Managing money on the road can be tough. But with a little extra preparation, you can travel the world like a financial pro. Here are seven money saving tips to make your next trip more affordable!
1. Make the most of airline miles
Few things will help you get around the world more affordably than a healthy collection (and savvy usage) of air miles. Air miles – accrued in a number of ways, as discussed below – act as a currency and can be used to upgrade cabins, reduce flight costs or even pay for a flight altogether. They’re invaluable and should be forefront in the plans of any world traveler.
2. Maximize credit card reward points
The best way to get those handy air miles? A credit card that rewards you with them every time you spend. American Express is famous for this, but there are a number of other cards that will reward you for spending with those valuable air miles. Just make sure to pay your card off in full each month to avoid that hefty APR! We recommend setting up a direct debit to ensure your balance is paid in full every month.
3. Using travel loyalty programs
Websites like Expedia and Booking.com reward customers for their business with access to exclusive deals, including hotel discounts, free breakfasts and room upgrades. It’s an easy way to save money and get rewarded. Likewise, signing up to loyalty schemes of the airlines you plan to fly with frequently can result in cheaper flights and other perks if you can gain status with them.
4. Pack light to save money on baggage
The airline trend towards ‘itemizing’ costs means that a significant saving can be made if you don’t have to check your baggage. You’d be amazed to realize how much this can save you over the course of a trip. You’d be equally amazed to know just how much you can fit in a ‘carry-on’ size bag. You’ll also save time not having to drop your bag off at check-in, or having to wait at baggage carousels, not to mention peace of mind with no fear of lost luggage…
5. Shop around and use discount codes
So you already know you should do your research, and not just book the first flight or hotel you see. But did you know that you should carry on shopping around even after your purchase? This is particularly true of free-cancellation hotels, where you can often cancel up to 24 hours before check-in. This gives savvy customers the opportunity to look for the best hotel options again closer to their trip, with the safety of already having something to fall back on, at a price they’re happy with.
6. There’s an app for that
Time is money, and money is money too. Having the right apps downloaded can help you save both while traveling. Did you know that Grab – Asia’s answer to Uber – has over 2 million drivers in Southeast Asia? Often cheaper, and even more efficient than taxis (you don’t have to give directions!), this can be a great help when you arrive in a new city with little idea of where to get where you need to be. Apps like Citymapper can also help you identify the cheapest and fastest ways of getting from A to B in major cities. Smartphone usage is increasing all the time among travellers – 67% of holidaymakers in Brazil report using them throughout their whole journey, for example. With so many apps out there to help you, the smartphone has become a truly powerful travel tool.
7. Embrace the street market and food scene – and haggle!
OK, this is as much a general travel tip as a money hack, but it helps anyway! In a lot of countries, the street market scene is a big part of shopping life. And often, these places *expect* you to negotiate the price down. Street markets can be great for food, too. The cheapest and (usually) best food is the local cuisine. If you can embrace your street Pad Thais in Bangkok, Ceviche in Lima and Katsu Curry in Kyoto you’ll be eating well (and saving money) in no time!