Having a saving goal can tend to put your travel plans on hold. But what if I told you that it absolutely doesn’t have to? I absolutely love a bargain – just as much as I love travelling – and combining the two to ensure I get to visit new cities, countries and places is one of my favourite things to do. Affordable travel is my favourite kind of travel – here are some of my top five hints and tips. 2021 is the year of saving for that ~dream trip~ since travel is definitely off the tables but here are a few hints and tips I’ve picked up over the years and will be putting straight into practice as soon as it’s safe enough to do so.
Five Tips for Affordable Travel in 2021
Take Advantage of Flash Sales
Hotels and airlines have sales regularly – you just have to take advantage of the sales at the right times. Major airlines tend to have sales in the off-season periods – just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you won’t have a great time. In 2020 (pre-COVID horrors unravelling), my partner and I managed to squeeze in 2 long weekends in Porto and Malta. Spending money excepting, each trip cost less than £200 between us for flights and hotel. I bought flights to Porto in the £5 each way sale meaning our flights were £20 for both of us each way and the Malta trip was booked with £100 off a package holiday – flights and hotels in one go. It pays to plan and have a look at how off-season periods can benefit your travel and bank balance.
Choose a city or town that doesn’t have a massive tourist scene
Some of my absolute favourite places to visit in my life so far have been places that are either off the beaten track or are places that people don’t necessarily flock to. Fancy a trip to Spain? Avoid Barcelona and give Seville a try. Want to have a taste of la belle France? Paris is going to set you back a fortune but somewhere like Bordeaux is much more affordable. Or don’t – everything is possible with the right amount of planning and budgeting. One of my favourite places to go to that tourists don’t seem to be massively drawn to compared to other cities in the country is Nuremberg in Germany. Flying into and staying in a less popular location can also give you access to those pricier cities – book a bus or train into the city for the days you want to visit there so you truly get the best of both worlds. Affordable travel can be done, I promise you!
Try and travel hand-luggage only
Often I find that it isn’t the flights that are the expensive part of travelling to a new place – it’s the cost of the ‘add-ons’ that the airlines force you into. Travelling hand-luggage only is something I am a massive fan of – most budget airlines allow a bag for free, as long as it can sit under your seat. Most of my recent trips have been suitcase-less- if you have a larger bag and take advantage of packing cases, it’s really easy to fit everything you’d need in a small bag. Saving money on your luggage and opting to have a random seat assigned are two ways of reducing the costs when travelling – leaving you with more money for the actual trip.
Eat Like a Local
Eating in restaurants that primarily sell foods that aren’t local delicacies are likely to be more expensive – ask around and see where the locals are eating. When we went to Porto, a restaurant I was dying to visit was a Portuguese tapas restaurant – it had amazing reviews online and when we got there, all of the guests dining inside were Portuguese and there wasn’t a tourist in sight. The food itself was absolutely phenomenal – we ordered more than enough for two, along with wine and we ended up spending around 35€ – including a 5€ tip to our amazing waiter. We’ll definitely go back there in the future and I’m always looking out for local places to eat and drink in whatever places we visit – avoiding the tourist traps most definitely saves you money.
Be flexible with your dates and your location
Use Skyscanner to find the best price in the month you’re wanting to travel in – sometimes, things like school holidays that you might not be aware if you don’t have kids can raise the price from week to week, so using Skyscanner can give you a range of prices across the whole month and allow you to find the most affordable week for travel.
What are your best tips for travelling affordably in 2021? Let me know in the comments!