1. Visit the local tourist information office and get brochures for the tours they have on offer. Then do them yourself for free. Walking tours are also usually cheaper than bus tours. Sure, they take a bit longer, but you get to explore a city or the countryside up close and personal, and you get some exercise.
2. Use local public transport. Catch a bus or train to the furthermost end of the city and back to get a sense of what the whole city looks like. A day pass allows you to hop on and off to explore sections of a city.
3. No need to eat at restaurants or cafes. Pack snacks such as dried fruit and nuts in your backpack or buy a sandwich and a bottle of water at a supermarket.
4. Save on Wi-Fi costs by having a coffee at a Starbucks or cafe with free Internet access. They often have free newspapers so you can read the local goings-on.
5. You don’t need to buy a travel guide. Visit your local library to see if they have a travel book for your destination. You can also try Lonely Planet or Wiki Travel for free on-line travel guidance.
|Boulders Beach Simonstown|
6. If local tap water is safe to drink, then refill your water bottle at the end of every day, at your accommodation.
7. B and B’s are often cheaper than hotels and include basics such as Wi-Fi that many hotels consider extras. More often than not, you can stay at a B and B for less, or not much more, than a Backpacker place. And B and B’s are safer than a Backpacker spot, as you are not sharing amenities and rooms with unknown people.
|Town centre Simonstown|
8. You can go online to find out just about everything from where to go, restaurant reviews or weather reports with regard to your holiday location. There is no need to buy local restaurant and wine guides.
9. Eat in your room. Get yourself a healthy take out meal plus a great bottle of wine from a supermarket and skip overpriced restaurants, plus taxis and tips, by eating in.
10. There are always plenty of free museums. Avoid the ones that make you pay.
11. Book in advance. There are often huge savings to be made by booking in the right window period. Think long haul bus trips, train trips, car hire and flights. They all have early bird specials.
12. Many credit cards and insurance companies have free health travel insurance. Find out what you are eligible for.
13. It should be obvious but hiring a smaller car is cheaper and lighter on petrol than a big gas-guzzler.
14. Avoid travel agents. Booking yourself and booking on-line is always cheaper.
15. Don’t look for a taxi when you arrive at your destination. Most major cities have an airport shuttle bus or train service. Use keywords to do an online search for the best one at an airport. We hardly ever use a taxi. Taxis are much more expensive than public transport. Most taxi drivers are surly and unhelpful too.
16. Consider self-catering if you have 3 or more days in one place. You may well find your accommodation comes with a washing machine. You save on laundry costs and its way cheaper to cook for yourself than eating out.
17. Travel credit cards and traveler’s cheques don’t always work out cheaper. You are paying twice to change your money. We pre-arrange with the bank to clear our debit and credit cards so we can use them when we travel. We’ve been able to draw cash out of a “hole in the wall” in locations such as Thailand and India. The only thing to remember is your daily limit.
Do the maths and work out what it will be in local currency. Credit cards are also safer. You can always query a transaction with your bank if things go wrong.
18. Look for holiday specials. A Google search will yield some surprising specials. Use keywords like bargain, specials or budget and see what comes up. Many spas have off-peak rates and shipping companies sometimes do specials when the ships travel unusual routes.
19. We join all the loyalty programs that we can. It costs nothing to fill in the forms. We have managed to score a few free flights and hotel discounts that way.
20. If you are up to it, camping is by far the cheapest way to see a country. It should be obvious; but make sure you pick warm months and avoid the rainy seasons when doing a camping trip.
Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.