Have you been frantically saving your pennies into a travel fund with a dream destination in mind? If you want to spend your hard earned dollars on a holiday which makes your heart flutter with wanderlust, Topdeck ambassador and Polkadot Passport founder, Nicola Easterby has a few tricks up her sleeve to help you put your hard earned money towards seeing and doing, rather than budget booby traps like overpriced airfares, transport, accommodation and food.
“I have a few super simple tips to help you see the world on a budget without sacrificing the once-in-a-lifetime experiences which matter most,” Nicola said.
1. Get some cheap accommodation.
“Don’t shy away from hostels and three star hotels and motels - thanks to the dawn of flashpacking there are lots of budget friendly accommodation options available, which are quite up upmarket. Staying in hostels is not only a great way to save money, it is also a great way to meet new people, which is handy if you’re a solo traveller. If you are an inexperienced traveller I recommend talking to an expert or jumping on a guided trip with the likes of Topdeck; that way there are no nasty surprises, between booking and checking in,” Nicola said.
2. Pack a picnic.
“It’s so easy to get to a new city and eat out for every single meal, it's convenient and it seems like a great way to experience the local cuisine. It’s also the biggest killer of funds! Go out and experience the local cuisine for dinner here or there, but when you are out and about, why not save a few dollars and go on a picnic? Head to the local bakery or supermarket and pick up some supplies in the morning. Bread, cheese, maybe some cold meat, salad and of course some wine! There is no better way to blend in with the locals and indulge in your surroundings than eating tasty food on a nice patch of grass,” Nicola said.
3. Save on your phone bill.
“Every dollar counts when travelling, so why not stop paying your bills! Well at least the ones you can get away with anyway. For example most phone companies will let you suspend paying off your plan for up to three months, so you don’t have to pay for calls you aren’t making. I also recommend turning off mobile data to avoid a nasty phone bill waiting for you when you get home,” Nicola said.
4. Play your best card.
“Weigh up the pros and cons of using a Travel Money card, verses using your regular credit or debit card. A travel card uses pre-loaded funds in the local currency at a set exchange rate (look for a card with no international ATM fees), but unspent money is stuck on the card at the end of your trip. A debit or credit card will convert money based on the current exchange rate and can incur pesky ATM fees which can really add up, meaning you have to take out large quantities at a time,” Nicola said.
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5. Land a cheap flight.
“There are a few ways to avoid paying too much for your flight - there are obvious ways like signing up for flight alerts and deals, booking far in advance of your trip and flying in the wee hours of the morning. There are also a few sneaky way to make sure you get a great deal. For example you can fly on the ‘cheap days’ which are typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays, you can take advantage of connecting flights or you can get really savvy when using flight search engines. I strongly suggest clearing your internet history and cookies when using flight search engines,” Nicola said.