Travel represents one of the finer delights in life and many people would rather be anywhere than at home! Whether you plan to head to one destination for a holiday and head straight back or plan to travel extensively throughout your time away, the one limiting factor tends to remain the same. Money, or the lack of it, can prevent you from doing everything you’d like to achieve while you’re away. There are plenty of tips here on the site and beyond for making a bit more cash here and there, so in this feature, we’re going to focus on making the budget you already have set aside go as fa as possible.
1. Know the Tricks of the Trade Before You Travel
You’re undoubtedly aware that reasonable prices come and go based on supply and demand. A hotel doesn’t employ fewer cleaning staff when a room stands empty, and an airline doesn’t spend anything significantly less on fuel when there are fewer people on the plane. That means it's in their interests to fill their capacity.
For the most part, that means arranging your travel accommodation either really early or really late. Costs are lower soon after accommodation and flights become available because companies like to know how much of the available capacity is likely to fill. Late on, they’ll practically give space away because anything they can get for it is better than nothing. Take advantage and get your timing right – if you’re not travelling for a while, get in early. If you find yourself checking at the peak of the prices, it might be best to wait until the last minute.
2. Compare Both Packages and Individual Components to Your Trip
Many people mistakenly believe that you’ll save money if you find the cheapest components to your journey rather than paying a premium for someone to package it together. However, this is not always the case, and that premium doesn’t always exist. Travel companies that offer these packages often benefit from economies of scale that do not apply to others in the industry, so take the time to work out what’s the best deal overall.
3. Consider if You’re Happy not to Travel Direct
Direct flights are undoubtedly the quickest way to get somewhere. However, they’re not always the cheapest. In much the same way as recent trends to split up train fares to reach a destination, you can do the same with flights. Rather than an inconvenience, it can potentially be an opportunity, as you might choose to spend longer than a typical layover in your split destination, adding another significant component to your holiday package.
4. Don’t Blindly Follow Comparison Sites
Comparison sites are a decent opportunity to get an idea of what to expect from pricing and dates. However, they are not always the best idea. Many companies strive to appear first in results on these trips and will cut back on what their package offers to get there. So, while one deal is cheaper on paper, ensure you understand what you get for your money before you commit over others on the list and from your own research.
5. Cut Back on Frills Yourself
Just because we warn readers about travel companies cutting back on frills doesn’t mean you can’t look to do the same. Just about every extra and luxury adds to the cost of travel, so think about what you do and don’t need. If there’s something you would like but that isn’t essential, consider how much further the money could go when you arrive at your destination rather than providing a small perk for the duration of your flight or a slightly better view from your room.
6. Keep a Close Eye on the Size and Weight of Your Luggage
One of the best ways to make your travel budget go further is to avoid nasty surprises. Ensure that you’re up to date on what you can take on the plane – operators are never shy about charging extra if and when you go over the limit. Crucially, check the size and weight not only before you head out but also on the way back. Souvenirs and gifts can soon add up, so ensure you have a plan in place if you do go over the top.
7. Try to Travel Overnight
This tip is particularly handy if you plan to travel a lot as part of your time away but also applies to regular holidays too. In the day, you’ll have better things to do, whereas at night, the chances are you’ll be asleep anyway. If you find it easy to sleep on planes, trains and ferries, then do your best to arrange overnight travel. This way, you spend the same amount of time as you would in the day, don’t mess with your sleep schedule and save the cost of a night in a hotel.
8. Master Cheap Food Shopping and Quick Prep
If you were to tally up the amount spent on food when you’re away, you’d probably be shocked by how much cash you get through. There’s nothing wrong with eating out when you’ve budgeted accordingly, but if you want to make your money go as far as possible, feed yourself with store-bought items as often as you can and learn what you can make and transport easily, regardless of facilities.
9. Adjust Your Accommodation Depending on Purpose
You might like to stay in the lap of luxury, and that makes sense when you’re in the same place for several nights. However, if you’re staying for one night or even only part of one, consider downgrading your accommodation expectations – the price will downgrade along with it.
10. Stay Well Stocked on the Basics
What constitutes the basics will vary from person to person, but if there’s something you can’t live without, stay stocked up. The last thing you need is to buy deodorant from the airport or a sandwich at a tourist attraction. Prices go up on demand, much as with flights and accommodation, so don’t forget your bargain-hunting skills when you happen upon a shop in the middle of nowhere.