Top tips to save money while travelling

May 25th, 2023

So it’s that time of the year.. It’s cold, it’s almost winter. Time for a holiday!

We all know travel can be expensive, but you don’t need to win the lottery to travel the world. You can still have an enjoyable vacation if you are savvy about your expenses.

Save on a budget with our top travel saving hacks:

Don’t travel during peak seasons 

Save money and avoid crowds! Yes please!

Peak seasons are the more popular times to travel which means accommodations and flights cost more and there are generally larger crowds. By avoiding peak travel season, you can save a lot of money on flights. 

Flying can eat up a lot of your travel budget. If you travel outside of peak season,you can often get more cost effective flights and even upgrade for a fraction of the cost of a peak season flight. 

Hotels fluctuate their prices based on seasons. If you plan to avoid peak season travel, you can also avoid peak season accommodation costs. Typically you can expect to save 50% and more during quiet seasons, meaning more opportunities to stay in better hotels for less money.

Get a travel or bank card that doesn’t charge international or ATM fees

Are you fed up with the international charges while travelling overseas? These fees can really add up! Bank cards overseas have high conversion rates with fees of up to 4%, which can hit hundreds of dollars fast. Not to mention the fees when paying for things overseas like shopping, eating, taxis and adventures. Be prepared and organise a bank card that comes with $0 international transaction fees, saving potentially hundreds of dollars. There are banks that offer $0 international transaction fees, so you can shop internationally online and instore overseas and they will likely rebate the transaction fees.

Save money on food

Don’t get us wrong, food can be one of the highlights while travelling. Trying different cuisines, overeating and splurging on holidays. That’s what it’s all about, treat yo’ self right? 

However, after flights and accommodation are booked this can be next to one of the most costly parts. We aren’t saying you need to miss out, but let’s be smart about this. There are 3 meals in a day… plus all the snacks and drinks in between, this can really add up and hurt your wallet before you know it. All the little bits and pieces is how your money can be gone without you realising. Here are a few tips to think outside the box while eating on a vacation. 

  • Eat like a local – take the opportunity to sample the local cuisine, which will be a lot cheaper than the tourist hot spots;  
  • Cook when you can and cook your own meals. Buying groceries at the supermarket is much more cost effective than eating out;
  • Fill up at the morning breakfast buffet; and 
  • Pack snacks for throughout the day. 

You can still dine out, but try this every now and again and you will be surprised how much you can save.

Say NO to ATM conversion rates

It can get confusing while travelling with the list of do’s and don’ts, especially when it comes to conversion rates and fees. But we are here to tell you it’s often better to refrain from accepting  the conversion rate when taking out cash at ATMs. 

Always select NO. ATM companies are charging you the worst exchange rate, and they make money off that. If you select no on the ATM conversion rate, the exchange rate is then charged by the Australian bank (or whatever other bank you’re using) and will generally give you a much fairer rate. This will potentially save you up to $7-$30 every time. 

Travel slow

Take the scenic route, use public transport, take buses and trains instead of taxis or Ubers. Save money on travel while travelling. There shouldn’t be any rush on vacation, so take an extra 10 minutes to get from place to place, and you will have more money to fill your pockets for the fun stuff. Using public transport can save you up to four times the amount of money you would spend on private transport, and you are still getting from A to B.

Fly with budget airlines

Use apps like Skyscanner and compare the market when booking flights, as these will compare all airlines and find you the cheapest and most competitive flights. Skyscanner is a great user-friendly platform that clearly compares the price of flights against each other. Be flexible and play around with your dates at either end of your trip, as prices can slightly change over certain dates or days. 

Consider flying budget airlines. Most of the time flights are the most expensive part when booking holidays, so here is where you can save the most money. 

No matter what airline you travel with, a flight is never a memorable part of a vacation. You can still have enjoyable flights with cheaper airlines, give it a go! 

You don’t need a travel sim card

You don’t need to buy a travel sim card or pay additional charges for international roaming which will cost you an arm and a leg. Turn your phone onto aeroplane mode and use free wifi everywhere. The world has changed and technology has taken over the world! Which means wifi is everywhere. Simply ask for the wifi password; ask your hotel, restaurants, cafes, shopping centres etc and you can use the wifi for free to facetime or message your loved ones back home… (Or upload that instagram selfie by the pool with a cocktail). And in the off chance there is no wifi, switch off, take a break from your screen for an hour! That’s what holidays are for.

For our Euro friends: Get a VAT refund

What’s a VAT refund you may ask? You pay Value-Added Tax (VAT) when making purchases and get a refund from the relevant retailer or VAT-refunding agency when the retailer or the agency receives proof that the items have been exported. Basically you can get refunds on your shopping. Yes you read that right. 

When you go shopping in any European country you can get a refund percentage back on your shopping. Italy has 22% refund back. Every shop that offers this tax refund will have VAT refund tax free shopping on their window; if not ask the sales assistant in store. 

First step is to download the VAT refund Global Blue App and fill out the information. Then when you are leaving most airports in Europe, this is where you need to claim your tax refund. You will need the app and the item of purchase on hand. Once the refund is approved, you will likely be able to go and collect your refund; go through customs and go to the VAT refund office. Who knew right!?

Travel gives us our most precious experiences, life learnings and great stories.

A limited budget doesn’t have to stop you from missing out. Put your passport to good use and book that holiday!