Are you one of the many travelsavers who are always wanting to know how to save $$$ when you travel?
Everyone loves a bargain flight, accommodation or a cruise and money saving tips
There are several ways of booking your travel these days:
- through a travel agency
- through ‘cheap flights’ websites
- through websites such as Travelocity or Expedia
- or the many other travel sites that can be found on the internet
- or do you leave it to the last moment and hope you can grab one of the last minute flights?
- or should you book a flight and hotel package?
- or is there a specific day for the best flight deals?
It can all be quite confusing. Where do you start? Is this how your travel planning starts?
We have now been travelling the world continuously since 2013 and we would like to share with you how we save $$$ on our travel. We believe we have the experience to assist as Jane has been in the travel industry since 1976 and has worked in Australia and in the UK in all aspects. We bring Jane’s many years of experience to assist you in making the most savings you can.
- Which travel sites we use to source the cheapest airfare
- Which airlines are our favourites for travelling
- Which hotel booking sites we use to the source the cheapest accommodation
- A special discount voucher for you when you book your first Airbnb property
- Which Car Rental Companies that we use to compare the best deals and to book
- What Travel App we use for travel budgeting whilst on the road
- Eurail Passes
- Local Tours
- Travel Insurance
- how to obtain visas for travelling
- travel money
There is so much information out there and so many airfare sites where do you start?
We always start our search with Google Flights for the latest deals on cheap tickets.
Google Flights – our starting point, great for month views to search the cheapest day to fly. With fares from major carriers such as United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Airlines, Qantas Airways, Singapore Airlines to budget carriers such as Spirit Airlines and Air Asia.
Airline tickets may look cheap at first look. Look closer at that airfare, is it such a bargain after all? Here are our top tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of your $ with that cheap airfare. Ask yourselves these questions:
- do you really want to spend more than 12 hours travelling when you can spend a little more and have a direct flight which is considerably shorter just to save $$$
- check out the stops along the way, how long is the wait at the airport
- the airfare may be cheap but by the time the budget airline adds on luggage fees, seat selection and meals you may be better off paying a little more and travelling with a full-service airline
- ensure that the connection times are reasonable if you are using two airlines to travel. You may need to collect your luggage before the 2nd flight commences. A reasonable connection time is anything over 3 hours, and nothing less.
- If you have to check your luggage in for a budget flight make sure you pay for that on booking. Leaving it for the airport will incur higher costs.
- always compare flights and airfare deals
- Are you a member of an airline’s frequent flyer programme?
Skyscanner – a great source for cheap airline tickets plus you can look at from your airport to everywhere:
If you are based in the USA or Canada click here
If you are based in the UK or Europe click here
If you are based in Australia, New Zealand or Asia click here
For the latest cheapest airline deals we also check out CheapOair. Click here for their latest deals.
Specific Airlines – it is also advisable to check the airline’s website that you are considering using and check their current airfares. Airlines run regular travel deals.
Dollar Flight Club
Dollar Flight Club is a membership-based club where you can get cheap flight alerts that can save you $500+ on your next international flight.
How do you compare airfares?
- Look at the return airfare first
- Compare prices on a one-way basis
- Look at airline specific hubs
- Check several airports in the area you are travelling to leaving from
- Check out budget carriers such as Spirit Airlines in the USA and Air Asia throughout Asia. Ensure that you understand their baggage policy and what is included or not in the base airfare. Read the fine print carefully.
- Can you cancel the airfare? Can you change the date? Can you change the name of the traveller?
Accommodation is the 2nd major travel expense after your flights. If you can save $$$ on the accommodation you can then put the savings towards activities or nice dining experiences. When you start researching your accommodation you will find that there are a lot of websites out there that all seem to be offering the same deal. Are you looking for last minute hotel deals or can you plan further in advance?
What sort of accommodation are you looking for:
- luxury city accommodation
- luxury beach accommodation
- middle of the range 3 – 4-star properties
- budget hotels
Are you travelling with:
- your partner
- your family
- group of friends
If you are looking to save money would staying in an apartment be a better option where you can self cater. If you are travelling as a family this may be a better way to save $$$ on accommodation.
What do we do? We mix it up. In South America we stay in hostels, because they are great value, we enjoy the camaraderie and we get the latest travel tips. What we don’t do is stay in dorms. We always book a private room with bathroom. Our very first hostel was amazing and other hostels that we book need to live up to our very first experience. Check out Ventana Sur in Santiago Chile. It is so popular we could not reserve a room when we spent time in Santiago in 2018.
- Check a range of accommodation in the location you are travelling to. Ask yourself do you want to be in the centre so that it is easy to walk to all the sites or would you prefer to spend a little less on accommodation but use public transport and pay transport costs. We know what we prefer and that it is to be in the centre so that we can walk everywhere.
