There are some people who get to spend a huge part of their lives seeing the world. This is perhaps the reason why so many people want to be flight attendants. You get to travel the world, and this is the attractive part of the job. People certainly don’t become flight attendants for the thrill of serving coffee at 39,000 feet. Most of us don’t get to see the world while being paid for it, and so travel becomes something that requires a fair amount of saving up. There’s also the option of paying for your globetrotting with a credit card and worrying about the money later! However you decide to do it, you need to strike a balance. You want to be able to afford a high level of travel enjoyment without sacrificing quality. Yeah, you can shell out thousands of extra dollars for a business class seat, but hey—you still get there at the same time when you travel in a cheaper seat. Having said that, there are a huge number of ways to save money while traveling without sacrificing quality. Let’s look at the 5 best ways to save cash while seeing the world.
How to Shop Around for Flights
The cheapest time to book a flight is 7 weeks before departure for a short-haul flight, and 18 weeks before a long-haul flight. There is some speculation about whether deleting cookies (temporary internet files) before booking a flight can reduce the price. It’s thought that some travel websites notice extensive price checking, and when it seems that a booking is imminent, the listed price will be slightly higher than it otherwise would be. It’s also suspected that you can be charged a higher price when using a more expensive device to browse, so using an old, cheap computer can display a slightly lower price than when booking with a brand new Apple MacBook. It’s like the website is deciding that you can afford to pay a little extra. This cannot be conclusively proven, but it wouldn’t hurt to delete your cookies and use an older machine if possible. Use a travel aggregator, which is a fancy word for those travel websites that present you with a list of prices from a number of different providers. Once you’ve worked out the cheapest price, check the airline’s own website. They often have lower prices that are not released to travel websites. You might also want to use a website that offers a weekly or even monthly view, so you can book the absolute cheapest flight even if it’s slightly earlier or later than you were originally planning to fly.
Accommodation and Meals
Just like travel websites, there are huge number of aggregator sites for hotel rooms. A bargain is possible, but why stay at a hotel at all? Book an entire apartment with kitchen facilities so that you can prepare most of your meals yourself. This is not always possible and some countries have restrictions on the rental of private self-contained homes. If you cannot rent an entire apartment, look for a bed and breakfast type of establishment where some meals are included, and take full advantage of those meals!
Seeing the Sights
Check the public transport situation in your destination. Is there an extensive network? It can be amazingly cheap to compile a list of all the sights you want to see, and then buying a daily ticket for the local public transport network. This is ideal for a city where most of the major sights are concentrated around a fairly small area, such as Prague or Berlin. In cities that don’t have a great public transport network (such as Havana), a group tour can be smart. If you book a tour in Cuba, you can avoid the less-than-brilliant public transport, and you can also often skip the queue at major attractions.
Hunting Down a Bargain
Do you use coupon websites for your own town or city? These can offer amazing deals for attractions and dining. Many of the larger coupon websites are multinational corporations with a local division in many countries around the world. Search for coupons in your intended destination and you can certainly hunt down a bargain for restaurants and local tourist attractions. The downside is that these sites will then display all details in the language of your destination country, so you might need to make use of Google Translate to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying, as well as any terms and conditions.
Have a Budget
This should go without saying, but it’s easier said than done. Have a rough idea of how much you can spend each day, and make a note of purchases if necessary. It can sometimes feel like you’re trying to hit a moving target if you don’t know the cost of day-to-day living in a certain destination, so you should do as much research as possible. Be mindful of any fees that might charged when using a credit or debit card to make a purchase in a foreign country. These fees can quickly add up and it can often be better to withdraw enough cash for several days and then use that for payment. Some accommodation options will also “block” a certain amount of cash on a credit or debit card when you check in. This is a security deposit and the funds are freed up again when you check out. It can take some days for these funds to become available again after check out, and you cannot access them while the accommodation provider’s hold is in effect. Check to see whether this will apply to you and make other arrangements as needed to ensure you have enough day-to-day cash.