This is a guest post by Kristy Alexander of Hotelclub.com.
The experience of planning your holidays on a tight budget can definitely be stressful nowadays, when even a simple weekend away can cost you upwards of $500, if you’re not careful. The stress of organizing a trip that won’t leave you with a killer credit card debt can sometimes make it feel like your holiday planning is not as exciting as it should be. But planning your holidays can actually be fun if you avoid unnecessary financial blowouts such as the ones listed below.
1. Buying Travel Guides for Your Destination
Everybody has one and if you don’t, it is very easy to get. A library card is one of the easiest ways to get information about anything. Library cards do not cost anything and only involve filling out some personal information to receive. It is amazing how much people spend on books to help them find the best restaurants, cheapest vacation spots, or colourful foods. It would be in your best interest to check out books at the library to get the information you need.
Another source you can use in the library besides the books is the Internet. You can use the Internet to get facts about your destination if going to the public library isn’t your cup of tea.
Forget going to your local Dymocks and spending $50 on a book when you can get all the information you need and more for free. This will leave you more money to put towards your holiday vacation.
2. Travelling Alone
It can become very expensive to travel alone. You will find that if you travel as a group, there are huge savings to be made. Splitting your accommodation in two, three or even four will save you a big chunk of money and if you do not mind sharing your space you might even have more fun! The price of getting a bigger room is cheaper than getting an additional room. And if you decide to get a cab or a rental car, splitting this cost amongst everyone will make the world of difference.
3. Buying Airport Food
Be sure that your stomach is full before you step through the security gates. The food can be very tempting when you have to wait for your flight. Although you are not allowed to take food on the plane from outside of the airport, you may pack food in a checked bag [Mel’s note: Check with your airline carrier first]. Pack a lunch in a small cooler and as soon as you get off of the plane, you will not have to worry about buying the expensive and overpriced airport food. On the plane, most flights serve a complimentary drink. So, be sure to eat the complimentary snack and drink the beverage of your choice.
4. Travelling During Peak Times
Everyone knows that the majority of the people in this world work on weekdays and are off on weekends. So, if you book your travel on the weekends, you are sure to run into expensive flights. The weekends are considered down time for a lot of people. So, it would be beneficial to you to in a monetary sense to travel during the week, such as Wednesday because the prices should be priced fairly. Some websites have a low fare calendar that tells when flights are the least expensive. While the day of your travel is important, the month of your travel is also important. Do not travel to your destination when you know that most people take that specific time to travel to that place.
5. Booking Too Early
Sometimes it is great to be organized and book early, but on the other hand this can be detrimental. Booking later is favourable because many flights try to fill up the plane, so they tend to lower the prices towards the end of the sale, closer to the date of travel to attract people. [Mel’s note: we certainly found this to be true with accommodation also. By leaving it an extra week or two, the accommodation was a fair bit cheaper]. So, if you decide to book your flight later, it is important to have a hotel already set up. Be sure that you are not going to lose your money if your flight doesn’t work out.
Kristy Alexander is an experienced personal finance and travel writer who loves to combine both her passions. When she is not on the road or at her computer she can be found helping people find cheap accommodation so they can spend more on having fun.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.