Maximize Your Travel Budget

Thinking of going on an expensive getaway this year? At first glance it may seem too costly but there’s a good chance it may not be as unfeasible as you had initially thought. Listed below are some tips and tricks I have picked up throughout my travels to hopefully help you save up that little extra bit of money you need for your future trip.

1. Leave one night early, cut out one night of rental costs

When traveling on a budget one very easy way to cut down on extra expenses is to leave the night before you were originally planning to depart for home. Doing this will effectively cut out one night’s worth of hotel costs and if you set up a red-eye flight you can still get a whole day worth of activities in before you have to head home. Booking flights during the traveling off-season can also net you some serious savings if you wait for the right opportunities too.

2. Cut back on unnecessary meals

Another tip I recommend is that, if possible, you should agree to cut back or cut out one meal per day. If you can’t do that then come prepared to make yourself a meal instead. Subtracting or substituting a nice lunch every day over a one week trip will add up to be a rather substantial amount of money saved.

3. Investigate alternatives to regular hotels

If you are really looking to travel on a dime lay out a budgeting plan in advance. What I mean by that is before you arrive make an effort to do some research on minimizing costs. Instead of a hotel maybe consider a hostel or a couch surfing website. You typically get a better cultural experience going through a housing alternative anyways.

4. Drink alcohol at home not at a bar

For those who plan on drinking a lot of alcohol and don’t mind doing it at home instead of at a bar you won’t regret that decision as your average drink at a bar can typically run you anywhere from $5 to $15 or even $20 whereas you can get a lot more for your money simply buying it from a store instead.

5. Scrutinize hotels and try to find the best overall deal

With hotels and tourist venues always looking to remain filled be on the lookout for coupons and other deals when it comes to anything from flights to hotels to sightseeing. One trip may appear cheaper than another but with the right deals the more expensive option may actually cost less once you factor in the savings too. Going with that train of thought it never hurts to scrutinize hotels in order to find the best deal for you. If you are the kind of person who is fine with a 1 star hotel then don’t bother compromising with a 3 or 4 star where you will end up having to pay more for things that don’t really matter to you.

6. Find connecting flights

If possible try to find cheap connecting flights in the country or countries you are visiting instead of using the train. Under certain circumstances it will not only save you time but it can also save you money depending on where you are looking to go.

7. Consider renting a car if it turns out to be cheaper

Try substituting a car rental instead of taking lots of taxi rides. For obvious reasons it will definitely be cheaper. Also when vacationing try to maximize your efficiency by visiting places in the same area at the same time. Additionally, budget out your rental car for only as long as you absolutely need it because otherwise it can burn a hole in your pocket pretty quick. One thing I recommend is segmenting off a part of the trip to only seeing things that are necessary with a car and then returning the vehicle after you are finished.

8. Travel with others

Always travel with companions. Not only is it safer but it is cheaper too. Being able to split the costs with someone else will make your budget drastically more manageable. Cramming a few extra people into a hotel room may not necessarily be fun but it is most certainly one of the best ways to cut down on costs.

9. Don’t load up on luggage

Be extra efficient when packing luggage. Having to carry around excess luggage bags is not only a nuisance but it is also costly depending on which airline you are flying. For shorter trips try cramming everything you can into one carry on. It takes some skill and practice but once you get the hang of things it will make airports transitions much less stressful too.

Apps for the Adventurous Traveller

When it comes to travelling, the world truly is our oyster. But technology really can open it up even further. Research has shown that using a smartphone and the apps available to the adventurous traveller can make planning, booking and exploring the world more informative, exciting and in many ways, a lot easier.

Apps have been created for a wide range of purposes, and this shortlist helps us to find just a few that may make travelling a better experience for you.

Hotels, hostels, guest houses and more

Whatever your budget, you’ll be wanting to find somewhere to stay. Rather than taking a gamble, many would agree that having access to a review site is a wise way of finding accommodation that has been previously rated well by other travellers. Two such apps include Orbitz and TripAdvisor, which offers lots of photos that have been uploaded by people, rather than those stock photos we often find on the advertiser’s website. This gives us a true representation of the hotel and the app makes it quick and easy to search different accommodations seamlessly.

Camping more your thing?

When it comes to camping, a decent campsite is about more than just good toilets. You’ll want to be close to local anemities, as well as knowing the campsite is safe, of course. iCampsite is one app to help you locate a campsite from over 9000 acorss the UK and Europe. You can filter results to suit your exact preferences and locate campsites using GPS coordinates.

Too much to read?

When you’re on the go, booking tickets for accommodation and travel can be a minefield. So much to book, so many bits of paperwork, and too many terms and conditions to read! This can lead any traveller to a disorganised state. So, to make it easier for you, download an app to help. TripIt and TripCase are two such apps, which automatically collate the most essential travel information from your confirmation emails, so that you are presented with an easy to understand, chronological itinerary.

Last minute changes

Any traveller who wants to truly feel free will want to be able to make quick, last minute plans or changes so that they can take advantage of whatever it is they have found interest in. Befriended a group of like-minded people and want to spend an extra night with them? Realised there is a festival on and don’t want to miss it? You don’t always have to turn away from these opportunities; after all, that’s what travelling is all about. So, download a few apps on your smartphone that can help you to live the trip you want. HotelTonight and Roomer allow you to find inexpensive accommodation alternatives quickly. Gogobot is another app you won’t want to live without. It can help you find places to eat and sleep based on where you’re staying and your personal preferences.

Ever think the USA has a lack of roundabouts?

In the UK, roundabouts are the norm. Travelled too far in the car? That’s OK, simply turn around at the next roundabout. But, if you’re travelling in the USA, you’ll find a distinct lack of roundabouts and if you travel too far, it could be that you’re waiting 30 minutes until the next exit. Ah – cue the next app. iExit tells you the various services that are at different highway exits, so you can decide to turn off when you like. Roadtrippers is another suitable app for car travel. This app finds all the highly rated USA roadside attractions that are near your route.

How I hate not having signal

Well, any traveller is likely to go out of range of any 3G signal or wifi every now and again. This deems your smartphone useless, so get an app that works well offline. Maps.Me is a great example, as it keeps your maps offline. It’s also very accurate, even if you find yourself off the beaten path. Don’t waste your storage space downloading too many maps for offline use, though. It really can take up a lot of space on your phone – valuable storage space you’ll want to use on videos and photos of your travels!