After 16 years of travelling for a job (pffft, yes I call it a job!) I have learned a few tips and tricks on how to stretch my hard earned cash so that I have more to spend on an experience or a fabulous meal. Or just for shopping!
So here are some of my top tips on how to save money travelling:
1 Choose your airport
If you use a booking site like Skyscanner or Expedia you’ll see a choice of possible airports. I needed to get to Miami recently but left it too late. Gulp! The prices were going up by the day into Miami International Airport. Instead I chose to fly into Fort Lauderdale and saved $400 each! Then we got an Uber to South Beach for about $40. Boom!
2 Book a package holiday
I’ve been attending huge international travel trade shows for the past 12 years and have seen how it works. Buyers from the large travel agencies and wholesalers sit down with hotels, airlines and activity operators and they work out a deal. They buy in bulk, then they come home and package them up into holidays and sell them to you and me. Consequently the deals they can offer for say, 5 nights on the Gold Coast in an ocean front room, are going to be a lot cheaper than you buying the same flights online and then booking the hotel separately.
3 Buy a meal plan
The biggest sting to your wallet after a week in a fancy resort will be your food and drink bill. But don’t worry! If it’s available when you book – or even when you arrive – buy a meal plan to cover you at least for breakfast. And eat up large so you can skip lunch! This really only matters if you’re on a remote island but meal plans are a cost-effective way of dining. And resort breakfasts are usually amazeballs!
4 Be clever with your cabin luggage
In America it seems you can take your entire suitcase on as carry on – and what pandemonium in the overhead bins. But in New Zealand your 7kg cabin bag can be 9kg with a laptop. Plus you get a “free” handbag. We girls know this, but for guys, you can take a “manbag” over your shoulder as well as a cabin bag – and that can fit a lot of stuff if you know how to pack!
5 Clip the coupons!
Especially in cities like Las Vegas, you’ll find tourist magazines in taxis and various hotels/motels/attractions. Inside is a veritable savings bank of discount coupons to rip out and take with you: $5 off firing a machine gun?, extra discounts at the outlets?, $4.99 for the buffet… ok, maybe not the buffet.
6 Join loyalty programs
I never take a flight without making sure I claim the free airpoints. I’m also a member of hotel loyalty programs and I don’t think I’ve paid for a domestic flight in New Zealand for years! I mean I’m not a member of every little thing, but I am with Star Alliance, Velocity, Southwest and Hilton Honors. So far…