20 money saving travel tips and secrets that actually work
From booking flights to fine dining: find out how to save money on holiday. Why pay more than you need to on travel? Cut costs and travel cheaper with Skyscanner’s 20 top tips for slashing the price of your holiday.
How to save money on flights
- Travel at cheaper times
- Travel off peak
- Search for flights 'Everywhere' using Skyscanner
- Fly indirect
- Hack the baggage fees
1. Travel at the cheapest times
The price of flights varies considerably depending on the month, day and even time of travel. Skyscanner lets you compare flight prices across a whole month meaning you'll be able to see the cheapest days to fly, saving you a potential packet. Avoiding the weekends can make a huge impact on the price of flights. Why not compare travel from a Wednesday to Wednesday rather than a Friday to Friday. Using Skyscanner's handy search tool, you'll be able to see a graph view of the cheapest days of the week to fly. Sign up for Skyscanner's free Price Alerts emails to monitor the price of a flight you're interested in.
2. Use Skyscanner's 'Everywhere' tool to find the cheapest flights from any airport
Don’t mind where you go as long as you can get there cheaply? Then use Skyscanner's 'search everywhere' option which lists the cheapest flights from your local airport in price order. Get the full guide on Skyscanner's 'everywhere search' feature right here, and make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to travel planning and holiday budgeting.
3. Travel in low season
If you can avoid it, don't head to Australia for Christmas or to Spain just as school summer holidays begin. Travel off-season and you're sure to find better bargains. Much of Europe still has beautiful weather come September, but with kids back at school, flights will be cheaper and your destination a lot less crowded.
4. Fly indirect
If money is more important than time, then consider a flight with a stop-over. Skyscanner allows you to search for indirect routes (as well as direct) which are often a far cheaper option. The Skyscanner multi-city flight search allows you to search for multiple destinations at once.
5. Mix and match your flights
Using Skyscanner's 'flexible' search tool allows you to mix and match your airlines to find the cheapest price, and the times that suit you best. You can save money by flying out and back with different airlines or from different airports. Take a look at our article on saving money with split fare flights for more information.
6. Pre-book airport parking
If you need to leave your car at the airport for the duration of your trip, be sure to book your parking well in advance. Booking on the day is normally much more expensive.
7. Fly from an alternative airport
Even though there may be an airport on your doorstep, don't rule out the possibility that it may be cheaper to fly from one slightly further away. It may work out cheaper, even with the cost of a train or bus ticket to reach the alternative airport. Use Skyscanner's 'nearby airports' search feature to see how much it costs to fly from various airports.
8. Bring your own food on board
- Can you bring food when you fly?
Yes. So long as the foods aren't liquid (soup, humous, yoghurt), it's fine to bring snacks and sandwiches. This will also save you a small fortune compared to the in flight menu.
9. Beat the baggage fees
If you're worried about excess baggage charges, why not wear your extra items instead of cramming them into your case? There are some fantastic products on the market that let you take additional belongings on your person ensuring they won't count as excess baggage. A luggage jacket combined with a good hand-luggage bag will get you the absolute maximum amount of luggage on a plane, without having to pay any check-in costs. Don't know where to start? Here's our guide to wearable luggage.
10. Weigh your luggage before you leave home
Some of us get to the airport to find we're over our baggage limit and end up paying puffed up charges. Avoid this by weighing your bag before you leave home and take out any unnecessary items if you find you're over the limit.
How to save money on accommodation
- Try home swaps
- Check out private rooms in hostels and houses
- Research our budget-friendly guides
11. Home swaps
If you want to go on holiday but are sick of the usual hotel chains and expensive, soulless rooms then why not consider a home swap? It will cost you virtually nothing, as the name 'swap' suggests, and you get to visit a new country whilst enjoying all the comforts of home.
2. Try a private room instead of a hotel
Over the last few years there’s been an explosion in websites that allow locals to rent out their sofas, spare rooms, whole apartments and even gardens! Sites like AirBnB have transformed accommodation options, and for travellers, the experience can be far more rewarding than a stay in a chain hotel, as well as being cheaper. Where else could you stay in central London for £10 a night? Well, you might just find a bargain in our list of London's best cheap sleeps.
13. Do ‘chic on the cheap’
Notoriously expensive destinations like Paris or New York needn't be out of reach for those on a budget. There are plenty of ways to rub shoulders with the glitterati without spending like them; cheap hotels, hostels, and value eateries all allow those on modest budgets to enjoy a visit to these destinations too. For thrifty travel inspiration, check out our budget city guides for destinations like Budapest, Copenhagen and New York.
How to save money at your destination
- Use apps to find the best discounts
- Eat like a local (street food!)
- Save money on the exchange
- Volunteer and travel
- Work whilst travelling
15. Don’t worry - be ‘appy’
In the era of technology and gadgets, your smart phone can be a handy money-saving travel buddy. There are apps on the market for everything including: travel guides, maps, phrasebooks, and even torches! Download these and you'll save not only a wad of cash on paper travel guides, maps and phrasebooks but also a lot of space in your case meaning less chance of excess baggage charges. Remember to download the free Skyscanner app and also check out our favourite travel apps.
14. Eat like a local
Not only is tasting new cuisines part of the joy of travelling but you're likely to eat far better as well as saving money, when you eat like a local. From $1 bowls of noodles in Vietnam to backstreet French bistros, produce is usually locally sourced and tastier, rather than imported. If they've had to ship a tin of baked beans 4000 miles, it's not going to come cheap! Another top tip is stocking up from the hotel buffet breakfast and shopping in local supermarkets for lunch. Find street food to savour, no matter where you're off to, with this guide to the world's best cheap street eats.
16. Save on foreign currency exchange
Withdrawing money abroad can cost a lot in charges. Although using a debit card can be cheaper than a credit card, be aware that most banks will charge for each cash withdrawal on top of a commission fee. Best practice is to take out larger sums so you're charged less frequently, only take care and don't keep all your money in the same place. Also, keep an eye out for Travelex's Happy Hours when they offer discounted rates when ordering money online which tends to be cheaper than waiting until you get to the airport or buying locally. Getting your currency before you arrive at the airport is also a way of securing the best rate you can and works out a lot cheaper. For more money saving tips on changing up your hard-earned cash, here's our guide to everything you need to know about getting the best deal on foreign currency.
17. Go Abroad. Get paid
If you're off on extended travels it's possible to entirely fund your trip or even come home with some extra cash in your pocket if you're able to work as you travel. From grape picking, to English teaching, there’s a whole host of options available.
18. Volunteer to travel
In an era where more of us feel a sense of social responsibility than ever before, helping the world's most in-need is both an inspiration and a chance to see the world, often by paying with your time rather than your money. With so many opportunities out there from trips that last a few weeks, to two years or more, everyone can discover new places and do their bit for building a better future. Make sure you choose the right project for you and read our tips on how to make the biggest impact on your volunteer holiday.
More money saving travel tips 👉
19. Cheap ski holidays
Love skiing but get nervous about the mounting costs? Fear not, there are many ways to cut the costs of a snow trip. Choosing a cheaper resort, a cheaper time to ski and cheaper accommodation will allow you to enjoy the mountains for less. Get more tips on DIY and cheap(er) skiing holidays over here, and use this handy flight finder tool to bag a cheap flight to the snow.
20. Get cheaper travel insurance
Taking out an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy is cheaper than buying on the spot insurance for a single trip. And, once you get a good deal on travel insurance, don't go voiding your cover by making any of these silly mistakes.
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