Travel on a budget: 5 Top Tips
Updated: Jan 17, 2019
People always ask how to I get to travel so much, so here are few tips that will hopefully allow you to travel more often, without breaking the bank.
I'm not rich. I don't have an enormous salary and I don't (yet) get paid to travel. So what are the secrets, you may ask?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Chinese Proverb
1. Travel Off-Peak
I know, you have been dreaming of soaking the sun on the beach in Barcelona or hopping those islands in Greece in summer time. However, is it really worth paying double the price (if not more) when you could go any other time of the year for less?
Need one more reason? Travelling Off-Peak is not only cheaper (I've recently been to Toulouse for £20 return, just before Christmas) but will also allow you to make the most out of places that would usually be crammed with tourists.
My suggestion would be to visit major cities in winter time (what's an extra layer when you can save money) and visit popular seaside destination in spring or late September, weather would still be warm and you should be able to showcase that bikini you have been longing to wear!
2. Technology is your friend!
Whether you like it or not, technology is part of our daily life so you might as well make the most of it right?
I usually monitor apps and websites like Hitlist, Google Flights, Kiwi.com and SkyScanner to find cheap deals and convenient flights. You can even set up alerts for destinations you would like to travel too so that you receive a notification when flights are at the cheapest you could buy them for! Handy right?
It takes time to compare all the websites, the different rates and dates but once you got your deal, you will forget about all of that!
Just think that I traveled from London to New York, NY to San Francisco and SF to London for only £300 and I booked less than a month in advance!
Pro tip: Flights are usually cheaper on Tuesday late night/ early morning Wednesday. You might loose couple of hours of sleep but again, anything for a bargain right?
3. Be a Genius!
A similar tip goes for accommodation.
I have a Genius status with Booking.com and that entitles me to incredible discounts and offers on hotel stays (sometimes up to 50%!) which allowed me to stay at very nice hotels for very little money but what if you don't have it?
Ask your friends and family if anyone is a Genius or if they have access to any sort of discount with Booking, Airbnb or Hostelworld. Keep also an eye on bloggers and travel influencers our there, they usually have affiliate codes and discount they offer to their followers [leaving mine below!].
Every little helps, right?
Pro-tip: To achieve the Genius status on Booking, you will have to make at least 5 bookings through the website in a 2 years window. Propose your colleagues to book their work trips through your account or encourage friends to do the same.
They can benefit of the discount once you have achieved the status and you will be a happier (and slightly wealthier) traveler!
Get 10% back from your trip with Booking here.
4. Ask for friends to join you!
Travelling solo is great (I had my fair share over the past couple of years!) but it can get expensive unless you are willing to share your life with other 5 strangers in an hostel room (which again, can be great if you want to meet people but is not for all).
Why don't you ask that colleague you usually spend your lunch with or that friend that you don't get to see that often to join you on your trip?
I find planning adventures with friends loads of fun and it definitely helps bringing the costs down if you decide to share a room or an apartment.
DISCLAIMER: when choosing your travel companion (or group) make sure you share the same ideas about travelling or, if you don't, that you are willing to have 'me-time' during your trip
5. Do your research!
You now have your flights and accommodation. What about making sure you make the most out of the city you visit without going overdraft?
I'm all for winging it when travelling but if you need to save, planning in advance is your best option.
Book in advance tickets for museum or famous sights you want to visit (they are usually at least 15% cheaper) or ask your hostel/hotel/Airbnb if they have any affiliate discounts.
Join travel communities on Facebook or Instagram and ask for advice on best LOCAL places where to eat. Local restaurants usually offer cheaper menus than those busy tourist traps on the main streets and will allow you to have a more authentic experience.
Research into best travelling options from and to the airport as well as to move around the city you picked. I tend to walk everywhere I can (my step count is usually around 40k when I'm out travelling) as I believe you get the best of a city and allows you to discover hidden corners but if that's not an option, looking into travel cards, weekly discounts and so on will definitely spare you some change.
Do you have any other tips to save money when travelling? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment or get in touch!