A travel and lifestyle blog

Monday, 11 June 2018

Travel hacks: How to save $$$ travelling

It took me a really long time to get serious about saving money abroad. Don't get me wrong, I did always try to find the best rate before I went away but that's where my preparation stopped.

I just used to pay the banking fee for card payments, the additional percentage fee for withdrawals and just accept the lower exchange rates. Why would anyone be so naive? Because it was convenient and to be honest, I just saw it as part of the cost of the trip.

It took me a lot of money to realise...what on earth am I doing? Why am I paying extra to get to my own money?

I was so terrified of credit cards, debts and scared of anything even remotely difficult that I just shied away from it. But there are easy ways to save $$$ and now I'm saving dollars, racking up the air miles and using them for more trips I am pissed off at myself for not doing it sooner. Obviously check the t & c's in full before you sign up to anything to make sure it is right for you but this is just a low-down on what I personally use and love because it suits me best.

Here are my top travel hacks.

1) Flights. The biggest savings can be made before you even leave the ground. I use a combination of Jacks Flight Club, Skyskanner and Kayak. I use all of them and go with whatever is cheapest. Once I went away with a group of friends and as each of us individually booked our flight, the cost for a seat on the plane went up and up...so now I turn on private browser so the sneaky flight companies don't realise I'm interested and rack up the cost.

2) For travel money I use Travelex. I use this for when I need physical money in my hand for things like car hire, taxis and just that initial few days away. I like to have some money with me to tide me over for a day or two in case it takes me a while to find an ATM or in case my bank blocks my card when I try to withdraw in a new place. The rates are always good and the delivery is quick. I don't use for the bulk of my finances, just for those initial few days.

3) For transferring big amounts I use Revolut. It's an app that you top up in whatever currency you have and then transfer to another without the bank fees. A gamechanger. The cards are contactless and I should have got one ages ago. There are a few premium perks but I think the free version is fine.

4) American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card. I use this for the airmiles. There is an annual fee, waived for the first year. There's also a discount on lounge entry which I love. I picked mine after extensive research and absolutely you need to find the one right for you and decide if it is even something you would want anyway because credit cards can be terrible if you don't pay the full fee back every month.

5)Hotel reward nights. I use hotels.com to get 1 night free for every 10 I book. Since I travel so much, it's great. I do sense check the hotels on tripadvisor first though to make sure I don't end up staying somewhere horrid.

6) Knowing when to save and when to splurge. I tend to budget everything carefully before I go away so that I can relax knowing I'm not going to be in an overdraft when I get home.

7) Gadget love. My top gadget hacks (that also just help me blog in general) are:
-GoPro dupe that cost me £50 from Argos and is waterproof. It came with all the add-ons and I couldn't be happier. Of course, I would have loved to get the original GoPro but I don't have the finances for top of the range gadgets all the time.
-Canon Powershot G9X with Wifi. Love love love. I do have a DSLR but it's so bulky and just screams 'HI I'M A TOURIST' a little too loud for my liking haha so I prefer this tiny but brilliant camera instead. The photos are crisp, true-to-life and easily shareable meaning I can quickly edit and post pictures on the go.
-A waterproof wallet for the Canon. Just in case.
-Portable octopus tripod for wrapping around fences and trees for those solo-trip shots. It has a little button which makes it about 10 times easier to get 'the perfect shot'. A complete lifesaver in Hawaii.

Then on the wishlist is this drone for those absolutely insane looking instagram shots.

What are your go-to travel hacks?



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