How to save for travel? It is not easy trying to put money away each week for your next vacation or that trip of a lifetime. I have been there and so have many more before us. How do you start? How much do I need to travel?
Everyone loves a bargain flight, accommodation or a cruise and money-saving tips when they are booking their travel.
But how can you save money for a trip?
This article covers top tips for saving up for your next holiday as well as saving $$ on your bookings.
(Editor Update 2021)
- 1 Our Top Tips on How To Save Money
- 2 How Can You Book Travel?
- 3 Cheap Flights
- 4 How do you compare airfares?
- 5 Accommodation:
- 6 Car Rentals
- 7 Money Cards
- 8 Eurail Pass – Train Travel around Europe
- 9 Bus Travel
- 10 Tripadvisor
- 11 Local Tours
- 12 Travel Insurance
- 13 Visas
- 14 To Travel Too E-Books
- 15 Our Dubrovnik Travel Guide
- 16 Our Mexico Travel Guide
- 17 Our To Travel Too Travel Shop
Our Top Tips on How To Save Money
- Set yourself a budget for your next trip
- Set yourself a daily budget for your daily spend, making sure that you can put away a little each day
- Don’t buy that coffee or latte, take your coffee with you to work. If a coffee costs $3 and you buy 2 a day say for 280 workdays = $1,280 the cost of an airfare
- Take a packed lunch instead of buying your lunch
- Buy prepackaged meals at the end of the day at your local supermarket when they reduce them
- Watch for specials on fruit and vegetables
- Do you need a new outfit? Instead of a new outfit just think of a nice dinner you could experience on your vacation.
- Review all your insurances. See if you can save more $$$ by using one insurance company for your car insurance and house contents insurance.
- Review all your utility bills. Can you combine your utility bills under one company to save $$$.
- Do you need that gym membership?
- Plan to put $1 away a day, when you know that you can achieve that easily double it to $2 a day. Open a bank account and plan to deposit your savings into it each week and watch it grow
- Sell your unwanted clothes, books etc
- Cancel your Netflix accounts and Spotify – put that money towards your holiday instead
- Look at your supermarket – can you shop cheaper at another such as Aldi or Lidl.
How Can You Book Travel?
There are several ways of booking your travel these days:
- through a travel agency
- through ‘cheap flights’ websites
- through websites such as Travelocity or Expedia
- or the many other travel sites that can be found on the internet
- or do you leave it to the last moment and hope you can grab one of the last minute flights?
- or should you book a flight and hotel package?
- or is there a specific day for the best flight deals?
It can all be quite confusing. Where do you start? Is this how your travel planning starts?
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We have now been travelling the world continuously since 2013 and we would like to share with you how we save $$$ on our travel. We believe we have the experience to assist as Jane has been in the travel industry since 1976 and has worked in Australia and in the UK in all aspects. We bring Jane’s many years of experience to assist you in making the most savings you can.
- Which travel sites do we use to source the cheapest airfare e.g Skyscanner
- Which airlines are our favourites for travelling
- Which hotel booking sites we use to source the cheapest accommodation
- Which Car Rental Companies that we use to compare the best deals and to book
- What Travel App we use for travel budgeting whilst on the road
- Eurail Passes
- Local Tours
- Travel Insurance
- how to obtain visas for travelling
- travel money
We always start our search with Google Flights for the latest deals on cheap tickets.
Google Flights – our starting point, great for month views to search the cheapest day to fly. With fares from major carriers such as United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Airlines, Qantas Airways, Singapore Airlines to budget carriers such as Spirit Airlines and Air Asia.
Airline tickets may look cheap at first look. Look closer at that airfare, is it such a bargain after all? Here are our top tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of your $ with that cheap airfare. Ask yourselves these questions:
- do you really want to spend more than 12 hours travelling when you can spend a little more and have a direct flight which is considerably shorter just to save $$$
- check out the stops along the way, how long is the wait at the airport
- the airfare may be cheap but by the time the budget airline adds on luggage fees, seat selection and meals you may be better off paying a little more and travelling with a full-service airline
- ensure that the connection times are reasonable if you are using two airlines to travel. You may need to collect your luggage before the 2nd flight commences. A reasonable connection time is anything over 3 hours, and nothing less.
- If you have to check your luggage in for a budget flight make sure you pay for that on booking. Leaving it for the airport will incur higher costs.
- always compare flights and airfare deals
- Are you a member of an airline’s frequent flyer programme?
Skyscanner – a great source for cheap airline tickets plus you can look at from your airport to everywhere:
Specific Airlines – it is also advisable to check the airline’s website that you are considering using and check their current airfares. Airlines run regular travel deals.
Dollar Flight Club
Dollar Flight Club is a membership-based club where you can get cheap flight alerts that can save you $500+ on your next international flight.
How do you compare airfares?
- Look at the return airfare first
- Compare prices on a one-way basis
- Look at airline-specific hubs
- Check several airports in the area you are travelling to leaving from
- Check out budget carriers such as Spirit Airlines in the USA and Air Asia throughout Asia. Ensure that you understand their baggage policy and what is included or not in the base airfare. Read the fine print carefully.
- Can you cancel the airfare? Can you change the date? Can you change the name of the traveller?
- Do they issue a credit note because of COVID? How long is it valid for?
Accommodation is the 2nd major travel expense after your flights. If you can save $$$ on the accommodation you can then put the savings towards activities or nice dining experiences. When you start researching your accommodation you will find that there are a lot of websites out there that all seem to be offering the same deal. Are you looking for last-minute hotel deals or can you plan further in advance?
