If we all had our way, we’d probably be jetting off to a new location every other week, but let’s face it, travel can be pretty expensive, especially during the holiday season. Luckily, we’re here to help, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great holiday trip.
Below are 13 tips for planning your next holiday on a budget. This way, you get to truly enjoy yourself — exploring a new place, soaking in all that holiday cheer — without needing to be a personal finance guru.
1. Set a spending limit for pre-holiday preparation
Whether you’re holiday shopping, getting a new haircut or fixing a suitcase, preparation for holidays can get pretty pricey really quickly. A hundred dollars here, ten dollars there and suddenly, there’s a massive dent in your bank account. To avoid that, set a budget and stick to it. Begin with the more essential things, like travel insurance.
2. Pick the right destination
When deciding on a holiday destination, consider the average costs in the city. There are plenty of places where you can have a pretty swell time with a tight budget. Indonesia, Vietnam, Ecuador and Hungary are some great examples.
3. Book early
Booking flights, accommodation, exhibitions or shows early can reduce the cost significantly. Some services track cheap flights for you so you don’t have to spend hours doing research.
4. Avoid travelling during peak times
During holidays like summer and Christmas, flights typically cost more for tourists’ favourite destinations. Avoiding peak times will also help save money on accommodation and package deals. In addition, you might want to consider the day you’re flying — flights usually cost more on weekends.
5. Add free activities to your itinerary
Because who doesn’t want to save some money?
6. Look for great deals
Research on package deals from travel companies or travel apps. Here’s a secret: find your accommodation in a student area. There will be much better deals around there on restaurants, shopping, activities and food delivery services.
7. Go with a group
Sure, solo travel is great but travelling with friends or family members can help save a ton of money. Split accommodation costs, enjoy discounts on group deals and pay less for groceries by buying in bulk.
8. Don’t overpack
When packing, get a checklist and stick to it — avoid packing the things you don’t have to. Leave some room, too, so you don’t need an extra suitcase to bring back souvenirs and holiday gifts when you’re returning. No one wants to spend money on extra luggage fees.
9. Get an apartment, not a hotel
If you intend to spend a long time in a city, getting an apartment will save you some money. Get an Airbnb or search out short-let apartments in the area. Here, you can also cook and save money on outdoor eating or buying food from the hotel.
10. Get accommodation close to the city attractions
If the accommodations around the fun things to do aren’t significantly more expensive, getting one close to the attraction will help you save some money on transportation. You can also walk where possible and burn some calories while at it. Win-win!
11. On arrival, head to a grocery store
Stock up on groceries before you visit all the attractions you plan to. This way, you can eat in and take some snacks on your way out. Remember, it’s still a vacation, so, budget or not, don’t forget to try out some fancy restaurants.
12. Try out street food
When you’re not stuffing your face with groceries or visiting one of those fancy restaurants, you could try some street food. They’re delicious, affordable and give you a better feel of the culture.
13. Get a local SIM card
International cell phone plans are usually incredibly expensive so it’s a good idea to replace your SIM with a local one to save significantly on calls and data.