August 1, 2013

5 Ways to Take a Thrifty Break Abroad

Money is always tight, more so for the last few years. However, you can still save on travel costs if you follow these five alternative ways of making those pounds give you more.

Get a City Pass

Cities are exciting places to travel. Filled with culture, people, and lots of history, you will always find something to do. A city pass will give you access to some of the most coveted tourism features at a discount rate, allowing you to enjoy your time for much less.

Most big cultural cities have a city pass on offer that gives you access to their major museums, tourist attractions, and more often than not unlimited travel on public means. Some like the Paris City Pass even give you discount shopping and wine tasting!

That should whet your appetite to travel to Barcelona’s lively city and indulge yourself in culture and history. With the Barcelona card, you get discounts to 80 museums, cultural activities, shops, and other entertainment venues. You also get free transport within the city area. For better value, buy it before you arrive in the city for free airport transfer as well. Great value for money!

Get a good deal on travel insurance

Travel insurance is a necessary evil: those expenses that you must take, even though at times you wonder what for. However, if you have ever needed to claim the money because your child got sick while travelling, you will appreciate how important it is.

A good travel deal ensures that you pay only for what you need to. The first step should be to identify what your other insurance covers can pay for. If you have international health insurance from your company that covers your holiday travel, then don’t double pay. Your home insurance covers your luggage on transit, then it doesn’t make sense to pay twice for it.

If you travel a lot, then it is worth considering getting annual travel insurance cover. This will turn out to be cheaper for you in the long-run.

Book early

When you book early, you can take advantage of “early bird” discounts offered by hotels, property owners, and tour operators. This has the twin advantage of allowing you to pay slowly over a long period, a lighter burden for your pocket as well. Booking your plane ticket early allows you to save on air fare as well, especially if you plan to travel during peak periods.

Go with a local tour operator

Exploring where you are travelling can be an exciting affair. Many tourists prefer the security of travelling with internationally renowned travel agents. While this is perceivably safer, it comes at a hefty premium price.

Using a local tour operator can seem like somewhat of a risk, but it can be immensely rewarding. Local tour operators are cheaper, but more often than not very friendly and eager to please. They will hand you to a local guide whose knowledge of the area extends well beyond the traditional tourist circuit. You will make life-long friends, and ultimately enjoy a richer experience. A great advantage is that you know that tourism money is benefitting the local community directly as well.

A caveat: ensure that you thoroughly research before committing your money to the tour operators. Read reviews, do background checks, and ask around. While cheaper, the risk of getting poor service is much higher.

Get direct deals

Dealing with agents will have you paying more for your holiday. No one works for free, and the premium paid for commissions could easily be saved. Instead, deal directly with your service providers. Book your hotel directly, get your air ticket done yourself, and avoid third party websites advertising attractive discounts.

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