“Invest in creating awesome holiday memories and amazing life experiences!”
I’m sharing my personal travel tips, as a simple, no-nonsense approach to saving towards my next holiday and bucket list travel dreams.
It’s not about tooting my own horn, instead they’re just really easy and common sense ideas about putting extra dollars back in your pocket! (after all who doesn’t want to save money where they can right?)
Now, I’m by no means a financial expert and I’m not here to give you some big lecture on being all frugal to the point of being nasty! No way!
I’m just offering up simple ‘tips and tricks’ that have worked for me (and my husband) by living a modest lifestyle that ultimately allows us to travel – which is our passion in life.
I know this may sound lame to some people, but honestly I have found this to be the best practice for actually saving money. To physically sit down and go through and write a list of my incoming and outgoing expenses – then doing a budget and sticking to it! (in my case I have a hardcopy budget book and hubby uses an excel spreadsheet).
So I have set up a modest yet regular savings plan – whereby every fortnight on my payday, I have a set ‘amount’ deducted from my bank account and automatically transferred into an interest bearing ‘Savings’ account. Conditions on my savings account also specify that if I withdraw funds within the month, then I lose my normal interest payment and any bonus interest. BIG incentive to keep saving.
Set an Allowance
Also every fortnight, I work out my fortnightly budget of what I need to pay and how much I can allocate and spend on myself. Sometimes there maybe fluctuations in what bills have to be paid in that cycle.
I have a ‘set allowance’ that I ‘gift’ myself as a reward and incentive for all my hard work and commitment. By the same token, if I blow my ‘allowance’ then that’s it until the next pay – simple as that!
Pay in Cash
Everyone has their own preference and it seems to be a dying tradition, but I still like to use and pay with physical ‘cash’. I prefer using cash so I am not tempted to ‘tick up items or impulse buy’ on my credit or debit card – saving me money on daily interest accruals or spending extra money from my bank account that I did not budget for.
Talk to your Bank
Make enquiries with your Banking institution to see if you’re eligible for any ‘waiver’ of bank fees if you are employed by certain multi-national/other specific companies or entities.
You will have to ask because the banks will not openly disclose this information. As an example (here in Australia) because I work for local government, my bank waived my monthly ‘account’ and ‘withdrawal’ fees.
(Approximate Savings: $300 per year (cha-ching$!)
So each quarter, I ensure that our electricity bill is paid before the due date so that I can get a rebate!
Also, if you don’t already do this – Set up an electronic or hardcopy reminder for all your regular bills that offer a ‘rebate’. This will always ensure that you get that ‘discount’ and ‘savings’ AND you’re building up an excellent credit profile at the same time.
(Approximate Savings: $100 per quarter (cha-ching$!)
We cancelled our monthly internet subscription with our Telco saving $35 per month. Now, when we need to use the internet on our laptop to search stuff, check emails or do banking – it’s easy just to use our ‘mobile hotspot and tether’ off our mobile phones and make good use of our existing monthly data plans which we have already paid for.
(Approximate Savings: $420 per year (cha-ching$!)
Going to the Movies
I love going to the movies, however, this can get expensive. As I work during the week it means I can only go on the Weekends, so I usually go with girlfriends as a catch-up and treat.
To save on regular costs I have signed up to a ‘movie loyalty program’ with a local cinema complex. These loyalty points have added up to me receiving a ‘discounted’ or ‘free’ movie session – Yay!
(Approximate Savings each time: $10 – $18.50 (cha-ching$!)
Alternatively check and access savings through your ‘Insurance’ company. For instance, RACQ (Queensland) offer online discounts for selected ‘Cinema brands’ and most Theme Parks in Queensland.
No Dining Out
We don’t go out to dinner at fancy restaurants! – This is a luxury purely reserved for when we travel overseas.
Instead hubby and I have a “Date Day” once every 2 weeks on our days off, where we’ll go out together for a nice, romantic lunch (which is much cheaper than buying dinner for 2 + drinks once a week). Obviously this is also something that I budget for out of my fortnightly “allowance”.
(Approximate Savings (based on 2 people): $3,840 per year (cha-ching$!)
Groceries – Now, I plan our meal menu for the week and then create my shopping list accordingly. Once again this saves both time and money on impulse buying in the supermarket. Get in and get out is my motto!
Take lunch to Work – As a Maori girl I absolutely love my food!!! So even if I make and take my lunch to work twice a week, I’m saving money.
(Approximate Lunch Savings: $480 per year (cha-ching$!)
