Travel has evolved significantly over the past 20 years, with many travellers looking for something with more adventure such as walking treks in New Zealand, cooking experiences in Tuscany, cruising on the Mekong River, or travelling through Australia’s beautiful outback.
With all this extra adventure, the need to prepare financially has become even more important. The last thing you want when you come home from a life changing trip is have a large debt hanging over your head. And you certainly don't want to be worried about money while you're away from home.
Here are my 6 ideas to make savings part of your journey
1. Create your dream list
While you are day dreaming about your trip and imagining your travel experiences, jot each of them down and add your estimation of the cost next to each dream item.
Continue to add to this list as your planning evolves, making sure you add in big ticket items such as flights, tours, car rental, accommodation, entertainment, eating out and shopping.
If you find your expenses are getting out of reach, divide them into "needs" and "wants".
2. Set up a dedicated savings account
Do some research and set up a savings account that is easy to use, has a competitive interest rate and has conditions that suit you.
Adding money to this account as often as you can will make you feel more positive about preparation for the trip and reduce financial anxieties.
3. Consider a clean out
Create space in your home and have a clean out. Sell unwanted items at a garage sale, on eBay or gum tree. Any extra income will add to your travel funds and may mean you can make a special purchase on your trip, upgrade accommodation or go on a extra tour.
4. Prepay as much as possible
Pay for accommodation and tours before you go. You will often receive a prepayment discount or better rate if you pre-purchase these items. Just be careful as these type of pre-payments may not be refundable if your trip does no go to plan. So make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully.
Use websites and apps such as TRIVAGO, HOTELS COMBINED, EXPEDIA, BOOKING.COM, HOTELS.COM and AGODA to find the best deals on accommodation. It is also a good idea to become a member of these websites, as you often receive "member only" and "secret deals" and you can save even more on the published price. These sites also have reward programs and you can receive $$$ off your accommodation or even a free night of accommodation.
In my experience it is good practice to always check the hotels website to compare as they sometimes have their own special deals and can sometimes be better then the third party websites.
Apps/websites such as SKYSCANNER, Momondo and Webjet are great to find the best deals on flights. In my experience be careful when booking through these sites as you may need to pay extra for baggage (generally speaking this is only relevant for the budget airlines such as JetStar, Easyjet and Ryan Air which you will pay extra for baggage no matter what website you book through). Again, it is always worthwhile to check the airlines website.
Sky scanner is great as it sorts airfares by price, journey duration and stopovers. It also has a smart algorithm to allow you to travel on multiple airlines to get to your destination at the most affordable price.
Lastly, if you plan to travel to a tourist hotspot there are usually free walking tours around www.freetour.com. These tours are great to give you the bearings of a city you have never been to before. Generally a small tip is expected is you participate in these tours.
6. Consider swapping your credit card for a debit card
Credit cards can sometimes carry additional surcharges, expenses and provide a temptation you don’t need. Debit cards remove that temptation as you can only spend what you have. Another alternative is a specialist travel card which allows you to purchase spending money in different currencies before you leave.