What sort of accommodation are you looking for:
- luxury city accommodation
- luxury beach accommodation
- middle of the range 3 – 4 star properties
- budget hotels
Are you travelling with:
- your partner
- your family
- group of friends
If you are looking to save money would staying in an apartment be a better option where you can self cater. If you are travelling as a family this may be a better way to save $$$ on accommodation.
What do we do?
We mix it up. In South America we stay in hostels, because they are great value, we enjoy the camaraderie and we get the latest travel tips. What we don’t do is stay in dorms. We always book a private room with bathroom. Our very first hostel was amazing and other hostels that we book need to live up to our very first experience.
Check out Ventana Sur in Santiago Chile. It is so popular we could not reserve a room when we spent time in Santiago in 2018.
- Check a range of accommodation in the location you are travelling to. Ask yourself do you want to be in the centre so that it is easy to walk to all the sites or would you prefer to spend a little less on accommodation but use public transport and pay transport costs. We know what we prefer and that it is to be in the centre so that we can walk everywhere.
- Can you save money if you book in advance and have a non-refundable clause in the booking? We do that now, as we know we are visiting a location and definitely need that accommodation. If we have to cancel for health reasons or an emergency we always take out travel insurance that will cover the cancellation.
- Is breakfast included? Sometimes you will see a $ fee for breakfast if it is not included. We always find that if this is the case it is cheaper to buy breakfast outside.
- The hotel may offer airport shuttles. If you are considering this check the time of operation we have been caught out quite a few times when we have had early departures to the airport.
- Why not join a Hotel Chain rewards program and earn free nights.
- Avoid high season and travel in the shoulder season which usually coincides with Spring and Autumn.
- Follow the hotels on their social media channels and website and sign up for their deals. They either send their deals by email or post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- We found when booking accommodation in Dubai the prices kept on coming down the closer we got to the date. So we left it till the night before and got a 4-star hotel for the price of a 2 star. There is so much accommodation in Dubai that it was worth waiting till the last minute.
- Also check with Tripadvisor on the latest reviews and their prices as a comparison. e.g. check out Tripadvisor’s London page
Car rentals are also a major expense. It is also one that you need to look into carefully in relation to the fine print and insurances.
- Before you confirm that insurance option check that your travel insurance policy covers you or even your credit card that you are using to confirm the booking.
- We also compare the costs in the local currency of the country you are hiring in, it may just work out saving you more money.
- Look at the costs of hiring a car from the airport compared to picking it up in a city location. But, don’t forget to add in the costs of getting from the airport to that city location.
- If you can drive a manual car, they do tend to be cheaper to hire than an automatic.
- Don’t add extra costs like GPS – Google Maps on your phone will cost you a lot less as long as you pick up a SIM card at the airport before you leave.
- Look at the costs of fuel. It tends to be cheaper for you to refuel the car before you return it.
More Reading: Our Self Drive Ireland Road Itinerary
We use a Qantas Travel Card where we can load 10 global currencies. If you use the card as a credit card during your travels you can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points. If you withdraw cash from an ATM there will be fees involved.
Watch out for the special deals. At the time of writing this the special deal for May – July was no ATM withdrawal fees. They also have special deals for loading foreign currency to the card where they offer double points for doing so.
We also carry a Cash Passport Money Card. Same deal as the Qantas Travel Card but you do not earn points.
We also carry 2 credit cards as back up and also carry around USD100 in cash for emergencies.
If you are from the USA Charles Schwab has a no ATM fee card. If you are charged an ATM fee whilst abroad they will refund it for you.
Eurail Pass – Train Travel around Europe
You may want to consider purchasing a Eurail Pass for your travels around Europe.
If you are travelling in Italy check out the regional train fares.
These fares are available on regional trains, that are slower and make more stops. The savings are considerable but you do have to have your ticket validated on the day or the fine may well exceed your savings.
Bus travel is a cost-effective alternative to train travel. We have travelled comfortably and cheaply throughout Turkey, Spain, France, Croatia, South America, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos by bus and have had many enjoyable experiences.
We use 12goAsia throughout South East Asia. We save money by booking in advance.
We use Busbud Bus booking system for bus tickets throughout Europe, South America and America click here for schedules and ticket prices.
We use Tripadvisor daily to check out reviews on hotels, find the best restaurants as well as reviews on tours – it is our go-to resource.
If you want to check out the best restaurants in a city you are visiting we always use Tripadvisor e.g.
for the top restaurants in Sydney click our link below:
For example, if you are checking for the best value hotels in London: Click here
Get Your Guide
We are very happy using Get Your Guide in activities in cities that we visit. We love their ‘best price guarantee’ which means if we find the same activity by the same local tour operator in the same currency for less they will refund the difference. Currently, they offer over 35,000 activities in over 7,600 locations.
Click here for more details.
Some examples of tours in Paris:
The best time to arrange your travel insurance is once you start paying deposits on accommodation, cruises, tours or purchasing your flights. You are covered for cancellation from that date. It is not advisable to leave it till the day before you travel.
If you are based in Australia click here for travel insurance deals.
If you are based outside of Australia click below for travel insurance deals.
Some countries require you to apply for a visa before travelling. We are using ivisa to assist us.
Have a safe trip!
To Travel Too E-Books
We have been travelling the world since 2013 and have created our Mini Travel E-Books. Check them out.
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We hope you have enjoyed our top tips on how to save for travel. If you have other tips we would love to hear from you. Drop a comment to share with others.