Taking a holiday abroad can obviously be an expensive trip, especially if you’re not taking any steps to budget or conserve funds. There are millions of ways to break the bank on an overseas vacation, but there are far fewer ways to be frugal. Plus, with so many temptations for entertainment and leisure surrounding you in most tourism destinations, any funds that you do allocate towards the trip can quickly burn a hole in your pocket and leave you with a restricted budget for the rest of your stay. With that said, here are 12 ways you can ensure your holiday budget lasts through the entire adventure and leaves you with plenty of headroom for generous spending:
1. Book Flights Direct Rather than via a Comparison Site
The first way you can make sure you’re not spending a lot on travel expenses before your holiday even starts is to book flights in advance directly with the airline using a platform like FlyPorter.com. Comparison sites don’t always list every available airline, and by booking well in advance, you’re guaranteed to obtain the cheapest possible fare for your trip. Porter Airlines offer extra legroom and free snacks and beverages as standard too, so you will be getting more for your money.
2. Shop at Farmers Markets
Food can be one of the biggest expenses during any overseas vacation because there’s always the temptation to eat at one of the many restaurants that are usually available in popular tourist destinations. However, most places also have decent farmers markets that are worth checking out. Not only will shopping for local produce give you healthier meal options and access to exotic produce that you probably won’t easily find back home, it also keeps you from blowing most of your budget on dining experiences.
3. Opt for Out-of-Town Accommodations
Choosing a hotel that’s located in the middle of a bustling metropolis is always going to be the most expensive route. Many times, you can find decent accommodations just outside of town for a fraction of the price. Plus, local transportation systems often service these satellite cities and towns as well, so it’s not like you’ll be missing out on anything. While you’ll have to endure slightly longer transit and commuting times, the significantly reduced cost is usually worth it.
4. Go Camping
If you really want to save money, opting for a campground would be the absolute cheapest option aside from pitching a sleeping bag on the shore of a beach somewhere. Many places will even have parks in the area that offer free or very cheap overnight camping rates. As an added benefit, taking this approach will put you closer to nature and provide for plenty of scenic photo opportunities.
5. Bring Snacks Everywhere
Try to bring a snack-loaded lunch bag or small cooler with you when you go on outings during your holiday. This will keep you from falling into the temptation of spending your money frivolously on convenience foods. Having a quick and cheap way to keep your appetite at bay can definitely be a huge money-saver when there are appealing restaurants all around you.
6. Look for Tourism Discounts and Cards
Many popular tourism destinations will offer tourist discount cards or passes that can be used to access most of the main attractions in the area for a flat-rate, all-inclusive fee. Some of these packages will also include bus/train fare and cover the cost of a meal or two at some of the area’s best restaurants. You can leverage these package deal discounts to save a significant amount on your overall trip costs.
7. Visit During the Offseason
Every place has an off-season when the weather simply isn’t ideal for tourism. While you may have to be more careful about planning your outings and checking the weather forecast during the off-season, you could cut your hospitality costs in half by doing so. Plus, you’ll find that attractions aren’t crowded and there’s plenty of privacy at the local beaches and parks.
8. Opt for Big Lunches and Ask for a Takeout Box
Most restaurants will charge more for dinner entrees, and while some will allow access to their full menu during all open hours, the vast majority will only serve the cheaper lunch entrees during lunch hours. If you’re really trying to be frugal, order a couple of lunch entrees and ask for a take out box so you can have a ready-made dinner waiting to be re-heated later in the evening. This is a particularly great option for soups and sandwiches because they don’t easily lose their flavour or appeal.
9. Stick to a Pre-Defined Budget
Setting a strict budget and sticking to it might not seem like a lot of fun, but you can still leave plenty of room for spontaneity if you heed the rest of the tips on this list. Running around and spending money without any budget whatsoever will put you at risk of exhausting your overall vacation funds prematurely. Try to create an itemised list of expected expenses and then assign a reasonable amount to each category to ensure you’ll have enough to do everything.
10. Utilise Credit
There’s really never a better time to utilise your credit than during a vacation. If you have credit cards, your holiday trip would be an ideal time to max out your limits for the sake of not dipping into your cash reserves. Of course, many credit cards will also provide points or flight miles, so that’s another reason to put them to good use while travelling.
11. Look for Humble Dining Establishments
Visiting the finest restaurants in the city might seem like a great idea, but there’s no reason to overpay for great food, as many places will have smaller mom-and-pop delis, bistros, markets, and eateries where you can get an authentic taste of the region without breaking the bank. You’ll also find that many of these places are more relaxed and have friendlier staff and patrons than the often rigid environments seen in fine dining establishments. As an added benefit, many of the smaller spots won’t subject you to the long waiting lines and hectic crowds that are typically seen in the area’s most famous restaurants.
12. Book a Room with a Refrigerator or Get a Cooler
Not having a place to store food that needs preparing is a sure-fire way to put yourself in a position to eat out around every corner. If you’re not careful, you could easily spend $50-$100 per day just to feed yourself. Over the course of a two-week holiday, that could add up to $700-$1400 spent on food alone. Having a refrigerator or cooler in your room will keep you well-fed the whole time while also letting you save leftovers when you do decide to splurge on expensive eats.
Saving is Easy When You Plan Ahead
Ultimately, the one thing that most of the money-saving methods listed above have in common is that they can be handled in advance and incorporated into an overall trip plan. Any step you can take before your holiday departure will be another concern that you won’t have to worry about during your stay. After all, you don’t want to be fretting about budgeting and conserving money when you’re supposed to be having a great time.
To read more on topics like this, check out the travel category.