You’ve saved super hard for your trip, probably sacrificed a few things and move a ton of stuff around in other areas of your life to get to this point. Hooray!
Maximising the cash you have can mean you travel longer or better, and with less stress.
In the past 3 years I’ve made every possible mistake, and I humbly pass this wisdom onto you so you can rock out straight up!
1. CHECKED LUGGAGE
I have a ton of posts and vids about this, but checking in a bag not only costs you money in booking, it costs you time in packing it, money in buying the things to fill it with, stress in wondering if it has, indeed, arrived, and then more time collecting it. Then you have the energy of dragging/hauling/lifting it through various environments and the waste that happens when you inevitably start shedding the excess weight the longer you travel.
It’s a simple recipe, choose the right carry on bag (light and roomy, but within dimensions), carefully consider the contents (see my posts here) and prioritise your experience over your outfits.
Tip: Checking in a bag on only one of your flights instead of two can be a compromise – if you’d like to buy gifts to bring home, buy a bag to check from your destination and only check luggage on the return flight.
2. STAYING IN STANDARD HOTELS
Here’s my best, ever, tip. Housesitting in your destination is not only available, more enjoyable because you are living like a local, but it is also FREE.
Rather than spending all that cash on your accommodation, you can spend it on the experiences you are having in that beautiful new place! I use 3 sites, trustedhousesitters.com, mindahome.com, and aussiehousesitters.com. These sites do have annual costs, however they are always less than even a single night in a standard hotel. Win!
TIP: Look for unusual options, staying aboard a yacht on the Amalfi coast with 3 friends that we found on AirBnB, for less than the cost of a dodgy hostel, was a totally memorable experience and $20 well spent!
3. DRIVING OR CABS
The first thing to do in any location (and even before you head off) is check out the public transport system in your destination and choose accommodation accordingly.
Hiring a car or hailing a cab can seem like an easier choice, but it is not always true. In London for example, it is often quicker to take the tube (train) through the underground than a cab through the traffic, and also a tiny percentage of the cost.
Almost every place I’ve visited on earth has a workable public transport system, all it requires is a little extra prep and thoughtfulness.
Tip: Check out the payment options for your location, many have discounts for online payments or smart cards (Trenitalia is one great example.)
4. NOT KEEPING AN EYE ON TRAVEL DEALS
Many people panic and book their travel way too far in advance. There is a common myth that booking early saves you money, and in my experience this is rarely the case!
Particularly with flights, the cost of booking 6 or 12 months in advance is often the stock-standard, discount free package kind and while it can give a little feeling of security because it’s off your to-do list, you can spend many hundreds more.
Have faith in your ability to book your own arrangements without the need for travel agents, who have affiliations with specific companies and systems. Looking for the best deal, and then heading to the direct site of an airline for example, can show you where your money is best spent.
Tip: Sign up for travel deal newsletters of your preferred booking site and like archers on the battlements watching the enemy (in this case, expensive travel costs) advance, hold out as long as you can before letting fly with your hard earned dollars!