We all know planning a holiday for the family can be stressful and often pricey. Thankfully there are several ways to save some cash, from scoring cheap flights to finding free activities for the family.
Some of these ideas will make you think outside the travel planning box a little bit. It may require a little flexibility and pre-planning on your part. But the payoff is more cash in your back pocket that you can save, or splurge on those overseas activities you may not get to do otherwise. Sure, you can always book the full package guided tour options. But you’ll definitely pay full price and, quite frankly, where’s the fun in that?
Get the family on board with the flexible travel concept early. You’ll find that everyone wants to get involved and will all start thinking about ways to reduce stress and costs. This makes it fun for the whole family. And if you have the kid’s buy in, you’ll find the grizzles fizzle out much quicker!
10 clever little travel hacks to save you time and money on your next trip
1. Use your credit card to pay and earn rewards
Use your credit card for living and travel expenses and earn points towards your next holiday. Also keep an eye out for rewards programmes for airlines and hotels where you can get free travel benefits and accommodation. If you put your travel budget in your credit card account before you leave, you’ll still get the points but won’t be paying interest too.
2. Clear your cache when looking for flights
Airlines add cookies to your browser to track your behaviour when looking for flights. If you’ve been browsing flights and return at a later date, you may be provided with higher ticket prices! Make sure you delete your cookies or view incognito to avoid this.
3. Search for promo codes
There’s always promo codes on offer where you can get up to 15% off flights, accommodation, and rentals. Just Google travel promo codes, or check out Pointhack.co.nz’s guide to using promo codes.
4. Use search engines
Comparison websites like Skyscanner and Cheap Flights scan different airlines to find you the cheapest flight options. You can narrow down your search by departure/ arrival times, cost or whether you’d like a direct or connecting flight. Comparison websites like Wotif allow you to search for flights and accommodation deals, and even include rental car and activities deals at the destination you search for. Some sites like Kayak even allow you to sign up for price alerts, where you get an alert as soon as the price of a flight drops.
5. Look at alternative airports
Airlines pay a premium for the use of airports in major cities, you’ll generally find much cheaper flights from neighbouring smaller cities. A great tool is tripcombi – the site uses an algorithm to find the cheapest rates and connection options for you that you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll have to be flexible with multiple stopovers and airlines, but the savings can be really significant.
6. Pack snacks and lunches
Packing snacks and lunches is a no brainer when travelling with kids. Snacks are pretty much a necessity to keep the hunger pangs (and grizzles) at bay. But you can easily blow your travel budget by purchasing expensive snacks and light lunches from overpriced cafes each day. You’ll often find it easier to pack your kid’s favourite food and snacks, than have to choose from ‘exotic’ food they haven’t tried before. Plus, some of your most interesting memories will be in the places you stop for an impromptu picnic!
7. Go for private rental
According to BusinessInsider.com.au, Airbnb is on average 30% cheaper than standard hotel rates (this varies between countries). In addition, you get the luxury of having your own space with a kitchen and laundry which is perfect if you want to save on meals or laundry services for the family. You should also consider using Uber for taxi travel. According to BusinessInsider.com.au taxis in Chicago cost 1.5x the cost of an Uber fare.
8. Use ATM’s and credit cards instead of currency exchanges
You generally get a better exchange rate and minimal fees when you skip the currency exchange and use ATM’s and credit cards instead.
9. Pack a water bottle
Buying water can get pricey when travelling. Pack a water bottle for you and your family to refill from the tap, or public water fountains. Just be sure to check if the water is drinkable first!
10. Find free activities
There’s always fantastic free activities in every city, join a free walking tour, or explore the local parks, beaches and gardens. Become your own tour guide with Field Trip, simply download the app and you receive alerts and handy information about landmarks and points of interest nearby.