Golden budget tips, isn't that what we are all looking for?
None of us won the lottery, we're just trying to pursue our dreams with the resources we have. We have all experienced that making the wrong choice can significantly affect our travel budget. A good preparation for your journey can therefore prevent a lot of problems! These tips will put you on the right track!
The last five years we also took some steps in being financially independent. You can find our tips here!
1. Book early
This is really a golden tip. Decide where you want to go about a year in advance. Then keep an eye on early bird discounts. For example, if you want to travel in the summer months, the interesting promotions are starting around October of the previous year. If you haven't booked for January you can be sure that the interesting bargains are over. Every now and then there is an exception, but then you really have to count on a decent portion of luck ... And another small fact: research has shown that tickets are cheapest if you book them on a Tuesday!
2. Compare Compare Compare
It is good to remain loyal to an airline, travel agency or hotel, but by doing this you will miss out on many promotions from other organizations. There are many websites that specialize in comparing, or bring together certain products what makes it easy to compare. Here are some examples:
Vliegtickets.be is an easy way to compare prices of plane tickets. Unlike some others, They include ALL airlines in their system, so you get a complete overview which makes it easy to follow up on all promotions.
I am also a huge fan of the Connections website. They have a fantastic tool to compare flight prices. You can create a grid with prices for a period of week around the date you want to leave and return and this from multiple airports. For example, we were looking for a flight from Brussels to LA, but we found out that leaving in Düsseldorf instead of Brussels with a stopover in Amsterdam would only cost us half the price Brussels-LA.
And of course the good old Booking.com. This website has helped me out a lot when unexpected situations occurred. You can find good last minute deals here of book way in advance and cancel without costs when your plans change. There is a lot of flexibility here what makes it perfect when you like to adjust plans while traveling!
3. Credit card
Use your credit card whenever you can when booking planetickets, hotelrooms or other stuff online. When you are abroad you avoid unnecessary costs. But many types of credit cards give you insurance on everything you buy. So if you buy a coffee machine that turns out to be broken afterwards, you can use your credit card insurance. But also canceled trips can be reimbursed in this way. Very handy in uncertain times such as now with the corona!
Also check out if your credit card partners with hotels, airlines,... you can get great deals if they do so!!
Do you also tick the box '+ 2.5% insurance costs' when you book airplane tickets? Or do you choose '+ 7% insurance costs, all inclusive'? Do not do it! Never again!
Have you ever added up the total amount you spent on insurance costs? Have you ever needed this insurancy? Then you have probably noticed that the reason for which you needed them was the one that was just not included!
We have been taking an annual insurance for a number of years now. Which means: for the whole family, all travels included, including car trouble, including accidents at home. Since that time I have been hospitalized twice on vacation, once in US and once in Europe, where I had to return home early. The insurance company paid all costs and I didn't have to worry about the financial side! Unfortunaly I can also add a serieus skiing accident to my list: a rescue operation, hospital and a flight back home... and no worries about the financial side of the story. That's what insurancy is for, isn't it?!?! There are a few 'good ones'. We have the 'world gold' from Allianz, and been grateful for our choice more than once!!
5. Public transportation is adventure you don't want to miss!
Let's face it: in many countries public transport is more of an adventure than a reliable way of getting around, but it can save you a lot of money. In many cities, like London, Paris and New York, the subway is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city quickly. In Thailand and Indonesia, for example, we also traveled by train and bus. This was mainly fun, it was not very efficient. It is certainly worth trying out local means of transport!
6. Packing is an art
Packing can be a difficult and stressful activity. If you make a list once of everything you should definitely have with you, you can use it over and over again, and maybe finetune the list until it's perfect for you. In this way you do not have to buy everything you have forgotten when you're traveling. It can also help to invest in good material once. Investing in quality will save you a lot of money in the long term and if you also take sustainability into account, you can help to make the impact of traveling on the environment less significant! A win-win!
My tip to keep everything organized during a trip are packing cubes, a game-changer when you travel with kids!
7. Package deals
Sometimes airlines partner with hotels, which results in very competitive prices. In Thailand we got a place on the nighttrain Bangkok-Chiang Mai this way: the train was fully booked but we got four places because there were package places train+hotel.
8. Be creative
Dare to think out of the box! For example: Have you ever tried to book the outward and return flight with different airlines? No? That's too bad! Doing this can save you a lot of money! I often book a one-way flight with TUIfly, they often have very good promotions. But these promotions are often only for flights during a specific week or even only on a specific day. So I book one of the two flights on the promotion day and choose a different airline for the other flight
9. Talk to the locals
The locals can give you golden tips. They know the small, cozy and cheap restaurants, know if there is another entrance at that tourist hotspot so that you can enjoy it in peace, they may give you a free lift or invite you to their home, these are the experiences that are priceless!
Fancy restaurants look very beautiful and are very 'Instagrammable', but you should also try street food. You really get to know a country with it. You see how it is prepared, and you will rarely get sick of it. And above all: it usually costs very little compared to restaurants!
11. Avoid touristic hotspots
Of course you also want to eat paella in Barcelona or an ice cream in Rome. But when we got the bill for four small ice creams in Rome, it was 75 euros (about 90 dollars). This pretty much says it all: as a tourist, you're seen here as a walking dollar bill. You are taken advantage of, you are deceived, and you go home with an empty wallet ... Visit a less touristic city, often just as beautiful, but you can also just enjoy it without having to be on your guard all the time!