Who doesn’t love fantasising about a holiday? They never seem to come around quickly enough – and if it’s an active holiday with lots of sightseeing it can feel as though you need a rest again as soon as you get home. We’ve got some advice on how to get the most from your time away.
Whether you’re holidaying at home or travelling overseas, the cost of travel and accommodation can soon mount up. Overseas package deals have brought the world a lot closer to our shores – in some cases it can be cheaper than staying in Australia! A holiday anywhere soon puts a dent in the budget, so it’s important you look at ways to minimise your travel costs. Here are some ideas for getting bang for your buck, and avoid paying off the credit card for the rest of the year:
- Book It Yourself. Travel agents promote themselves as being a source of advice, and offering a low-cost service, however they have a vested interest in promoting certain packages from suppliers who pay them commissions. If you’re planning a simple trip, you’ll often find their advertised airfares are similar or greater that those on the airline’s website. There are many websites such as Skyscanner and Kayak that allow you to search airline deals, and hotel aggregation sites like Trivago and Hotels Combined that can scour the web for the most affordable accommodation and car rental deals.
- Look at Budget Airlines. A trend with airline tickets is to offer packages so travelers can save by opting in or out on different components. Our advice – have a good look at what the inclusion of food or entertainment does to the ticket price, and make a call on what’s necessary based on flight length, age of travelers and patience! Scoot currently offer a deal from Australia to Greece for under $800 return, considerably down on the $1200-$1500 of the major carriers. For a family of four this can soon add up. Alternatively look at ways to accumulate air points for your current spending, and use the points to pay for part of your travel.
- Consider Carry-On Luggage. Another piece of advice is to look at whether you need to check luggage. If you’re on a short trip or staying in a warmer climate, it’s likely you can get away with the 7-10kg carry on limit for most airlines. How often have you worn everything you’ve packed in your suitcase?
- Pick the Off Season. Christmas, Easter and school holidays can be killers for your travel budget. Likewise travelling during high season (summer for Europe, winter for ski resorts) will be the most expensive time to travel, and you will pay a premium. Consider booking in fringe periods when you can still enjoy the best your destination has to offer but without the high season rates.
- Book Ahead. If you’re organised and you know where you want to go and when, book ahead. Flights and accommodation get more expensive the closer to the date of travel, presumably because their prices are based on supply and demand. You will have to pay upfront for flights, but with a number of accommodation booking sites you can book a package and cancel it up to 48 hours before the booking with no financial consequences. This means you can reserve what seems like a great deal, then continue to shop around closer to the date.
- Opt For Breakfast. A number of hotels offer packages which include breakfast. This can be a really good way to save money – fill up on breakfast, grab a small snack for lunch when out and about, then find a cheap place for dinner (or self-cater if the accommodation allows). Mentally it’s a good way to treat yourself – endless cups of coffee, juice, fruit, pastries, bottled water – and you might be able to take some things away with you. Check out visitor reviews for insights into where the breakfasts are great, and weigh the pros and cons.
- Consider alternative accommodation options. The sharing economy has transformed the hotel industry. Chains like Hyatt and Marriott must now compete with Ma and Pa operators renting out their house. House swapping and house sitting give you the chance to settle into areas for a period and ‘live like a local’ for little or no cost.
Air BNB has made for a vast selection of affordable properties throughout the world that can cater for your individual requirements. In most cases these options are considerably more affordable than the normal hotel service, and generally will include a kitchen – a guaranteed way to keep your costs down by not eating out. Who needs their bed turned down every night anyway?
Holidays are fun – follow our advice and you’ll find they needn’t be expensive. A little careful planning can go a long way to reduce your costs and leaving you more money for your next big adventure.
If you’re trying to save for something big, you don’t need to do it alone. A financial adviser (or planner) spends their days identifying and presenting opportunities to their clients. Our simple, quick, free service will connect you to the best independent financial advisers, based on your needs. Click here to get started.
The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal situation or circumstances. You should consider whether the information contained in this article is suitable to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser or other finance professional.