The costs of living that passport life can rack up, but not if you’re smart about it. Being financially savvy about all aspects of travelling – not just flights and accommodation but also transport and spending will really pay (lol) off. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice the health of your bank account to have an amazing time. Additionally, we absolutely do not promote the idea of spending outside of your means for the sake of a few pictures on the ‘gram. Who knows, you might find the money you used to blow on one trip can actually be put towards a couple more trips in a year! We’ve put together our list of 9 ways we keep travel affordable:
Split those accommodation costs by travelling in a group!
2. Define what “affordable” means – budget!
Set a flights and accommodation budget agreed by everyone travelling (if going in a group). We have done a number of European 4-day trips in a group of 4 and our go-to budget is £200 or less for flights and accommodation; we managed £160 for our long winter weekend in Athens, Greece. For the US, this increases to around £500 for, say, 7-10 days (it IS possible!).
3. Fly cheap, fly cheerful
Heading to Europe? £100 or under is a reasonable limit. Check out our tips for finding low cost flights, here.
4. Say no to full price accommodation!
There are “sales” and offers on accommodation options on so many comparison sites such as Expedia, Booking.com, Kayak and Opodo. Be sure to look at the accommodation you have in mind on ALL the different sites to ensure you’re getting the best deal. If you’re thinking of booking an Airbnb, you can get £25 in travel credit if you sign up here. Alternatively, for a £15 reward when you book accommodation for your next trip using Booking.com, click here.
5. Pound Stretcher
Did you hear that your destination of choice is on the pricey side in terms of eating out, shopping and getting around? Figure out what value for money looks like so you can make your spending money go further. When eating out in European countries, we like to judge value for money by the number of main courses in the menu priced around 10-15 EUR or under. You might want to use the price of a cup of tea, cocktail or beer as a yardstick, and contrast how this matches up to your local currency. This will help you plan how much spending money will be appropriate. If transport is known to be on the expensive side consider whether a car rental would be a better option, or if your accommodation can arrange an airport shuttle.
6. Location, location, location
Choosing accommodation close to the city centre is ideal if you plan to spend the majority of your time there. If you plan to be in many different places, aim for accommodation that is close to a public transport stop; this will save you from shelling out on taxi fares by ensuring where you need to get to is reachable by public transport or on foot!
7. Hotel. Motel. Holiday Inn? (Say what!)
Staying in a hotel? It might be cost efficient to go for a breakfast included option – saving you from spending on 3 meals a day. Hotels also typically have perks like free airport shuttles – especially helpful if where you’re staying is some distance from the airport! Staying in an apartment? Locate the nearest supermarket! You can buy snacks and shopping for your own groceries to cook your own meals and save you spending all your cash on eating out.
8. There’s something about the word ‘free’
Google “free things to do in [insert location here]” and fill up your itinerary with free experiences such as walking tours (shout out to Jess at Road2Culturedom for this amazing tip shared during our group vlog!), museums which are cheap or even free depending on the day/time you visit. Not spending doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time! On both of our New York trips (2014 and 2016), we have been in a TV studio audience – free of charge! 2014 – 106 & Park, and 2016 – The Wendy Williams Show.
9. Spread the cost
When you’re ready to book, stagger your payments. Pay for low cost flights upfront, and for long haul flights, see if you can pay a deposit and pay over some months. For accommodation, opt for “pay later/free cancellation” options when booking your accommodation – be sure to read the small print and ensure they won’t take any prepayments from your card! This will give you more time to save spending money, too.