly for the best deals on flights, hotels, packages and insurance while you sup your coffee. One of my favourite money saving sites and top budget travel tips is Money Saving Expert which has a good section on travel as well as ideas like where to get the cheapest ice cream. Or check out one of the specialist budget travel bloggers that write in detail about issues like how to find the best deal, shave money off your bill, use vouchers, airmiles, loyalty and cash back schemes to stretch your budget to the max. Nomadic Matt and Budget Traveller both offer good advice.
Win a holiday
Why pay for it at all if someone else will? Holiday companies have realised that competitions are a good way of engaging people in their social media campaigns. There are loads of competitions around that invite you to send in photos of yourself in action, or record a video clip and post it on a facebook page. And the prizes can be substantial. On a rainy day it can be fun to record yourselves doing a family version of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ dressed as a Christmas pudding. Or is that just us?
Nature is free
Expensive ‘attractions’ can make a BIG hole in your holiday money. They’re often over in a few short hours and can be quickly forgotten or worse still remembered for the queuing and credit card bill. Focus your holiday around nature and you can slash the budget. We keep costs down on cycling holidays where we have no transport costs and a very small entertainment bill. You could walk part of an established route where your costs are limited to overnight hostel stays, picnics and plasters for blisters! Or switch from downhill to cross country skiing or snow shoeing; no lift pass needed, but still an amazing snow-filled experience.
Budget Travel Tip 4: Go somewhere cheap
It seems like common sense but if you’re a bit broke one of my budget travel tips is to avoid expensive European destinations like Paris, Dublin and London. You might get a better deal in Athens or Lisbon. Or try one of the up and coming European capitals of culture like Plovdiv. You’re not only helping them pay their debts back but you might get more value for your money. We had some great skiing experiences in Romania and Bulgaria that were something of a cultural education too! Countries that don’t use European currency can be cheaper; our money went a very long way in Latvia; even in the capital Riga. Or you might do the sums and find that even with your flight costs added in, an African or Asian country is kinder to your holiday budget overall.
Travel off season to save money
If you have young children and no school terms to adhere to, then obviously it is wiser to go out of season. This one o my budget travel tips doesn’t necessarily mean taking your children out of school in term time, but rather thinking out of the box. Venice is said to be at its most atmospheric just before carnival time in February. You’ll see the locals starting to costume up, but without the costs and crowds that populate Italy in August. We have always really enjoyed Spanish resorts like Puerto Banus in the winter months. It’s still warm, but quieter and more friendly. Or you might want to try getting a good deal in a ski resort in the summer. It always feels a bit weird without snow, but you can take your bike up in the lift and ride for miles, or go hiking. And some high level resorts with glaciers (are there any left?) offer summer skiing too. You might even fall in love with the place like I did with Flaine.
Drop down a star or two
This is one of our budget travel tips that has saved us a lot of money over the years. If you normally go five star then downgrade a star or three. If you usually stay in a hotel try self catering. If you normally do a cottage try hostelling or camping. It doesn’t have to be a stressful switch and you might find it fun; try Eurocamp or Ready Camp for a cheap family camping experience where you don’t even need to put up your own tent. To avoid expensive hotel bills in Iceland, we camped every night. Sometimes the campsite even had free washing machines and hot tubs. nother tip of ours is to stay somewhere downmarket and eat upmarket so you still feel you are getting some luxury.
Choose cheaper transport
If you can’t give up the five stars why not downgrade your transport. If you can’t be persuaded by the prospect of bike or boots then how about swapping flying for self drive, or even go by rail or coach? I got on a super Snow-coach at the ski show in Earls Court and could easily have fallen asleep in one of the reclining chairs and woken up in the Alps. (Sadly I didn’t). And in Iceland the kids were ecstatic to find the buses all had free wi-fi. (So no chance of them sleeping then.) All I’m saying is coach travel has changed.
Look out for new budget airline routes from an airport near you. (But do check first that there’s public transport at the other end to take you from that far flung airport into the city.) Or look for special offers on trains. The Man in Seat Sixty One may be able to help you with planning. Book ahead for the best deal.
Not sure about the driver, but the Snowcoach looked good enough to sleep on
Spread the cost of your holiday
Some holiday companies are helping cash strapped families spread the load of the summer holiday throughout the year. Some holiday companies have low deposit offers where you can pay for your holiday in several installments. If the price drops on their site, they say they will also refund the difference. Package holidays still offer some of the best value around. We enjoy the surprise me feature on the Teletext holiday app.
Take the package and ditch it
Some indie travellers can be snobbish about package holidays but they can save you a lot of holiday money; money you can use once you’re there to do your own thing. OK so the package might not go exactly where you want to go or have the kind of accommodation you prefer, but why not use it as the basis of your own indie adventure. Take the flights, overnight in the accommodation then rent a car, bike or canoe and disappear off for your own adventures. We found a two week package deal to Goa for less than the price of a flight to India, spent a week in Goa and a week touring Kerala indie style. But don’t forget to tell the reps what you’re up to or you could start an international missing persons alert. If you’re a long haul junkie then flights will be a big part of your budget and package operators can be a great source of cheap long haul flights. If you can’t get a cheap deal then maybe think about going less often for longer and ticking off a few more things on your bucket list. You know, why not turn that ten day week trip to Tahoe into a three week West Coast USA road trip? Or that 10 day safari in Africa into a month long eco-tour including a volunteering experience at a wildlife reserve?