Pinching pennies on the go
If you’re planning to step outside your comfort zone and journey to the different corners of the globe, you can do so without coming back penniless.
The key is to save money where you can, Tanya Anderson from Travel Cuts, a National Travel agency that specializes in student travel, said. “So you’ll have money available when you find that perfect souvenir or want to indulge in one of a city’s finer restaurants.”
If you go local you’ll save a lot of money, Anderson said. “Ask the people who work at your hostel or hotel where they eat and what they do for fun,” she said. Guidebooks can also offer interesting insight into restaurants and events, but locals can often provide a more authentic experience. Their recommendations can be cheaper or a better value overall, Anderson said.
Suggested ways to save money on your travels:
1. The Internet is your friend. Whatever you are looking to do, there are many websites out there that can help shop around for the best deals. But don’t just rely on one or two travel websites. Compare prices direct from the airline, train, bus, car rental and hotel too; often they’ll offer their own Internet discount just for booking with them online. Some of the most popular websites are redtag.ca, expedia.ca, and travelocity.ca.
2. Compare vacations packages by doing it a la carte. A pre-packaged vacation getaway can often save you money on the total cost of your vacation. But it only saves you money, if you need or want everything in the package. If the package includes a round of golf at a local course, but you don’t golf, or if it includes an all-you-can eat buffet every night, but you’d prefer to venture out and try the local cuisine, are you really saving money? If you aren’t going to use most, if not all, of the benefits offered through a package, you should compare the prices of just putting together a package on your own, with just the things you need.
3. A flexible schedule can be easier on the pocketbook. If you just want to get away, and can be flexible about where and when you go, you can have a great vacation at a fraction of the cost. A flexible schedule means you can take advantage of all those last- minute deals and packages. Plus, it means you can avoid the higher costs of going to a destination during peak season when deals and discounts are harder to find.
4. Discount discussion. When finalizing your travel arrangements, make sure you mention that you are trying to save money and are wondering if there are any deals available. You don’t know until you ask. Also, some hotels team up with popular local attractions and offer admission discounts. It also never hurts to ask for upgrades; the worst they can say is no.
5. Plan to pack lightly. Packing lightly for your travels can save you money. If travelling by plane, train or bus, you will likely be charged fees for packing too much. Surcharges for oversized bags and for checking more than the allowed number of bags per passenger add up quickly and are an unnecessary expense.
6. Become a coupon cutter. Clipping coupons can really save you money while on vacation. Whether it is for lodging, food, or attractions, coupons save money. And you can find them almost anywhere; online, in local newspapers, at convenience stores, and your hotel or motel. Also, if you’re driving across provincial or state borders, don’t forget to stop at the tourism or welcome centres. You’ll usually find a coupon bonanza!
7. Buy a student discount card. The International Student ID Card (ISIC) costs $22 and can save students hundreds thanks to access to thousands of discounts at home and abroad. Participating companies include Target.com, the Apple Store, STA Travel, hostels, hotels, museums and restaurants around the world. The ISIC card is available at startravel.com.
8. Make sure you have a Credit Card. Paying with a credit card while travelling internationally is something your parents will actually feel good about. Yes, you’ll have a transaction fee (one to three per cent for Visa or MasterCard) for paying with a different currency, but credit card companies can negotiate a better exchange rate than you will be able to get on your own. This largely negates the transaction fees. Using a credit card also helps avoid currency exchange standard fees.
9. A final travel-planning tip you can’t afford to ignore. The last thing anyone wants to think about when planning a holiday is getting sick or injured, but when you are away from home even the most minor injuries or illnesses can become a major expense. So while an accident or illness can happen anywhere at anytime, emergency medical travel insurance helps to protect you from the unexpected costs that can come with a visit to a doctor or hospital outside of your home country