Thrifty ways to save money on travel (& how to spend less while you’re away)

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“But travelling is expensive” is the usual response when thrifty people chose to push back another trip of a lifetime. However, just like shopping for bargain fashion finds, DIYing storage solutions or upcycling charity shop finds for a home office – there ARE ways to make travel accessible, cheaper and, most importantly, thrifty…


Usually, thrifty travel posts include solutions suitable for twenty-something-year-olds looking to jampack their gap year before uni. This usually means staying at hostels, living out of a backpack and eating street food. All those are great tips if that is the type of travel you’re after. But for me, travel would be a very different thing!

The key for thrifty travel and hacking the prices is deciding the type of trip you want and then knowing when the best times of the year are to book said trip. The rule of thumb is – book in advance, right? Well, not always. Chances are that booking your flights in advance is a sensible decision, but what if you’re looking to take a road trip?

For road-tripping, summer is the peak season, so most people make campervan hire arrangements during the winter time, ready for their summer break. As you can imagine, this is precisely when the prices go up so that the campervan hire companies can maximise profit! The secret is to book a campervan in the same season when you want to travel. You might have to be more flexible on dates, or the type of campervan that’s available, but you are guaranteed to get the best price for it!


Over and over we’re told to book round-trips as that’s the most cost-effective way. Well, that’s not always true. Sometimes it is far better to go with a ‘hack fare’ and book your return trip separately. If you are using air mileage points and have to use them with a specific airline make sure you also check their partner airlines. It’s not always that you’ll get the best price when staying loyal to one airline, and you could get a better deal elsewhere.


When travelling outside the EU roaming area, consider if you’ll be using your phone during that time. If calls home will be a regular thing, consider contacting your phone provider in advance and getting a travel package. This will save you copious amounts of money as these travel packages usually have a set daily charge rather than a charge per minute or per text. If you’re travelling for an extended time overseas forget about your phone provider altogether and opt for a local pay-as-you-go sim card instead.


When using your card abroad or taking cash out, if asked to choose, stick to the local currency rather than using the bank’s conversion. These rates always are in favour of the bank rather you! If you can use cash in the local currency, even better as you’ll be able to keep track of your spending more easily.


If you’re travelling with hand luggage only, or if there is a weight limit to your bags, bringing full-size toiletries is out of the question and buying specifically-made travel size items is an overpriced option. In the spirit of helping the planet and saving money why not purchase reusable travel size bottles and refill them with whatever toiletries you require for your particular trip.


If you’re planning to visit all the must-see locations at your destination, then buying a package deal ticket for multiple activities and sightseeing spots will save you money compare to buying tickets for each place separately. Don’t forget also to also consider all the free activities in whatever country you’re staying and take advantage of those too.


Restaurants, cafes and other dining or drinking establishments near popular attractions are there for the sole purpose of catering to tourists. While this might be convenient, these places are also overpriced and cashing in on holiday goers. For a more authentic dining experience, you’re always better off finding a place away from tourists and sourcing out, where locals would dine. This way you’ll also most likely save a lot of money and a fun too.

Have you recently saved money on your holiday or travel plans? I’d love to hear your own hacks too so please leave me a comment below with your tips 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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