After a summer of dining out and staying in pretty coastal hotels I´m sharing a handful of my travel hacks.
Back from your Summer Holiday and already missing the sunshine?
Maybe you spent all your holiday money and don´t know when your next city break will be.
Make your holiday money stretch a little further on your next break.
Thrifty Travel Hacks
Save on your Stay
Another of my favourite travel hacks is to save money on accomodation.
Use this link below to get 10% discount off your next hotel stay or apartment.
Once you get back from travelling. 10% of the total cost is refunded to your credit card by booking.com. It´s as simple as that.
Fly with KLM
For Black Friday KLM are offering 20% off Black Friday bookings. (departing from Spain)
This year KLM is celebrating 100 years. It actually the oldest airline in the world. These flight deals are valid for bookings made before 2nd December 2019.
Enjoy 20% KLM Economy class flights taking off for the next 6 months.
- Flights dates up to 30th April 2020
- Bookings until 2nd December 2019 via KLM Spain
- Valid for any destination but must be KLM Spain departures
- Discount Code to apply on booking: BESTFRIEND
Unused Foreign Coins
When you travel abroad you often return with odd coins and notes of other currencies. After many years travelling I have amassed quite a collection of random coins and notes that I will probably never need. Round up the foreign money you have and cash it in with Leftover Currency
So you can exchange a mixture of dollars, pesetas, pesos or whatever currency you like. Gather up your unused coins or notes, you can send them in from anywhere in the world.
This London based company even accepts Spanish Pesetas. Spain moved to Euro currency in 2002 so they are no longer in circulation but Pesetas will be accepted until the end of Dec 2020 by leftover currency.
On their you can type in the different coins or notes you have. The online tool calculates your total. Then it can be paid to you via paypal or into your bank account. This simple and useful system may help you set a little aside for your next holiday. If you prefer it can be donated to Charity. Leftover currency collaborate with 20 different charities.
Watch Exchange Rates
If you are planning to travel abroad in the next 4-6 months its a good idea to watch exchange rates. Particularly in the weeks or months before travelling.
Currencies fluctuate dramatically according to world markets and political situations. So it´s worth taking an interest on the current situation. Choosing the right time to get local currency can have an impact on how much spending money you have on your next trip.
You have to invest the time to monitor this but you can make it worthwhile.
International Bank Comissions
Since living abroad, I have transactions in different currencies. USD, Pounds Sterling, Euros….
At first using my traditional bank, I got stung for quite a lot of money in transfer fees and unfairly high currency conversions.
Even one transaction was totally cancelled as it wasnt the correct incoming currency onto my account.
Multicurrency Bank Account
Now to avoid this I use a Transferwise account.
This german online bank has been a game changer. I have different areas of my account for different currencies. (Similar to paypal if you are familiar)
Planning your Getaway
Other things that can make a difference to holiday planning is booking at less popular times.
- Are the children off school? prices rise on these dates.
- Is it a local holiday or national holiday at the destination you are travelling too. This could also affect hotel availability, deals and even traffic queues.
- Choosing to fly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays rather than Friday can make a big difference to your flight cost.
Other travel hacks such as looking at several airports for departure rather than the closest one to home. Websites or apps such as Kayak or Google Flights offer specific information to find the best flight price.
Get a good deal on flights by booking more than 30 days before the departure date. After that prices can increase greatly.
Train Travel & Groups
Train travel can also be good to plan ahead. Some routes offer early bird or online discounts.
Find out more in this post about Train Booking Apps
For group outings check this Coach hire London for transfers and family travel.
Here´s a practical example:
- Book two nights at Palacio de los Navas, (3 star Boutique Hotel) in Granada historic centre
- Friday to Sunday in October 2018 would cost € 297 for two guests (breakfast included) (that´s 134 gbp per night)
- Once you are back you would receive a refund of 29.70 euros on your card automatically. (almost 27 gbp)
Which Season to Travel?
Depending on your chosen destination high season isn´t always the best one.
City breaks work well all year around.
Beach locations can be great in Shoulder Season (think May, June or Sept – October) when businesses are still open and weather can still be good.
If you know that you want to stay at a specific hotel or use a certain travel company. Sign up to their email newsletter or social media channels. This way you can keep informed of any offers or promotional codes.
Some travel companies may even do competitions for subscribers.
Flash sales are also popular so you may get details of special offers that you wouldn´t hear of by traditional adverts or channels.
Perhaps you want to share a few travel hacks of your own in the comments below?
Like a Local
Food tours are a great way to begin a city break. With Spain Food Sherpas take 10% off your booking with promo code PICCAVEY.
Save money by avoiding the tourist traps after listening to all the insider tips on your tour. They are lead by local in Granada, Seville and Malaga.
When choosing destinations from places included in Bucket Lists and the must see places in 2018… be prepared for those places to be busy and possibly less competively priced. This way you avoid Overtourism, saturated cities and destinations.
Selecting places in the area for your accomodation that are a short drive from the main sights could be a good idea. Just factor in petrol and parking costs to your budget.
For example the sleepy town of Alcala La Real (more details clicking on the link) in Jaen Province (photo above) is an hours drive from Granada, Antequera and Cordoba. So you can enjoy a peaceful authentic town but have fabulous day trips to impressive locations too.
On a trip to the UK I wanted to visit Bath but hotel prices were as high as London prices. So I opted for a hotel in Bristol and took the train ride to visit Bath. This way I had more options to choose from and prices were much lower for similar quality of accomodation.
You will find more infographics at Statista
When travelling you can quickly use up your data. Trying to find your way or using other travel apps.
Wifi Spain is a portable internet service that you can book. Pick up can be arranged in all major airports and transport hubs. This way you can be sure to have internet on the go and not get home to a huge bill for extra data on your phone bill.
Pay by Credit Card
Choosing to pay by credit card can be a good move especially for compensation or refunds if anything goes wrong (cancellations or policy changes etc)
Remember to tell your bank if you are travelling abroad as they may block payments for another country (to prevent fraud)
Take care with contactless cards when you are out and about. Also remember to pay in local currency (not your home currency) this works out will a better exchange rate for you.
Another handy app is Gratitude Tipping which lets you know how to tip in dfferent places. A good source of information especially if you dont speak the local language.
Do you have any Money Saving Travel Hacks?
Planning your travel schedule to make sure you have tickets or passes for the main sights may seem tedious. Some European locations sell out entrance tickets quickly or have very long queues. Of all of these travel hacks this may seem the obvious one but it really can make a big difference.
I usually book ahead of time for the monuments and experiences that I would be dissapointed not to do when I travel.
I recently visited Milan Cathedral Duomo and booked my tickets 3 weeks before. When I arrived the queue was long but they only allowed you into the queue if you had already bought your tickets.
So I was quite pleased that I had already prepared this ahead of time.
The Alhambra Palace is one of the most visited monuments in Europe and tickets often sell out completely. The recommendation is to buy tickets 6 weeks ahead of time to ensure you can visit on the day and time that suits your travel plan. Book Alhambra Palace Tickets ahead of time will save you stress and could save you money too. Some sellers ask for high prices for last minute tours especially at Easter and on Holiday weekends.