Taking a well-deserved break on an island paradise or soaking up city sights can be a truly rewarding experience. Just don’t let the shock of your credit card bill undo all that relaxation. Here are a few tips to help you get the best trip for less.
Choosing where and when
If you’re travelling overseas for a wedding, or to spend Christmas with family, you don’t really have a choice about where and when you go. But having a bit of flexibility with your plans can save you a lot of money.
Avoid peak times – Some times of year are always going to be more expensive for flights and travel. Major holidays such as Christmas always attract peak fares, but some high seasons depend on where you’re travelling eg. Summer in Europe.
Consider the exchange rate – If you have total freedom to choose where to travel, consider how much bang for your buck you’ll get. A holiday in a country where you can get a hotel for $30 a night will require a much smaller budget than travelling somewhere you need at least $100 a night.
Plan a staycation – Think about what you want to get out of your holiday. If all you want is some time off work to walk on the beach and read a few books, you don’t need to go too far afield. Instead get a beach house and skip the airfare.
Find a house swap – If you own your own home, doing a house swap can be a great way to save on accommodation and live like a local.
Booking your travel
Online travel sites can offer great deals, but be wary of hidden charges when booking. Some airfare sites will charge a fee to lock in the price of your ticket, plus a fee for paying with a credit card. Take these fees into account to find out if you’re really getting the best deal.
If booking hotels or overseas transport online, be aware that your bank may charge you an international transaction fee.
They say if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel. And a little money now will save you a lot in the long run if your flights are cancelled or you have an accident while overseas.
If you are taking more than one trip in the next year, consider annual travel insurance. It can often be cheaper than the insurance for two separate trips. Last thing, make sure you compare your insurance, it is the best way to save
Extra costs to avoid
Excess baggage – Realising you need to fork out on extra baggage fees is not the most relaxing way to start a holiday. Invest in a luggage scale to make sure you’re underweight – and don’t forget to take it with you for the return journey.
International roaming – Using your phone for calls or online data overseas can be enormously expensive. To avoid bill shock, ask your phone provider about roaming options, or consider getting SIM when you land. Alternatively, switch your phone to wifi only and seek out those free hotspots.
Credit/debit card fees – Internationally accepted credit and debit cards might have made travel easier, but just be sure you are aware of any transaction fees your bank charges for using your cards overseas.