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Five indispensable tips for the frugal traveller

Last Updated on November 17, 2013

With some time, a little preparation, and real enthusiasm, it is easily possible to save on the cost of a holiday without compromising on a good time. You may only get a few weeks a year, but learning to be a frugal traveler can help you squeeze the most out of your holidays each year.

1. Be a discount demon

Before leaving on a holiday, do your homework with discount comparison websites. Although you probably don’t need to get your teeth whitened or the dog groomed when on a holiday, there are still plenty of relevant vouchers that are a traveller’s best friend. Look for food and accommodation goodies, and discounts for tours, museums, and other exhilarating diversions.

2. Take the scenic route 

Hiring a car in a foreign country means navigating in a new terrain, weather conditions and road rules. Instead, take the stress and cost out of travel, by buying train tickets. One of the most sublime ways to see a country (or a continent) is sitting in a luxury train carriage.

In Europe, the US and Australia, it’s easy to move from A to B staying in mobile digs. Once you’re in a particular city, avoid taxis and car rentals and favour public transport, this means additional savings!

3. Look a bit further for a budget bed 

Heading to Edinburgh for the Fringe? Or to Rio for Carnival? A savvy travel idea is to stay in a neighbouring village or town, instead of in the thick of it with everybody else. This will save enormous amounts of money.

It may mean a slight inconvenience, with additional travel time to get to the big event, but it also means an oasis of serenity far from the hustle and bustle. Another option is exchanging your home with someone in a particular city. Who knows? It could be ‘their’ Barcelona for ‘your’ Brisbane. The vast blue sky is the limit!

4. Munch fuss-free food 

There are several different ways to approach eating when on holiday. You can plan out the meals and hope that your stomach obliges and doesn’t start a junk food mutiny. Or you can give into the occasional urge for juicy, naughty, American food.

Head to the local supermarket and sample local produce there. Attempting local dishes using local ingredients can be very amusing for all involved. The results can range from interesting, to tasty, to just plain weird. In any case a supermarket shop and cook up will save money.

5. Get good flight deals

Airlines are notorious for their last minute, elusive ‘great deals’ on flights. Getting a good deal isn’t rocket science though! There are a number of golden rules. Book in advance and suck it up and accept extra stops. Airlines will knock off around $100-$400 if the flight is booked months in advance.

Returning into the same airport as the one you left from is also good for cash flow. If there are several stopovers along the way, ask the airline if it’s possible to stop for a night or two for the same price. Sometimes it’s possible to see two cities rather than one, and it works out equal (or cheaper) in price.