I like to have great holidays. I don’t like to spend them worrying about money. Having said that, I don’t like to spend any more than I have to. And since I travel quite a lot, I’ve amassed quite a few tips over the years to save a little bit here and there while I’m on the road. I’m not talking about saving a few quid on flights – you can get cheap flights right here – but what about saving some coin once you’ve landed?
I love to walk, and it really is the easiest way to see a place. You catch the details that whizzing by in a taxi doesn’t allow you to do. It helps you get your bearings too, and an added bonus it that it is my number one cure for jet lag if you have it.
Cities that are too big to walk always have public transport options. Take them. They’ll be less expensive than tour providers and while you might have to do some thinking to make sure you end up on the boardwalk instead of a commercial port terminal, you’ll be chuffed with yourself that you managed to tackle the system.
Despite the charms of those terraces underneath the watchful eye of some statue or monument in the middle of town, these places are invariably overpriced. Always. And in my experience they’re often not that good! What a shame. What I always do is to just jump one block over, where you can usually find better restaurants, cheaper beer, and all-in-all a better experience.
Social media is great because you can find locals who can give you hot tips. Twitter is great for this because you can actually send a message to anybody without having to add them as a friend. Want to know which days the museums are free? Need to know how to get home when the train shuts down at midnight? Check it out on social media. If you don’t like Twitter, you can also hang out in Forums – Travellerspoint http://www.travellerspoint.com/ and Lonely Planet www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/ being two popular ones.
I see a lot of people dropping money on their trip for every little last thing. A great example was on a trip to Sydney; some backpackers I knew had spent money on these tours to the nearby Blue Mountains as well as a tour of Sydney itself. They didn’t have any money left to do the Harbour Bridge Walk, which is probably the coolest thing to do in Sydney (if not all of Australia). The thing is, they could have done a tour of the mountains on their own for the cost of a bus ticket, and the same for the Sydney tour. You can’t go up on the Bridge by yourself. So, stop spending money on wasteful stuff so you have it to spend on the can’t-do-without stuff.
I find some of my biggest expenses are the stuff I spend money on when I’m not looking. A classic case is bank fees – one of my cards charges me a % every time I make foreign transaction, so clearly this should only be used when cash isn’t an option. One of my debit cards charges me every time I withdraw, so I try to make larger withdraws instead of several smaller ones. The same goes for using the overpriced bottle of water in the hotel room – when they can be upwards of £5 for a bottle when it’s £1 in the newsagent across the street, can’t you spare a minute to pop out? Pay attention – similar to the above, if you have a limited budget, are you spending it on the wrong things?
Image credits: vinish
Posted : Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 at 11:06
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not criss-crossing the world to have his next travel adventures, he is spending time hanging out on his own website, Sharing Travel Experiences.