The most commonly asked question I get has to be; “how do you afford to travel so much?”. Of course, a lot of it is part of my job and obviously I don’t pay to do my job. But, there are loads of sacrifices that have to be made in order to have a healthy travel fund for those all important holidays and time off work. So when it’s not a work trip, how do I afford to travel so much?
Here’s a quick post on some of my top tips on saving money for holidays and travelling on a budget. I think even if I won the lotto, I’d still look out for a bargain, so here’s a quick list of the secrets I’ve picked up over the last few years. To read the full version of the post with all my in-depth advice on travelling for less, click here.
1. Saving money for travel:
Experiences over things. I relate most amounts of money to what I could spend it on travel-wise. For example, a friend buys a designer bag and I’m all, “hmmm, that could be a very plush long weekend in Ibiza”.
Less “stuff”, more of these places.
When I’m in savings mode I limit eating out, a week of take-away coffees, lunches out and snacks on the go will easily set you back well over €100. A quick flight search found return flights (more on that later) from Dublin to 26 countries for under a hundred euro. Simple maths and a no brainer. Malta, Croatia or Spain would be my top picks.
Make sure all that money you’re saving is going somewhere safe though. Find out how you could get return flights to Jamaica and two weeks in an all inclusive beach-front hotel (currently €1,322 on falcon.ie) with a very small savings scheme in the full post here. Long-haul flights to the Caribbean and all you can eat and drink on a tropical island for 14 days and nights is much more accessible than you thought!
2. Travel Money:
I never ever travel without a credit card and travel insurance. For anyone studying in Ireland, Bank of Ireland have introduced their Student Credit Card which is easy to apply for online and they offer an emergency cash advance service if you lose your card while you’re away. It also comes with free worldwide multi-trip travel insurance for 120 days. It covers stuff like lost passport or luggage, cancellations, accidents etc.
It’s so important to get the best deal when it comes to travel money or you could end up wasting a lot on unnecessary charges. So, keep an eye on fluctuating exchange rates, check commission before changing money and make sure you’re aware of ATM fees abroad.
I’m living off Lyft and Uber while in the States, you can get your first ride free with these links if you’re a new user of either app; Lyft / Uber. They’re a lot cheaper than regular taxis and you can find the best route using both apps straight from Google Maps.
If you’re planning a road trip in the States, lots of rental places will charge extra for one way drop off fees or add on a surcharge if you’re under 25 which can be very costly! JUCY RV rentals are easily the cheapest form of transport I’ve come across with relocation deals from $1 a day! Plus, you can sleep and cook from the camper van, saving even more money. I’ve just done a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. Have a look at the pics on my Instagram feed…quite the adventure!
If you’re travelling alone, they’re the best place to meet people. Lots of hostels offer free breakfast and deals on day trips and tours. Plus they often have well equipped kitchens where you can make your own meals and share travel stories with new friends over a (cheap!) homemade dinner and some beers from the supermarket.
If communal living isn’t your thing, search ‘entire home’ on Airbnb. I’ve found some really unique places, like this cabin in Tennessee on Airbnb and got really good deals including £25/€30/$35 off your first booking with this link.
5. Food and drink:
Living in a hostel or camper van will sort out cheap food and drink, as you’ll be able to shop for your own groceries instead of eating out for every meal. If you’re staying in a hotel, try find one with free breakfast because a good start to the day can keep you going for hours and save a lot of money. Always, always carry a refillable water bottle. Most airports, bus and train stations will have water fountains and I’ve never been told ‘no’ when I’ve asked staff in a bar, restaurant or coffee shop for a refill. Just make sure it’s empty going through airport security and fill it up airside, you can even ask cabin crew on your flight and avoid expensive and unnecessary purchases of bottled water everywhere you go. That’s one of my favourite ways to save money and travel on a budget and you’ll find ten more hacks here.
This post has been modified from an original article sponsored by Bank of Ireland. All views are, as always, my own.
Lending criteria, terms & conditions apply. Over 18s only. Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.