Hands up if you want to take a vacation, but your account balance has other ideas. Well, we’re here to show you that you don’t need a bank account that’s bursting with digits to take a well-deserved getaway. With these eight top tips, we’ll prove you can save money without scrimping on awesome vacation experiences. Whether your destination is close to home or a bit farther-flung, these tips are perfect for current (or future) trips!
1. Get on the same page
Is having a pre-trip chat about money fun? Absolutely not, but it’s essential to have similar expectations and budgets when traveling with friends and family. After all, nothing good comes from a member of your vacation clan dreaming of swanky hotels and Michelin star restaurants while you’re eyeing up the best street food and hostels. Of course, you don’t want to lose sleep (or friends!) over calculating an exact budget — plan one with some wiggle room. It’s all about staying flexible.
2. Start with simple wins
So, this might sound pretty obvious, but the simplest money saving tips are the best — and they often start way before you arrive at your destination. Once you’ve got a vacation in mind, start finding ways to save during your daily routine. It can be as little as cutting out the daily Starbucks or weekly take-out. Keep an amount in mind that you want to save. This will make walking past an enticing bakery just that little bit easier — especially if you’re saving for a food tasting tour in Paris.
3. Take to the skies for less
Not sure you’ll have the cash to see Berlin from atop the TV Tower and explore Museum Island? Not to worry. It’s never been easier to save money on plane tickets, no matter where you’re headed. Check out Skyscanner or Google’s Flight Price Tracker and discover the cheapest time to fly, ensuring you have plenty of cash to spend on what really matters: memory-making experiences. The more flexible you are with your dates (think off-season and avoiding Friday and Sunday nights), the bigger the savings.
4. Travel smart
It’s not just in the air where you can make big savings. When the plane touches down, don’t just jump in an Uber. Swap the app for a city pass like this 24-96 hour one in Amsterdam. Not only will you enjoy unlimited access to the Dutch capital’s public transport, but you can also enter 44 top museums and attractions for free. As well as travel cards, hop-on-hop-off buses are a cheap and fun way to get around. This ticket for Amsterdam lasts up to 48 hours, so you can hop on and off buses and boats whenever something catches your eye.
5. Splurge on your favorites
Chances are, there’s one iconic attraction that’s made you want to visit a particular destination. This will often be the most expensive thing to do on your vacation — so you want to make sure you’re getting value for money and time. Luckily, there are easy ways to ensure your visit to these bucket list-worthy sights is both seamless and memorable. Firstly, look out for skip-the-line tickets, as this will potentially save you hours of waiting. You can also really take your trip up a notch with special tickets that include dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower or champagne atop the Shard.
6. Get a new perspective
No matter where you’re headed, there are always new ways to see the classics. One of the best (and most affordable) ways to see your destination is by boat. Why? Cause they’re relatively inexpensive, fun, and they’re available in loads of top cities, like Paris, London, and Berlin. It’s the perfect way to fill your camera with all the famous sights your destination has to offer — while sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the wind in your hair.
7. Take a tasty cooking class
Why not combine eating out with a fun-filled activity? Choose from a number of foodie workshops, including this family-friendly pizza class in Florence or a paella experience in Barcelona. It’s a win-win. Not only will you save time finding a restaurant, but you’ll also return home with a tasty recipe or two. Plus, you won’t have to splurge on dinner as it comes with the experience.
8. Sleep easy for less
Be flexible with your location, and you’ll save big bucks. Trade city center hotels for accommodation in nearby neighborhoods. You’ll only be a short ride from the main hotspots thanks to your budget-friendly travel card. What’s more, you’ll get to explore your destination’s trendiest neighborhoods, which are often home to hip-hop-and-happening cafes, up-and-coming restaurants, and cute boutiques.
Have a super money-saving secret? Tell us in the comments below. Hint: make sure you’re logged into Facebook to share your tips with us.