One of the questions I get asked quite a lot is how I afford to travel so often and there is no doubt that travelling is expensive. There are so many different factors to take into account when you're booking a trip and if you get it wrong, a trip can end up costing you a small fortune and trust me, I've been there. I've paid way too much for trips and excursions before and I've learned a few tips and tricks that help me get the best deals I can.
TRY DIFFERENT AIRPORTSSo one of my biggest tips for keeping costs down is looking at the airport you're travelling from. A lot of the time, travelling from my local airport would have added one over £300 each to the cost of my trip and when factoring in petrol and parking costs, it's worth the extra two hour drive to an airport that's further away. I know so many people who don't even look at different airports and it has honestly saved me hundreds of pounds over the course of my travels.
I know so many people who constantly advise booking flights separately to hotels but for me, I've found booking packages through websites like Expedia to be a hell of a lot cheaper. For example, when Jess and I visited Amsterdam we booked a package through Expedia for £130 each with the flights and a city centre hotel but when I went later in the year and booked them as separates, I ended up paying over £220 and the hotel wasn't central either. Things like Air B'n'B may be cheaper in some places but I'd always advise checking both packages and separates first - you never know which may be cheaper!
LOOK AT PACKAGES VS SEPARATE
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCHResearching the place you're visiting is one of the most important things you can do in my opinion. It's so much help to know how expensive a place is before you get there so you can decide how much spending money you're going to need and how much you should set aside for food and transport. I hate the feeling of running out of money when travelling and having to draw more out but if you know roughly how expensive a city is you can plan how much you're going to spend in each day.
PLAN EVERYTHINGI know some people like spontaneity and I'm definitely one of those people but when you're budgeting it's not always possible. I always plan any excursions or any sight seeing beforehand so I know exactly what I'll be doing on which days and it means you don't end up spending all of your money on the first day when you know you're going to need more for the last. For example, on my recent trip to Reykjavik, Jess and I had everything broken down so that (a) we could make the most of our time there and (b) so that we knew where we were going to be spending our money. It helped massively and meant that even though Reykjavik was the most expensive place I'd ever been, we managed to keep costs right down.
BE AS FLEXIBLE AS POSSIBLEObviously this one may not be possible for everyone, especially those who can't get time off work but being flexible really helps. I nearly always travel on a Tuesday as every time I've looked at trips, Tuesday has been the cheapest day to fly on (not sure why or if it's the same for anyone else?!) and I always fly super super early at around 6am on the way there and at around 9pm on the way back. Not only does it mean you maximise your time there but you also save money on another night in the hotel and more popular flight times. Just adjusting small things like that can knock quite a lot of money off your trip total so it's worth spending a little more time playing with dates etc. to see what you can save!
Unless I'm travelling somewhere for over a week, I never ever pay to add a case to a flight. Most airlines allow you to take a small suitcase for no extra cost as hand luggage whereas a full size case will set you back around £50 each. I've learnt how to pack so much into such a small case and even when I visited Iceland in November and needed bulky coats and layers, I managed to fit it all in hand luggage and save myself £50. Again, this is another small detail that can knock money off your total cost and it's these small savings that actually end up adding up to save quite a lot of money.
What would your best trips for travelling on a budget be?