50 Ways to Travel Smartly and Save Money

How to make the most of your holiday, without breaking the bank.

We’ve teamed up with the travel blogger Laura Dawson to bring a series of 50 tips that you can actually use that will help you save money. We’re going to show you how to make the most of your holiday, without breaking the bank. Stay tuned for weekly tips!

1. Create a credit and debit card strategy

Tandem Bank Journey Card

Before travelling you should work out a credit and debit card strategy. So that you won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees whilst abroad. If you plan to travel often as I do. Then a credit card that has been designed for travel like Tandem's Credit Card is going to be most beneficial. Plus they offer no foreign transaction fees for taking cash out overseas. Again another question I frequently get asked is ‘is it better to withdraw cash or get cash from a bureau de change?’. It is worth nothing that your bank card will carry the best currency exchange. Therefore, in my opinion, forgo travelling with lots of cash and instead withdraw local currency from the ATM as needed.

2. Set up an automatic savings pot

Apps are incredibly clever these days. If you know you’re heading on holiday why not set up an automatic savings pot. Again Tandem has a really cool feature called ‘round-up’. Spending £16.46 on your debit card and have round-up enabled? Tandem rounds it up to the nearest pound/dollar/euro and transfers the 54p into a savings pot for you. You begin to save for your holiday without even realising. My Nana used to say to me ‘if you look after the pennies hen, the pounds will look after themselves’ and it couldn’t be more true. Jeannie, you were a wise legend.

3. Let’s talk travel money

If you’re insistent on taking travel money because let’s be honest, a lot of people still worry about card fraud or not getting the ‘best rate’ with cards and hidden charges...I’m eye-rolling at my boyfriend here. Do make sure that you keep an eye on the fluctuating exchange rates before you travel. Search the internet for the best currency deals and ‘currency happy hours’. Usually, anything over £500 gets you a slightly better exchange rate. And sometimes different places will try and incentivise the sale. Such as free £5 extra when you spend so much or free next day delivery. Try and avoid purchasing any currency from the airport exchange desk. As this is usually a lower rate as they take a higher commission. It’s far better to be prepared with your money strategy before you travel.

4. Keep an eye on the News headlines

Of course, the whole Brexit situation has impacted the pound massively. Remember the days when it was $2 to £1? Yeah sweet, sweet memories. Take interest in the financial headlines and seek countries where the currency has recently dropped against the pound sterling.

5. Time your travel strategically

If you can avoid peak season to travel, you’re going to be able to take advantage of lower costs for travel and accommodation. ‘Shoulder periods’ is a great place to start when thinking about travel. These are basically the best off-peak travel times of the year. These are usually when the schools go back in September. In early January after New Year and in April after Easter and Spring Break. Discounts are to be had around this time period as it’s not a popular time to travel.

Of course, these ‘Shoulder periods’ change in different countries so choose your destination by checking online deals. For me, I’ve found that if I can just get up and go the next day I tend to pick up some really cheap last-minute deals. Like last year’s 4 nights flights and hotel in Ibiza for £110 per person.

Go for the latest possible dates if you must travel in the school summer holidays. Typically the last week in August or the first in September are normally significantly cheaper than the rest of the Summer holiday period. Similarly, travelling in October half term is a good time to travel. As it is a funny time of the year for the Mediterranean. The Canary Islands such as Tenerife and Lanzarote, Morocco, or Florida are ideal places to visit in October.

6. Be flexible with your travel

I know it sounds contradictory to the above. However, if you know roughly when you’re going to travel if you are flexible by a few days either side of the initial travel date you can save money. It also might work out the same price or cheaper to travel for 8 or 9 nights instead of a week. If you have the time then why not spend an extra few days enjoying a different country.

7. Take night flights

Your alarm going off at 2 am or 3 am is often tragic. Sleep to me is super important when travelling. However, if you’re happy to take flights at obscure times you will see the price drop significantly. Be flexible with your flight times especially long haul as this could save you big bucks. You usually find these savings Monday and Thursday-Sunday.

8. Fly mid-day, midweek

If you choose to fly midweek as in Tuesday or Wednesday then flying midday will save you money. As most early morning or late evening flights on commuter routes are more expensive. Such as the early morning 8:40 am flight from Newcastle to Southampton. Or the similar timed BA flight to Heathrow. As the demand for businesses requiring these seats is greater, therefore, the price is pushed up.

9. Avoid unnecessary frills

Budget airlines want to upsell additional add ons that cost them nothing such as priority boarding and seat selections. Before booking, consider if these extras are really worthwhile. Usually, standard airlines will sit you together (especially if you are with children). However, budget airlines sometimes have a habit of splitting passengers up to make additional revenue.

Tip: Sometimes this works. Leave checking in online until the last minute. Often the standard seats are all taken and you end up in the seat with additional legroom sat next to your travel buddy for no additional fee. This doesn’t always happen, however, the few occasions I’ve tried this, coming back from Warsaw and Lanzarote it has worked.

10. Travel by coach

Okay, go with me here. It isn’t glam and it does take a lot longer than flying or train. However, if you can travel by coach you can save up to 300%. This is compared to traveling by other modes of transport to your destination. In fact, there are a lot of companies that build holidays for solo travellers looking to meet other solo travellers who travel by coach on a road trip.

Want to get more tips from Elle? Check out her blog [here. ](https://elleblonde.com/ "Laura Dawson)

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