Trying to travel as much as possible in a year is something I’m always trying to do, but fitting it around holiday allowance at work and managing it on a budget is a constant struggle.
After returning from a three week trip to Australia I wanted to share some thoughts on how best to keep to a budget when travelling, to show that you can have a great time whilst on holiday without having to spend too much money.
Before I go on any holiday I tend to go on a research spree. I check out my favourite blogs, ask around my friends who’ve been there, search through my favourite magazines – Condé Nast Traveller and National Geographic Traveller – and even check out the geo tag on Instagram.
It’s a great way to find out the best spots in your holiday destination, and is always a great way to find good deals there as well! Throughout my travels I’ve always managed to keep to a budget and still have a good time, and so I wanted to share my tips!
Look for happy hours/meal special deals
The best thing about travelling to a city for a holiday is you get to take advantage of the weekday happy deals. When searching for spots to eat it’s always worth checking out menus online to see if they’re in your budget. Often, most places will offer a happy hour deal or sometimes even weekday specific meal deals that you can use to your advantage.
If you’re in a location where Street Food is on offer then don’t be deterred from venturing down to experience local delicacies at a cheaper price!
Cook for yourself where possible
I understand this might not be a popular option when on holiday – who wants to cook for themselves when trying to have some r&r?
Two reasons (apart from the money-saving reason of course) 1- sometimes if on a long trip going out for dinner can get a bit heavy and unhealthy, even if you’re eating healthy meals out nothing really feels as comfortable as something home cooked.
2- if you’re in a hot destination – and of course I’m mainly referring to Australia here – sometimes having a BBQ can be a great option to still taste the local food and save some pennies. When in Sydney, Byron Bay and even at the Palm Bay resort we chose to have BBQs on some evenings,
Find cheaper airport transfers/included in hotel deals
Sometimes the hidden cost of a holiday lies in the little extras that can be forgotten. Airport transfers often fall into that category for me but once again, a little research can go a long way.
Check out several different options for airport transfers, as sometimes the most popular and advertised option may not be the most cost effective or suitable for you.
Take New York for example, often the most recommended route is the infamous yellow cab and whereas it does have it’s scenic advantages it’s also pretty costly. Whereas for only $5 you can get the Jamaica train
You can also often find hotels which have free airport transfers included in the deals which is a filter on Booking.com when you search.
Walk when possible
Not only is it a cost effective option but it’s one of the best ways to see a new place you visit. One of my favourite ways to see New York is just by pounding the pavements and having the chance to experience the city in ways you might not otherwise from a subway cart.
This is accessibility dependent of course – I’m aware, as an able bodied person it’s easy for me to say this. If public transport is an option, when visiting a new location on your travels it’s best to research if any discount cards – usually for locals like an Oyster (London), Metro (New York) or an Opal (Sydney) etc. card – might make your trip cheaper.
And if you’re not opposed to Uber then I also find an Uber Pool is still a cost-effective way to get around. It might take a bit longer than a standard trip but it’s a great way of meeting locals if you’re both up for a chat!
Stay Away From the Tourist Traps
Sometimes it can seem a bit mad to pay extortionate amounts of money just to access a viewpoint to get a view of a city you haven’t seen before.
The golden rule of this blog is that if there’s a rooftop bar available, always opt for the rooftop bar.
But seriously, most skyscrapers that offer pay-for-view points also tend to have high end restaurants and bars included. The Rock in New York, the H building in Chicago and the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney are all guilty of this and they’re more often than not free to enter (except of course you’ll be expected to buy food or drink when you’re up there).
A view is always much better with a cocktail in hand, so when visiting a new spot check out the available rooftop/sky high bars that are on offer before handing over your cash just to access a viewing platform without the added vino.
Thanks for reading x