Hands up who doesn’t want to save money while travelling? Even if you love luxury travel and aren’t keen on cutting corners, money saving travel tips can certainly leave you with more cash in your pocket. Perfect for splashing on a spa day or at a fine dining restaurant – or simply for saving up. What’s not to love about that?
Here at Pocket Wanderings it’s all about luxury travel and having adventures, and you really can experience all of that without skimping. A few clever moves later and you could be booking into that bucket list hotel, or taking an extra short break each year, using the savvy savings you’ve made.
So read on to discover the ultimate list of ways to save money while travelling. Without feeling the pinch. The options detailed here include cash saving payment cards, eating smart, snapping up off-peak tickets, asking a local and even nabbing free accommodation for a week or more.
Simple ways to save money while travelling
1. Take a wonky weekend
Travelling off-peak is likely to be a concept you’re already familiar with, especially if you travel by train. Purchasing off-peak tickets for planes, trains and buses is one of the easiest international travel money tips.
While peak times may vary depending where in the world you are, making your move during busy weekday ‘rush hour’ periods and weekends tends to be more expensive.
If you’re taking a short break, booking what’s known in the trade as a ‘wonky weekend’ can work wonders. This means travelling on Saturday and returning on Monday rather than from Friday to Sunday.
If you can travel midweek, even more substantial savings can often be made. As any seasoned travel agent will tell you, this is one of the hottest tips to save money while travelling.
2. Do your homework
Advance purchase fares also offer big savings, and planning ahead means you can swoop whenever prices are at their lowest. Huge reductions can be yours, particularly if you can commit to a non-changeable, non-refundable airfare or train ticket.
Where accommodation is concerned, there are also sizable discounts to be had. To grab these you need to look more closely at your destination.
For example, some plush hotels in places like London’s financial district, for instance, can actually be cheaper to stay in at weekends, as their target market is business travellers who stay Sunday to Thursday. While cities with universities often offer cheap accommodation during college holiday periods.
3. Make the most of free activities
While it’s far from true that all the best things in life cost nothing, there are usually plenty of free things to do, even in the world’s priciest cities.
Take London, for instance. Look at all those parks, perfect for picnicking on a summer’s day. You’re free to wander around town admiring the architecture or composing arty shots wherever you go. Plus, many of the planet’s most absorbing galleries and museums charge nothing for admission.
Whether it’s a city library or the latest exhibition, you can while away many hours without forking out a penny.
4. Take travel tips from the locals
Local people can often point you in the direction of travel experiences away from the main tourist traps. This means saving money on pricey tourist attractions, while enjoying an authentic, enjoyable experience that many may miss out on.
Why not ask at your hotel or get chatting to the staff at the nearby shop or neighbourhood cafe about what they’d recommend?
The worst case scenario is that they’re not too keen on sharing their secrets with a stranger, in which instance you could simply thank them and walk away.
5. Clock up your step count
Walking rather than taking a taxi – or even public transport – can save you a considerable sum. It’s good for your body and mind, and you’ll no doubt see things you would otherwise have missed.
This is, of course, on the basis that you feel comfortable walking. If you’re travelling solo then you may feel safer taking a form of public transport. Never put saving money ahead of your safety or peace of mind.
6. Eat like a local
Visiting a local cafe or restaurant gives you that authentic, off the beaten tourist trap experience. Don’t be daunted by an eatery with no menu in English – miming and pointing can go a long way! Even if that means picking something tasty-looking that another diner is eating.
Again, ask a local, or simply follow your nose and wander around to see what you can stumble upon. Little lanes and tucked away side streets often yield the richest – yet most affordable – pickings.
You may also pick up bargains at the local supermarket for self-catering or picnics.
7. Fill up with free water
Bringing a refillable water bottle can save you a small fortune, especially in hotter countries where you need to take in a lot of fluids.
Many attractions and outdoor spaces now offer visitors the chance to fill water bottles for free, which is far cheaper than buying bottled water.
It’s also kinder to the environment, making this an eco-conscious choice as well as a pocket-friendly one. When it comes to how to save money when travelling abroad, sometimes the simplest ideas can be the best.
8. Download a digital payment card
Using a digital wallet can streamline your spending, but that’s not all. A user-friendly app can also save on currency conversion and cash withdrawal fees.
My favourite is Curve – it’s a cheap, secure and clear system, and users are rewarded with cashback too. First time users also get £5 cash to spend.
If that’s not enough, the card comes with 1% cashback on every purchase made using it for the first 30 days. Phone and travel insurance are also included with the Curve premium options, and you can even allocate past payments to a different card when you want to. Members also enjoy access to exclusive discounts with big name brands.
Curvers also benefit from the card’s innovative ‘anti-embarrassment’ mode. Once you’ve set a backup card with funds available, this will automatically kick in in the event of your chosen payment method being rejected.
This is great for saving face when you’ve just enjoyed dinner with a new-found bunch of travelling companions and your credit card fails to make the grade!
9. Cover all eventualities
While travel insurance might not seem like something that can cut costs, it really is an essential. If you do need to claim for lost baggage, theft or medical care, having adequate cover can save you a considerable fortune.
Curve Metal members under 70 are covered by the travel insurance that comes with the card. This is provided by AXA, one of the biggest names around, and applies to any trip of under 90 days’ duration.
It includes gadget and phone cover too – and this applies at home as well as worldwide. As someone who has been robbed on more than one occasion while travelling, I’m all too familiar with the importance of good insurance cover. Collision Damage Waiver for hire cars is also thrown in, as long as the driver is over 21.
10. Take on a home from home
While most of us have heard of house-sitting for free accommodation, is this really a thing? Indeed it is – although there are of course some caveats. The main one being that a love of animals is more-or-less a necessity.
You’ll have the pick of the properties if you’re prepared to feed Fido or make a fuss of an ageing tabby cat. It’s best to stick with reputable sites like Trusted Housesitters, who can be relied upon to provide real opportunities all over the place.
You do need to purchase an annual plan with them, but in return you get unlimited house sits across the world. They also include accident and third party liability cover with standard and premium packages, as well as extras like access to live veterinary advice while house sitting.
At the time of writing, opportunities within the UK alone include a character cottage in Sussex with two dogs, a feline companion gig in upmarket Henley-on-Thames and a canine pal required in Islington. It’s a great way to see the world without flashing much cash, as all you need to pay for is your membership and travel.
11. Go on a working holiday
Working while you travel is a classic way to pay your way as you go. This allows younger people in particular to spend time overseas, while earning cash to fund their living expenses – and that all-important next trip. It’s one of those travel hacks to save money favoured by gap year travellers the world over.
This sort of working holiday can be booked via various specialist agencies like BUNAC, or can be arranged independently. UK citizens, for example, can obtain one year working holiday visas for Australia and New Zealand, or spend up to two years in Canada.
Young people can also work in Japan or Germany, or spend a summer at a country club in the US. With childcare experience, au pair jobs in the US are also a possibility. With a TEFL English language teaching qualification, the world can be your oyster.
All over the globe there are opportunities to work as a volunteer. This may mean working on an unpaid basis, or you might earn a small amount of money to live on. In the UK, for example, Volunteering Matters offer full-time roles for under 35s, providing accommodation plus a small weekly living allowance.
Working holidays provide the opportunity to learn new skills while living like a local, and can at the very least provide memories that will last a lifetime.
Do you have any other money saving tips while travelling? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on social media.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Curve. Join 2+ million people using Curve and earn £5 to spend with your Curve card. This post contains affiliate links.