The holiday season might almost be over, but now’s the time to look at how you can get even more out of your next holiday. With a bit of planning, these ideas can help you save money on your next getaway.
Carefully choose when to travel – and when to book
By planning well in advance, you can dramatically reduce the cost of flights and accommodation by travelling during off-peak times. School holidays, national holidays, and Christmas are the most expensive times to travel because so many people all go on holiday at the same time.
According to a study completed by Skyscanner, the cheapest month to fly is November, with prices 12% less than the average price paid. The most expensive month to fly is December at a 20% premium compared to the average.
Timing when to purchase your flights can also make a big difference. Based on the results of the Skyscanner study, here’s how far in advance to book for some of Australia’s favourite destinations:
- New Zealand – 6 weeks, save 6%
- Malaysia – 10 weeks, save 8%
- Singapore – 11 weeks, save 9%
- Indonesia – 12 weeks, save 6%
- UK – 15 weeks, save 5%
- India – 18 weeks, save 8%
- Thailand – 20 weeks, save 5%
- Japan – 21 weeks, save 12%
- US – 28 weeks, save 23%
- China – 30 weeks, save 18%
Looking at some of these numbers, it’s definitely worth while booking well in advance for destinations like the US, China, and Japan.
For domestic flights, booking 4 weeks in advance for Melbourne/Sydney can save you 25%, and 15 weeks in advance Melbourne/Perth can save you 17%.
To save on accommodation, look at the event calendar of your destination. Avoid national holidays, large sporting or international events, and aim for the low seasons for the best prices.
Buy travel gear when you get there
Depending where you travel, there is often a much larger industry for particular types of travel gear. For example, there are many more retailers selling snow-gear in snowy climates than in the desert!
The same goes for hiking or any other activity you plan to get involved with. For example, Nepal is a popular destination for hiking and in Kathmandu you can find streets full of people selling tents, sleeping bags and other hiking gear at discounted rates.
Most people try to get the most out of their days while on holiday. One easy way to do this is to plan as much of your travel as possible to be overnight. By travelling (and sleeping) overnight, you can leave the days free for your actual holiday.
This will take some pre-planning and coordination. Some hotels won’t let you check in too late or early without prior arrangement, so you might end up wasting time anyway lugging around all of your baggage. And when travelling with young kids, the less-than-ideal sleep everyone gets on overnight planes/trains/busses might not be a great idea.
Use budget hotels for stopovers
Hotel pricing varies dramatically practically everywhere in the world. If you’re only staying one night on a stopover, you can save money by staying in budget hotels. The amenities won’t be the nicest, but as long as everything is clean and you can get a good night’s sleep, then it won’t really matter once you’re on your way to the next destination.
Book hotels directly by phone
You can often get a better price on hotel accommodation by booking directly with the hotel. The hotel saves money by not having to give a cut to the online booking service, which opens the opportunity for you to ask for a better price. If the price stays firm, then ask for complementary breakfast or a room upgrade.
The price of almost everything can be negotiated. This is especially true on holidays in areas highly frequented by tourists, where the prices can already be at a premium.
- At markets, you can try to shop towards the end of the day. This might be a little risky because some of the better stock may be sold out, but you can typically negotiate a better price when vendors are looking for those quick final sales of the day.
- Whenever buying in larger quantities, always ask for and expect a discount.
- Do understand the culture and etiquette – in some places haggling too much (or at all) is frowned upon.
- Some parts of the world still much prefer cash to electronic forms of payment. Use this to your advantage when asking for a better price.
- Know the local value of things. Prices are often jacked-up for tourists. If you know some locals or can do some research beforehand, use this information to make it clear you know the true local value of something, and that you wont pay more.
Bargaining options aren’t only limited to markets and the like; hotels and larger stores can also be flexible on price – all you have to do it ask.
Do try to remember that in some parts of the world, people are barely making enough to survive. If what you’re buying is only small change to you, is it really worth trying to save a dollar or two?
Research public transport options
In most cities you can get around practically everywhere using the public transportation system. It may take a little time to plan ahead, but this will save you in the long run. The public transport directions offered by a number of navigation apps (for example Google Maps) provides up to date and accurate public transport timetables and directions. Investing in a local sim card data plan will allow you to use the features of these apps anywhere and can definitely be worth the investment – the time savings alone justify it.
Skip the souvenirs
These little things look great and sound like a good idea when you’re on holidays, but when you get home they often end up cluttering your house or hidden away in a box somewhere. Souvenirs are one of the most marked-up items you can buy on holidays. Unless you really want a physical memory of a certain place, lots of photos can do just fine – they’re cheaper and usually much better for memories!
When you’re on holidays, you want and deserve to splurge a little. Don’t let these tips restrict your holiday – look at them as a way to do more of the things you value the most!