Sightseeing and Savings: 5 Tips for a Thrifty Holiday
By Ed Pitts
Want to get the most out of your holiday but budgetary concerns are hitting you hard? We've put together our top tips on where you can save on the road.
Whether you're quitting your job to eat, pray and love, planning a uni holiday on a student budget or just taking an extended break for the thrill of adventure, you need to make your money last. While there are many ways to save on travel, the biggest decision to make is how you fund it.
Use your host's local knowledge
It's common knowledge that hotels in America and Europe are expensive, and that's driven the success of game changers like Airbnb (which now sees more than 17 million guests a year). It also pays to choose a room rather than a whole apartment, which is cheaper and your host can help out with their local expertise.
If nothing on Airbnb strikes your fancy, ask friends if they know people in your planned destinations, because money saved on a couch is better spent elsewhere - a shout out on Facebook can go a long way.
Accounting for taste
Comparison is a beautiful thing. Dining out in Australia is generally expensive, so arriving in Asia, South America, Africa or even North America (if the exchange rate is decent), can feel like champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. But you can still do better.
In Asia, street food and avoiding Western food are your best bets. Above all, follow the locals, not other tourists. In America, keep an eye out for specials and buffets, while in Central and South America, it's all about the local markets.
Europe however requires forethought, with restuarants serving up serious culture shock. Supermarkets, markets and bakeries will save you a small fortune, with fresh bread and some meat or cheese giving you a taste of French life for just a few Euros.
Funding the fun
A credit card may be a choice for funding an overseas holiday, but not-so-obvious fees mean you could return home on the wrong foot. A personal loan could give you flexibility when it comes to the amount, terms and repayment options. It may also reduce your exposure in paying higher interest or international transaction fees, sometimes charged on a credit card.
Find the free
The beauty of travel is that a lot of the best things you'll do can be free. Many galleries, beaches, hikes and museums come without a price tag, but the real experience according to traveller Ed Wilmoth were the free walking tours held in many major cities across the globe.
“My hot tip is free walking tours, where you pay what you think it's worth at the end. I had four hours of outdoor history lessons in Berlin and Paris for the price of a pint.”
Grow your spending money
While $15 on lunch seems reasonable, it adds up to $450 every month. That's around $5,500 a year, or the price of more than three weeks in the average London hotel room*. Try buying and making lunches in bulk on a Sunday.
The proliferation of technology also means it's easier than ever to earn extra cash. Sell old clothes and other stuff online, or at a market stall. Got a special skill? Airtask it. Or turn petrol into profit with driving an Uber. For financial planner Damien, a shift on a weekend can go a long way.
"I work 9:00 to 5:00 in the corporate world but did a few extra Uber shifts prior to tavelling to help give myself some spending money."
"A couple of hundred dollars for a few hours on a weekend went a long way while I was on the road, and helped pay for some extra experiences that were 'nice to haves' in Europe, instead of just the must-sees."
Now all you need to do is pick the destination.
*Currency converted on xe.com on 31 October, 2016