Use Public Transport
Some people are averse to catching public transport. I personally like public transport as a fairly cheap and cost effective way to travel. Wherever possible I will use public transport, as it saves money on the wear, tear and overall running, service and maintenance costs of our car.
Have a Valid Passport
Ensure that your Passport has at least 6 months or more on the ‘expiry’ date in your Passport for travel. This will cost both time and money if you are refused on exit or entry conditions (and have to rebook new flights and or accommodation).
Join an Airline Loyalty Program
This is a no brainer if you travel frequently – it just makes sense to join up to a loyalty program and get reward points. I am a member of the Emirates ‘Skywards’ program (including their partner alliances). I have been able to ‘redeem’ my points for free upgrades or ‘one-way’ flights from Brisbane to Auckland.
Join Hotel Loyalty Programs
I am signed up to a few ‘Hotel’ loyalty and rewards programs. As an IHG member, when I stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Auckland, I was entitled to free Wi-Fi, a daily newspaper and a late check-out until 2pm (which comes in handy if you have a later flight). At some hotels these little extras cost money.
Use Comparison Websites
I use ‘Skyscanner’ and ‘Webjet’ to check and compare cheap flights online with different airlines.
Sign up to Email Alerts
I am signed up to several travel sites to receive email ‘alerts’ on great airline flights, deals and packages.
Insurance, Insurance, Insurance
I cannot emphasise the importance of taking out insurance. This has saved my bacon on at least 2 occasions and I would not risk leaving home without it! I’m sorry to say but ‘if you can’t afford insurance then you can’t afford to travel’. All it takes is one serious accident where you hurt yourself or unfortunately someone else and you’re in deep trouble. Having a good insurance policy gives you ‘peace of mind’ and also takes the stress out of experiencing any unforeseen incidents. I personally use the online website ‘insure4less’ (an Australian based website).
Now, my husband, family and friends know me and they also know I am a bit of a princess when it comes to my accommodation. I’m just one of those gals that don’t ‘camp’ or ‘glamp’ – instead I prefer and enjoy the creature comforts of a nice hotel or motel. As such, I am signed up to ‘Booking.com’ because I like the way they:
- Offer a ‘book now and pay later’ option
- Also a ‘free cancellation’ option
- Include additional extras such as ‘breakfast’ (or executive lounge access) in their packages
It is also helpful to utilise the expertise of ‘Concierge’ services when staying at larger hotel chains.
Redeem Your Loyalty Program Points
I am currently a Silver card member with ‘Expedia’ and I am able to redeem and use my reward points towards future hotel bookings.
When we pay for our airline flights or some hotel bookings we prefer to utilise the ‘PayPal’ option as this facility saves us paying an added ‘surcharge’ or ‘booking fee’. This is also a safe and reliable option.
Buy Overseas Currency
For my overseas spending money and smaller purchases, I personally prefer to use cash. So, I purchase my overseas currency through ‘Travelex’ online where there are currently no fees or commissions payable.
- As you may have guessed I absolutely LOVE to travel and sometimes up to 4 times a year, BUT it doesn’t always have to be a big overseas trip, a nice local or domestic trip is just as great and rewarding!
- Hubby and I like to do some forward planning, research and cost out where and when we would like to travel?
- We are also aware of the ‘peak’ and ‘low’ seasons for our holiday destinations – which helps in bagging the best deals!
- Most times we book our flights well in advance (at least six months or more) to gain discounted airfares
- Don’t book your dream holiday on your credit card! Try to pay for everything in upfront cash or cheque, via a personal loan, a pay later, deposit or layby option. This will save you a lifetime of regret!
- When we see a hotel online that we like the look of, we’ll go online to different booking sites and read through some of the reviews. You don’t want to have a bad experience, so do your research and then research some more. By doing this we can pretty much get a feel for a hotel (besides just looking at photos).
- If you’ve had a great experience with something (a tour, hotel or airline) then rave about it. I find it’s always a nice practice to ‘pay it forward’ and give a good review or feedback (when it’s deserved). I call it good Karma.
Although it may cost a little time and effort, these no-nonsense, common sense, no frills and practical tips have helped me to grow ‘small’ savings into ‘decent’ savings and with that comes a ‘well-earned’ sense of accomplishment.
It is possible to travel overseas with just a bit of foresight, pre-planning, sacrifice and discipline.
So where are you going for your next holiday?
Feel free to share your personal travel saving tips! I’d love to hear your story………