Here Are Some Tips To Make That Travel Fund Stretch Further
You’ve saved every cent you could possibly earn, worked extra hours and double shifts, took our stellar advice, stopped drinking so many lattes and finally, finally reached the finish line. You’ve now got enough money to go on holiday.
But looking at that giant series of numbers in your bank account can be a little daunting; especially when you know they’re about to dramatically decrease. It took a long time to accumulate, dammit, so you gotta be savvy about how you spend it. So, how to make that cash stretch as far as we can?
Here are our tips for maximising your trip:
#1 Know when to book
Flight booking site Skyscanner Australia recently released their two year long study into travel booking trends, and uncovered some seriously helpful insights into the best times to buy flights.
According to their stats, you can save up to 10% if you book your flights and accommodation in the months of May and November. When you think about all the things you could do with that money on your actual trip, a 10% saving is huge.
The time to avoid? December. It’s by far the most expensive month. In fact, you’re looking at a 26% increase in the cost of flights just by booking in that month. No. Nope. May and November it is, thanks.
It’s also a good idea to book pretty far in advance. If you’re going somewhere like London, booking 25 weeks or earlier is the way to go. For domestic flights, 13 weeks will do.
#2 Don’t be precious about your accommodation
Yes, a bathrobe and luscious King size bed all to yourself would be so many levels of nice. But I’ll tell you what’s nicer? Another trip in the near future, that’s what’s nicer.
Staying in hostel dorms over hotels is definitely the smarter way to go, especially when you’re young and can get away with it. If you’re worried about staying in a 32 person dorm (something I have done and would never, ever recommend to anyone), then maybe take a look at boutique hostels instead. You’ll find they’re a little more expensive than others but are usually a lot more clean and comfortable. Most hostels also have private rooms you could look into. They’re cheaper than hotels and you still get your privacy. Or, of course, Airbnb is always a smart option.
Another great way to save money on accommodation is to not pay any at all. There are hospitality exchanges all around the world where you can stay on someone’s couch for nothing, as long as they get to stay on yours. Check out Couchsurfing, Global Freeloaders and Stay 4 Free to see if there are any hosts that will fit your destination. Of course, it’s always best to keep your wits about you in situations like these so we suggest giving this a read for some tips before you go.
#3 Have a ‘No souvenirs’ policy
Souvenirs are a scam. Well, okay, not a scam exactly. But think about what a money pit they can be if you’re committed to buying something from every destination? Or you’ve got relatives at home who are expecting a ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ shot glass when you’re back? I shudder at the thought.
Look at the things you’d like to buy with a lens of practicality on. Do you really need that fake university hoodie? Probably not. A unique handmade jewellery box, however, is something you absolutely can’t find anywhere else. Be discerning about the purchases that will be treasures in years to come, not trash. If you’re really set on keeping a souvenir from each place you go, maybe take pub coasters home? Or city maps? It’ll scratch that itch for collecting and they’d also be cute in a scrapbook.
As for buying souvenirs for everyone at home? That’s something you can only splash out on when you’re in a much steadier financial situation. Forget about it. They’ll understand.
Actually, buy your Mum a nice jar of jam. She’d really love that.
#4 Limit how often you eat out
You really don’t need to eat out every meal while you’re on a trip. You wouldn’t at home, so why would you overseas? Eat nut bars and fruit for breakfast and tuna sandwiches for lunch. Or whatever your cheap, protein filled food of choice is.
Of course, half of travelling is trying the local cuisine, but a sit down meal just isn’t necessary three times a day. Limiting a restaurant meal to once a day will easily save you so much cash and boy, will it be sweet when it rolls around.
Josephine is a writer from western Sydney who likes to blatantly lie on her bios. She played the youngest sister in 80s sitcom Family Ties and looks fantastic running with a backpack on.