Is traveling your biggest passion? Getting bitten by the travel bug means endless amazing experiences, but it’s also a very expensive habit – potentially one of the most expensive for people who travel frequently. It really doesn’t need to be that way. You can save money in so many ways before you even reach your destination.
One of the things I regret is not having travelled to Europe when I was younger. I always thought it was too expensive and I couldn’t afford it. This mentality was driven by my own actions. I spent most of my money on unnecessary things, so I didn’t have any savings to put towards travel. I now have plenty of money put aside, thanks to my holiday fund. I’ve also learned how to save money on numerous things both while preparing for travel and while traveling.
I’ve always been a bargain hunter. I would spend days, weeks, sometimes months searching for the best deal. These are few tricks I use to save money when I book a holiday.
Use credit card points
I would only recommend this if you are confident in your financial discipline. As most of you already know, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way when it comes to credit cards. As of now, I’m a lot more disciplined than I was when I was younger. If I don’t have enough money to buy something with my allocated money, I simply don’t buy it.
Most credit cards in Australia offer huge signing bonuses. When you pick a credit card for the points just make sure you look at their conditions. Using points have changed the way I travel completely.
Travel during off season
Every tourist destination in the world has an off season. I always figured that it wasn’t worth traveling during off season, but this is far from reality. You can still do most of the things you want to do during this time. The only difference being you can save up to 60-70% on flights and accommodation. It’s well worth it.
Compare prices online before you book
I usually compare prices with few different websites before booking flights or accommodation. I’ve always used cheapflights.com for flight bookings and agoda.com or booking.com for deals when it comes to accommodation.
I have found some great deals through Roomer and Cancelon in the past. These are websites that sell cancelled accommodation at a bargain price.
Check prices in incognito mode
When you browse the internet, your browser collects cookies. Cookies are bits of data that websites can use to identify you.
This is the reason some websites show a price increase when you go back the next day to check the price again. I’m the kind of person who would search for months to get a better deal. It’s not that I’ve got nothing better to do. I simply love the feeling of saving money because I work hard for it.
So, when you log back into a site in incognito or private mode, travel websites struggle to keep track of exactly what you are after and they won’t know to bump up prices on things you’ve already viewed.
Contact the hotel/hostel before booking
You might think that it’s too much hassle to email the hotel and wait for a reply just to save few dollars. You’d be surprised to hear about some of the amazing deals I’ve received over the years. Some have even offered me free upgrades or a cheaper price than the travel agent’s offer.
What most people don’t realise is that hotels and hostels pay a certain amount of commission to these agents. These commissions can be as high as 20%. It makes a lot of sense to the business to provide these commission straight to the customers that come to them direct.
I usually have a template like the one below saved on my computer so that I can send it off to any hotels or hostels I’m considering booking with.
My name is Don. My partner and I are looking at booking your (Room Name) from (Date) to (Date) for (How many people).
I found a promotional price with (Website or the agent name) for (Price).
I was just wondering if there is a better price that you could offer to me if I book directly with you?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Of course, it always depends on the hotel but more often than not I’ve had a lot of luck getting a better deal this way. You’ve got nothing to lose – the worst they can do is say no.
Don’t say no to the free Breakfast
Who doesn’t like a free meal!?
You really don’t need to book a 5-star hotel to get a complimentary breakfast. Most hotels around the world provide this option when you book with them. This is a good way to narrow down your search results as well. Choose the accommodation options that provide free meals and you’ll save a huge amount.
Now, the quality of the breakfast may vary from hotel to hotel. Some hotels might provide a simple continental breakfast, some might provide an extravagant all you can eat international breakfast. When I’ve been to a buffet like this, I usually save money on lunch as well because I have always been too full after the huge breakfast.
Tip: Always read the reviews on the website because you’ll usually find customer reviews regarding the quality of the breakfast.
Purchase Travel Insurance
I know, I know, technically this is not a saving, it’s more of an upfront expense. But I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT TRAVEL OVERSEAS WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE.
Sure, you’ll save $100 or so if you don’t purchase it, however, you really can’t put a price on the financial protection or the peace of mind you get in case something goes wrong.I’ve heard so many horror stories where people have had to remortgage their homes to pay for hospital bills while they were overseas.
Most premium credit cards have built in travel insurance protections, but you should always read the fine print with the issuer without assuming that you are covered for everything.
If you don’t have a credit card with appropriate travel protection, you can always use any of the following options: