So you wanna travel more? You look at your Facebook feed, you look at your debit card balance and you quietly weep. ‘How the hell do these people afford to go to so many places?’ Apart from a few lucky exceptions, they plan, plan, plan.
1. The “Everywhere” option in flight search engines.
Many of my travels so far have been a matter of choosing a convenient time frame and just searching for the cheapest flights departing from London and leaving the destination empty. Twenty quid a return to Gothenburg, Sweden? That’s less than dinner for one in Central London. Keep an open mind and let the search engine decide for you.
2. Take advantage of your stopovers.
Why not buy tickets that give you 12 h to explore a city? Most of the time they are cheaper than direct flights and you get to see a new place. Some airlines, like Icelandair for example, allow you to extend your stopover for up to seven days for free.
3. Use Viator for research but book your day-trips and tours locally.
More often than not you’ll find better deals this way.
4. Stay at friends, friends of friends, hostels, Airbnb, family run bed and breakfast businesses to save a few pounds.
Needless to say, staying at the most expensive hotels is not the point of travelling. Sure, it’s OK to splurge from time to time, but some of my best travel memories imply sharing a double bed and a mattress between 6 people.
5. Check out Groupon, lastminute.com and other deals websites.
In London I never pay a full price for a theater ticket, lastminute.com is my best friend for that. The same goes for afternoon teas, fancy meals in Kensington and Knightsbridge and so on.
6. Ask for advice.
Don’t let a bit of envy overwhelm you. Ask your well travelled friends and acquaintances how they do it and in most cases you will receive some sensible tips.
7. Avoid August and December for holidays.
If you really want to save some money then avoid these months for travelling. If you do it anyway be prepared to fight crowds and drop a few pounds here and there.
8. Try multi-city trips.
This one is easy: for example, instead of travelling once to Finland, once to Estonia, once to Lithuania and once to Latvia, why not start in Tallin and come back home from Helsinki. Buses from one capital city to another are cheap and fast and you get to see so many places in one go.
9. Learn to read maps.
Before buying plane tickets check to see if there is any other low-cost airport within a couple of hours drive from your destination.
10. Don’t overpack.
The more you travel, the more you will realize you don’t really need 10 pairs of jeans and 5 pairs of heels on your holiday. Learn to get by with a backpack and you’ll save on luggage fees.