Exploring this beautiful planet of ours isn’t a cheap exercise. That’s why all travellers need to be savvy. With a bit of smart thinking you can make your budget – and your journey – go much further.
So, before you book your next adventure, here are some things to take on board:
Smart use of your smartphone
It might be called a smartphone, but it won’t be particularly smart if you end up with a huge bill while travelling. Make sure you check your phone’s settings so that data roaming is switched off and that emails, tweets and downloads won’t automatically continue. You should only access the internet on your phone through Wi-Fi – and you shouldn’t pay for this either. Download the Wi-Fi Finder app (or similar) on your phone and activate the offline mode before you travel. That way you’ll be able to find the nearest free Wi-Fi to tap into without using any data.
It’s all about the mone
Don’t spend any more money than you have to on simply getting access to the currency you need while on your travels. With currency trading increasingly popular, there are lots of tools online that can show you the price movements surrounding a pair of currencies. Use this information to your advantage so that you can obtain your currency at the best possible rate. A few points either way will make a big difference over the course of your travels. It’s also worth signing up for a credit card that is tailored to travelers – these should help you to avoid unnecessary fees and charges that you can face when spending your money.
Food, glorious food
You’ll be wanting to sample the culinary delights of the countries that you visit while travelling. One way to do this without blowing your budget is to time your meals in a savvy way. Many restaurants will offer a lunch time or early evening menu to diners, often containing the same food but at much cheaper prices. Another food tip: observe the locals (or talk to them) and see where they head for lunch. They’ll often lead you to the ‘real taste’ of their town or city and it might well not be in any guide book.
The eight week rule
It’s tough to know when to book your flights to get the best deal, especially if you’re travelling for any length of time. While you might want to wait for a deal – you won’t want to leave it too late and upset your plan going forward. Luckily, Japanese economist Makoto Watanabe has done some research and found that eight weeks before you fly is the optimum time to buy an airline ticket. Clearly there will be exceptions to the rule, but bear this in mind as you go.
Get a good map and walk
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on transport and, while some of this is unavoidable, don’t rule out the prospect of walking. With a good map – snap one up for free at a tourist information spot or in a hotel – you’ll be able to pound the pavements. This is a great way to get from A to B cheaper – and means you’ll see more sights than if you’re stuck in a car or subway. By walking you’ll also give yourself the chance of stumbling upon bars, restaurants and shops that you might not have otherwise seen.