- Can you save money if you book in advance and have a non-refundable clause in the booking? We do that now, as we know we are visiting a location and definitely need that accommodation. If we have to cancel for health reasons or an emergency we always take out travel insurance that will cover the cancellation.
- Is breakfast included? Sometimes you will see a $ fee for breakfast if it is not included. We always find that if this is the case it is cheaper to buy breakfast outside.
- The hotel may offer airport shuttles. If you are considering this check the time of operation we have been caught out quite a few times when we have had early departures to the airport.
- Why not join a Hotel Chain rewards program and earn free nights.
- Avoid high season and travel in the shoulder season which usually coincides with Spring and Autumn.
- Follow the hotels on their social media channels and website and sign up for their deals. They either send their deals by email or post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- We found when booking accommodation in Dubai the prices kept on coming down the closer we got to the date. So we left it till the night before and got a 4-star hotel for the price of a 2 star. There is so much accommodation in Dubai that it was worth waiting till the last minute.
- Also check with Tripadvisor on the latest reviews and their prices as a comparison. e.g. check out Tripadvisor’s London page
Hotels Combined is our ‘go to’ website. They source over 100 accommodation websites for the latest deals on all types of accommodation. The website is user-friendly, we love how it compares so many sites for us to make an informed decision.
You either love Airbnb or hate them. We have never had a bad experience yet and we have used Airbnb all over the world even in Cuba.
Our Special $$ off Voucher for your first booking with Airbnb
- Before you confirm that insurance option check that your travel insurance policy covers you or even your credit card that you are using to confirm the booking.
- We also compare the costs in the local currency of the country you are hiring in, it may just work out saving you more money.
- Look at the costs of hiring a car from the airport compared to picking it up in a city location. But, don’t forget to add in the costs of getting from the airport to that city location.
- If you can drive a manual car, they do tend to be cheaper to hire than an automatic.
- Don’t add extra costs like GPS – Google Maps on your phone will cost you a lot less as long as you pick up a SIM card at the airport before you leave.
- Look at the costs of fuel. It tends to be cheaper for you to refuel the car before you return it.
- AutoEurope.com – we always compare 2 car rental companies quotes
- Rentalcars.com – look at different currencies and using an off-airport location for cheaper prices
Travel App for Travel Budget
We set a daily budget for travel. It can be quite complicated jumping from one country to the next keeping track of our expenses. Trail Wallet which was designed by a leading travel blogger has saved us a lot of time and energy. Each year we just load up our daily budget, the currencies of the countries we are travelling to, the categories and off we go. My phone does not ever leave my side so as soon as we spend something we enter the costs in. Trail Wallet gives us a daily running total and can even break down our costs into pretty graphs.
We use a Qantas Travel Card where we can load 10 global currencies. If you use the card as a credit card during your travels you can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points. If you withdraw cash from an ATM there will be fees involved.
Watch out for the special deals. They also have special deals for loading foreign currency to the card where they offer double points for doing so.
We also carry a Cash Passport Money Card. Same deal as the Qantas Travel Card but you do not earn points.
We also carry 2 credit cards as back up and also carry around USD100 in cash for emergencies.
If you are from the USA Charles Schwab has a no ATM fee card. If you are charged an ATM fee whilst abroad they will refund it for you.
Eurail Pass – Train Travel around Europe
You may want to consider purchasing a Eurail Pass for your travels around Europe.
If you are travelling in Italy check out the regional train fares.
These fares are available on regional trains, that are slower and make more stops. The savings are considerable but you do have to have your ticket validated on the day or the fine may well exceed your savings.
Bus travel is a cost-effective alternative to train travel. We have travelled comfortably and cheaply throughout Turkey, Spain, France, Croatia, South America, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos by bus and have had many enjoyable experiences.
We use Tripadvisor daily to check out reviews on hotels, find the best restaurants as well as reviews on tours – it is our go-to resource.
If you want to check out the best restaurants in a city you are visiting we always use Tripadvisor e.g.
for the top restaurants in Sydney click our link.
We use two “local tour operators” to allow for worldwide coverage.
Get Your Guide
We are very happy using Get Your Guide in activities in cities that we visit. We love their ‘best price guarantee’ which means if we find the same activity by the same local tour operator in the same currency for less they will refund the difference. Currently, they offer over 35,000 activities in over 7,600 locations.
Click here for more details.
Some examples of tours in Paris:
The best time to arrange your travel insurance is once you start paying deposits on accommodation, cruises, tours or purchasing your flights. You are covered for cancellation from that date. It is not advisable to leave it till the day before you travel.
If you are based in Australia click here for travel insurance deals.
If you are based outside of Australia click here for travel insurance deals.
Some countries require you to apply for a visa before travelling. We are using ivisa to assist us.
To Travel Too E-Books
We have been travelling the world since 2013 and have created our Mini Travel E-Books. Check them out.
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