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How to travel on a budget

Your guide to saving the pennies on your trip.

As the old saying goes: look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

So whether you’re going on the trip of a lifetime or a last minute weekend away, you want to be able to enjoy yourself whilst getting the most from your travel money.

With this in mind, we joined forces with Skyscanner to bring you our top money saving tips to squeeze every last drop out of your next holiday budget. 

Flights

Since they’re likely to be the biggest expense on your trip, it’s always worthwhile to put a little extra time into finding the best flight possible for you. Search engine sites like Skyscanner are excellent for doing all of the hard work for you, searching across a ton of airlines and bringing you the cheapest prices overall.

When you’ve found a few flights to compare, make sure that you think about the whole picture. Flights are often cheap because they land at inconvenient airports (meaning you’ll have to pay extra for transport once you get there) or because they plan on charging you extra for everything from luggage to food. Take all of these added costs into account and total up the full amount before you buy.

Flights

Accommodation

When it comes to finding accommodation on a budget, you’ve got a few great options. The popular choice for cash-strapped travellers around the world is the hostel, and these days, hostels are friendly, clean and comfortable places to stay. Check out Hostelworld for great prices and a wide selection of choices.  

Over recent years, the rise of the sharing economy means that sites such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing have rocketed in popularity. Airbnb gives you the option to rent a room or an entire accommodation from a local, often for prices that are much lower than hotels, whilst Couchsurfing helps you to find places to stay in a local’s house. 

Accommodation

Food

Revelling in the hearty food and drink of your destination is a huge part of any trip, but there are still ways to save your money here without missing out. Eating out every night can soon add up, and a simple way to cut the costs is by taking a trip to the local supermarket and picking up some food to make your own lunch or dinner for a few days of your holiday. You could even visit a local food market and pick up some delicious fresh produce to enjoy.

Street food is also a great way of savouring the delights of local delicacies without breaking the bank. Try your hand at eating like a local and you may just be surprised at the delicious food you'll be served! 

Food

Transport

Although it might seem easy to grab a taxi everywhere you go, don’t be scared to try the local transport. Whether you take a bus or jump on a train, you’ll often save yourself huge amounts and you’ll soon find that most public transport will take you exactly where you want to go anyway.

If your destination allows, walking is also a great mode of transport that allows you to take in the sights and sounds of wherever you are in the world. The only exception to this is at night, when it might be worth splashing out on a taxi home if you’re not sure about safety. 

Transport

Free activities

Whether you’re heading to a bustling city or out on a countryside escape, there’ll always be some free activities for you to enjoy. Most cities will offer free walking tours, which are a great way to get a feel for a place and learn your way around. What’s more, there’ll often be free museums to visit or exhibitions to enjoy – and if they’re not free, you can often buy a tourist card, such as the Paris Pass in Paris, to at least make them cheaper.

One thing that’s always free is the great outdoors. Spend the day at the beach or pack a picnic and enjoy the sunshine in the park; you won’t be spending much money and you’ll get to people watch to your hearts content. 

Free activities

Money

With a little bit of planning, it’s easy to stay on top of your spending. Before you go, keep an eye on the exchange rate for your destination and look out for the best time to buy your currency – our Travel Rate Tracker is a great way to do this, and don't forget to keep track of the exchange rate whilst you’re away, in case it changes and you end up spending more or less than you think.

Order your currency online before you go and you’ll often get much better rates than when you arrive at your destination. Or if you prefer plastic to cash, you could try using our Supercard to spend abroad without any bank card roaming fees.

Money