Travel is back on the menu in 2022 as borders are open again. You can finally go on that vacation you have been longing for or had to postpone.
The only problem is that 2022 has also brought a financial squeeze for many of us.
So, can you reconcile your travel aspirations with a diminished budget?
The encouraging answer, according to many seasoned travelers, is, “Yes.” There are things you can do to save money, both before departure and while you are away!
Let’s look at these cost-saving travel hacks in detail.
#1. Be flexible when booking tickets
There are several things you can do to reduce the price of an air ticket. The key to getting the best deal is flexibility. This applies to the date, day, and time you fly, the number of stops, the route, and the length of layovers.
- If you are going on vacation, you are probably not tied to specific departure dates. Looking at a range of dates will give you more options to choose from and a wider range of prices.
- The day of the week and time of day can also impact the cost. More popular days such as Fridays, when people are going away for a weekend, or mornings, when business travelers are booking flights, are usually more expensive.
- Direct flights often come at a premium. If you are prepared to have a stop (or two) you
- save a lot. In the example below from com, the cheapest direct flight is $2,705.
However, searching with the same parameters but multiple stops, the cost drops to $1,117. That’s a staggering saving of $1,588 that you can use for other things!
- You can also potentially save money if you get creative with your route. Have a look at the maps and see what your options might be. Instead of seeing these as annoying delays in getting to your destination, view them as part of your adventure.
- Booking a flight that includes a long layover can also have advantages. You can use the time to explore the city the airport is in. Just make sure you have the right paperwork to leave the airport if you are still in transit.
Finally, it is invariably more cost-effective to book travel tickets online yourself. Using an agent might be more convenient, but fees and commissions are payable.
#2. Select the credit card you use with care
As with most things, not all credit cards are created equal. When it comes to the credit card you use for travel, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Pay for your travel tickets on a credit card that offers free travel insurance because travel insurance can be expensive. As with any insurance, it is important to check the ‘small print’ to ensure the cover is right for you.
- Take a credit card with you that does not have foreign transaction fees linked to it. These fees range from 1% to 3% of the value of the transaction and can add a lot of expense to your trip. Cards that do not charge these fees may also offer rewards in the form of points you can redeem for more travel.
You may find that it suits you and your lifestyle to have a credit card that is a dedicated travel card account and have another one for other things.
#3. Use local airlines for national/internal flights
It can pay off not to book all your flights before you leave. Once you are in the area you want to be, fly with local, budget airlines.
For instance, it does not matter if you have not heard of Thailand’s NokAir. They offer discounted flights, rewards, and convenience.
The same goes for other local airlines. Most of the time they offer attractive deals on flights and this can help you save some cash.
#4. Use a VPN or private browser tab
If you hide your IP address when you shop online for tickets you can save money. The best way to hide your location is with a VPN. Reputable options are sometimes country-specific, such as a UK VPN.
You might also notice that repeated searches from the same IP address affect prices. This will not happen if your address is hidden.
You could also change your country of origin but keep prices in your currency of choice as flight ticket prices may depend to a degree on the strength of your local currency.
#5. Do not change your currency at the airport
It can be tempting to go to a currency exchange desk at an airport. Avoid the temptation as what you gain in convenience you will lose in cash. These foreign currency exchange agents will give you the worst rates.
If you have the time, go to your bank before you leave and arrange the currency or a currency card. Alternatively, go to a bank or foreign exchange agent in the city or town you are in.
#6. Adapt your travel and accommodation style to fit the country you are in
If you have done some research, or are just observant, you will learn that different countries, regions, or cities differ greatly in terms of the way you can get around and the accommodation options they offer.
For example, in New Delhi, India, you can get a hotel room for a single person for around $6 a night. There is no way that is an option in Paris or London where even an Airbnb will cost you at least 3-5 times more. So, in bigger cities, you need to think about other means of budget accommodation such as hostels, backpackers, etc.
Public transport differs greatly too, so find out from the locals what is the most affordable way to get around.
#7. Make a long-term accommodation booking
Making a long-term accommodation booking on Airbnb rather than a short one can save you significant money as doing so often results in a large discount offered by the host.
For example, here’s a 25% discount for a monthly stay in an apartment in New York.