If you plan to take the family away this Easter or simply want to get away yourself, then don’t rush into it and panic-buy your holiday just because you desperately need a change of scenery. Whether you're planning on a beach holiday in Fiji, a family visit in New Zealand, or long haul trip to Europe, failing to plan is planning to fail and when money is concerned.
It's also very important that you stick to whatever holiday budget you decide on, otherwise careless spending can easily end up leaving you deep out of pocket once you return home. But let's start by looking at some of the top travel tips that you should be thinking about when booking your holiday to ensure that your money goes as far as possible. Follow these and you should have no problem getting good value for money.
If you are the spontaneous type then fleeing away on holiday can seem like the most liberating sensation. However, with little to no preparation you can find yourself paying full whack on things from airport parking to tourist trap restaurants and much more. First and foremost you must plan how much you want to spend on your holiday and try to align all of your activities within that budget e.g. accommodation, car rental, eating out, spending money etc. Once you know how much each of the above is going to roughly cost you can then begin searching for deals and bargains.
Money saving deals can begin right at home e.g. parking coupons, hotels and discounted flights. Buckscoop’s vouchers page regularly has discounts and promo codes for companies such as Webjet, Virgin Australia and Hotels.com.
To give you a small taster of what you can expect, we currently have promo codes that can help you save money:
- 10% off domestic international flights / 10% off car rental – Virgin Australia
- Save $300 with a $2,500 spend – Webjet
- 8% off hotel bookings – Hotels.com
If you plan on parking your car at Sydney international terminal for one week, for example, then you could save $385 by pre-booking online rather than just rocking up and getting a ticket. Paying in advance for most things will allow you to put money back into your budget (based on the pre-booking savings) for any other activities you've got planned at your destination.
Planning how much money you are going to spend is a pointless exercise if you haven’t checked how much money your currency is worth in another country. AU$ 1,000 will buy you £523 (based on the exchange rate of 7th March 2016), for example, whereas that same amount will buy you NZ$ 1,101. The most accurate website to use for checking your currency and certainly the easiest to use is XE.com. Checking how much your currency is worth may even change you decision to travel to that location, so yet another reason why planning is crucial for saving money.
Travel insurance is always important when you are travelling to a foreign country but don’t let your travel agent take more money from you than is necessary. If you use a travel agent they will always have the latest and greatest option for your holiday, however this is something they will simply earn the best commission on. Without a doubt you are better off organising your own insurance and there are plenty of online tools that can help you find the most affordable plan to suit your holiday. Compare the Market is one of the better-known websites that can give you a good indication about what’s available on the market.
Correct Credit Cards
The convenience of using our credit and debit cards can sometimes confuse us, because there is no doubt the banks will enjoy every minute that we use their cards abroad (if they're not especially designed for that purpose). Overseas transaction fees and bank currency conversion rates are music to a bank managers ears, so whatever you do, plan for the most efficient way to access to your money from abroad.
Most banks will charge a 2-3% levy on money withdrawn overseas. If it’s a different currency, you will be charged again and most likely the ATM you use will also charge you for the pleasure. There are a few more affordable ways you can go about using your money while on holiday in another country. Firstly, you could use a pre-paid travel card which allow you to buy a different currencies at a fixed rate so that when you use it abroad the money is already in the local currency. Secondly, you could convert the money into cash at home and carry your daily budget (in cash) with you each day on your travels, although this does carry a certain level of risk (e.g. getting pick pocketed).
After all of your planning and organising it may seem like your holiday is truly deserved, but don’t let yourself go completely wild because when you let your guard down you may be enticed by the convenience of a tourist trap. They are called traps because there are heavily over priced and due to their close proximity to main attractions and good aesthetics, many tourists succumb to their lure. Your holiday motto should be to live like a local, eat where they would eat, drink where they drink and do as the locals would do to enjoy local prices and truly immerse yourself in the lifestyle of your holiday destination. I personally enjoy this experience more because you really feel in touch with that country. If you feel out of your depth trying to spot these places then turn to the worlds favourite travel planner, TripAdvisor for additional help.
If you have any top travel tips that you would like to share with the Buckscoop community then please add them in the comments section below.