There was a lady from SA, who stayed three nights in Galway
She contracted an affliction, that altered her diction
And now she converses in a strange Irish way.
Guess who went through county Limerick in Ireland? For today’s blog, I thought that I would share some of the ways I use to keep costs down when travelling. I am travelling right now and likely to forget them when I get back home. So here goes –
1. Walking tours are usually cheaper than bus or mini-bus tours. The local tourism office can usually advise you. Even better is to get a brochure with a map of the walking or bus tour and do it yourself for free.
2. Use the local public transport bus to travel to the furthest point of the city or place you are visiting. A day pass is ideal as you can hop on and off at your convenience and make it a day out.
3. Keep dried fruit and nuts to snack on instead of eating at restaurants.
4. If the local tap water is safe to drink, refill a small water bottle, and keep that instead of buying water.
5. You can save on wi-fi costs by visiting a Starbucks or cafe where wi-fi is free. A great way to meet locals and get tips as well as insight into a place. The cafe might even provide a free newspaper.
6. Lonely Planet and Wiki travel have free on-line travel information about most destinations.
7. Read the local newspapers and watch the telly to get a sense of how the people think and what is going on in a country. It’s also handy to get weather predictions.
8. Stay at B and B’s. They are almost always cheaper than hotels. You get things like tea, coffee, soap, towels, hairdryer, TV and wi-fi included in the rate. The sort of stuff you should actually get for free but often don’t in a hotel. B and B’s are usually the same or not much more expensive than hostels and backpackers. And they are safer since you are not sharing rooms and facilities with strangers.
9. Only visit free museums. There are always plenty. Why pay?
10. Choose salad packs and sandwiches from supermarkets over restaurant meals. I buy cheese triangles, fresh fruit and oatcakes for a healthy budget lunch.
11. Book in advance. From flights, intercity coaches and ferries to car hire, you get great savings if you can plan and book ahead of time. I have used Megabus to get from London to Glasgow at £1 for a few years now. There is a window period in which to book. Make sure you don’t miss it.
12. A no brainer is to use a small hired car. It’s cheaper and more economical to run.
13. Check out whether your credit card offers free insurance on vehicle hire and health travel insurance. My medical insurance gives free travel insurance too.
14. Look for on-line booking discounts. I stopped using a travel agent years ago. Booking flights on-line is cheaper and I can make sure I get a vegan meal. Travel agents always forget to do it for me. Why a vegan meal? I can’t bear a heavy meal when flying and I get my food long before the rest of the people on the plane.
15. When arriving at an airport, skip the taxi. There is usually a public shuttle bus that you can take to the central district. From there you should find a bus or train to your accommodation. You can usually find an alternative shuttle service if you do an on-line search. Taxis are my worst for being ripped off.
16. I no longer use travellers cheques or travel cards. I arrange international banking with my bank before I go and draw money from a hole in the wall. The only snag is to make sure you don’t exceed your daily allowance in the local currency. Do some sums before you withdraw. And I pay by credit card as often as possible. It’s much safer and you have recourse if things go wrong. You still pay for a foreign transaction but it is often less and the inconvenience is way less.
17. If you are staying anywhere for a lengthy period then try to self cater. Many places won’t accept a few days in their self catering units but for a week you shouldn’t have a problem. Besides you won’t really save if you buy a box of cereal and a loaf of bread for a day.
18. Look at a pay as you go cellular phone card. And maybe even a wireless “dongle” to keep Internet communication costs down.
19. Check in for your flight on-line exactly 24 hours before. It allows you to whip through the check in counter at the airport and get yourself the best seats. And I mean exactly 24 hours before. It amazes me how the best seats all disappear in a matter of minutes. I once dithered over a seat and it was gone.
20. My last tip is to sit near the front of the plane and sit in the aisle. Why? You get off first after the first class passengers. Sitting in the aisle can mean you get bumped when people climb over you to go to the loo. But it also means you can move around easily to go to the loo yourself.
The last two tips aren’t money saving but what the hell, they make life on the move easier. Going to give my top 20 packing tips on my other blog. Click here – 20 top travel packing tips. For health and safety tips and advice for travel in South Africa visit our website here – tourist travel tips for South Africa.