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I have my first overseas trip since the start of the pandemic coming up, and I can already anticipate that I’m going to be in for plenty of “Oh, I forgot we used to do that” moments.
The awkwardness of finding a comfortable sleeping position in my seat. The bleary-eyed queuing for immigration. And the thrill of getting to explore somewhere new. I’m sure all of it will come flooding back to me.
And another thing I’m sure I’ll be reminded of is how much I spend on holidays. Even if I’m going somewhere where I’m staying with family and friends, like I am on this upcoming trip, I know I’ll be spending a lot more than I thought. On Ubers. On eating out. And even on getting gifts beforehand for said family and friends. I can already foresee the toll it’s going to take on my bank account.
So, for that reason, I enlisted the help of a money expert to find out some ways I can try to cut back on spending while I’m away. Ahead, Helen Baker, an Australian financial advisor and author of book On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women ($32.99), shares some of what those ways are.
Be Flexible With Travel Dates
First up is something I did try to do already. Though I had a wedding to attend, I tried to play around with my trip dates to find the cheapest flight.
“School holidays and key periods will have a ‘high season’ loading built into accommodation, flights, etc., meaning you pay more,” says Baker. “It may also be difficult to get into where you want to be because they are already booked out for those peak seasons. Flexibility may mean you get enticed with special promotions to go at non-peak times and get more bang for your buck.”
Another tip? Baker suggests asking around to see if anyone has any unused accommodation or flights that they’re willing to sell you at a cheaper rate.
“That way, you both win,” says Baker.
The next tip Baker suggests is to do what I did and really compare flight prices, as airfare can be one of the most expensive parts of your holidays, especially if you’re travelling overseas. Comparing not only price but also what your flight(s) look like is key, she says.
“If you’re going overseas, it may be cheaper to book flights with extra stops,” she says. “Consider that while it might be cheaper and you might get to see more places, you’ll also have to pay for tours or additional accommodation or services while you’re in transit.
“Also, though you might be getting a cheap deal on a flight, it might mean that you have to be up at the crack of dawn to catch the flight, making you tired for the whole day. Really, just weigh up the pros and cons.”
Also, Baker says that it’s worth looking into how many points you have, as they might be able to pay for some or all of your flight. If you’re not paying with points, make sure you’re collecting them to use to help pay for future trips.
Take Advantage of (Free) Nature
A great activity you can do while away that’ll help cut down on your holiday spend is to explore by foot if you’re visiting a city, or to head outdoors if there’s a nearby area to see.
“It’s good for the soul,” says Baker. “It helps you be refreshed and revitalised, particularly if you work indoors or from home. Getting fresh air into your system, possibly doing something active, is a huge win for your physical and mental wellbeing.”
And finally, while I can’t adopt Baker’s last tip as I’m headed abroad, it’s worth a mention as I definitely want to take it onboard for other, future trips: it’s to travel within the country.
“We are very blessed in Australia with great local things to see,” she says. “We often spend our time going elsewhere to explore other places but miss out on our own backyard. We often don’t have as much time on the weekends, so holidays are a great way to really look at areas in a much deeper way.
“Helping to support our local venues helps all the local businesses. Plus, there are incentives from various governments to entice you to venture locally.”