Budget Travel

Reduce your long-awaited 2022 holiday with these 11 tips

Starting 2022 with the intention of booking that bucket-list trip, only to discover your pockets don't run as deep while you had hoped? Don't despair – there are numerous methods to save money, from home swaps to being savvy with regards to food choices.

Here's our guide to making your travel money go further, so you've more to spend when you are getting there.

Sign up for loyalty programs & charge card bonuses

“It may seem tedious, but it is worth joining every loyalty program you'll find,” says Toronto-based financial and travel expert Barry Choi. Based on Choi, most hotel loyalty programs will instantly provide you with early check-in just for signing up and you may earn points with airlines as long as you're a loyalty member. For example, Expedia gives holidaymakers as much as two points for every $1 spent on flights, hotels, cars, packages and things you can do.

Now is another great time to put your points to good use, according to The Points Guy's Senior News Editor, Clint Henderson: “Use those points and miles you have been hoarding throughout the pandemic."

Some charge cards offer generous sign-up bonuses too. “If a bonus may be worth a minimum of US$200, it's a good card,” says Choi. “You may also think about a credit card that does not charge the conventional 2.5% fee when buying abroad. It might not appear to be a lot but 2.5% certainly adds up with time.”

Get a package deal

You could possibly get a discounts by booking vacation packages instead of purchasing flights and hotels individually. Packages also help to save time by simplifying your travel planning overall. Even though many people visit sites like Expedia or Kayak to reserve packages, some of the best prices can be found by booking directly through the airlines, a lot of whom now offer their own vacation packaging options. Sites like American Airlines' AAVacations.com can be a good way to locate deals which help it will save you money and time.

Avoid unnecessary frills

You may be lured by the promise of low-cost flights, but it's worth taking into consideration whether you really need that priority boarding, extra legroom or seat selection, which can vastly inflate the general cost of your trip. Similarly, you might want to forfeit the in-room massage, as hotel add-ons can accrue your bill significantly.

Setting aside 'fun money' from alternative sources can help you cover some additional travel frills. For instance, squirreling away earnings online purchases on cash-back sites like Rakuten can help to build up a handy pot of vacation money.

Stay at someone else's place

Imagine a holiday without any hotel bill. Some might think you're mad to invite strangers to your home, however, you can't argue with the money-saving aspect of a house swap, particularly when it reaches assets such as cars and lifestyle services like gyms or ski equipment. You also get to live like a local with the comforts of a home.

Members of the house exchange website Love Home Swap have reported annual savings of up to US$3500 on accommodation alone. Yes, you may need to scrub the restroom and clean out those closets, however the risks are small versus the rewards.

Use price comparison websites

Gone is the time when you had to toggle 15 browsers to obtain the cheapest flights. Nowadays price comparison websites can perform the legwork for you, guaranteeing the cheapest price.

If you're not in a hurry to buy your airfare, you can generate a price alert on sites such as Google Flights or KAYAK, that will then email you once there is a price drop. Skyscanner is great for a fast summary of prices, AirfareWatchDog for alerts on cheap deals, and Trivago tops many when it comes to cheap rooms. However, keep in mind excessive card charges, which enable some operators to provide 'cheaper' deals.

Check the best dates to fly

COVID-19 is different a great deal about flying, but some travel advice still is true, the sooner the greater is the mantra when it comes to booking.

The best time to book a short-haul flight is 70 days ahead of time. Consider handles the kind of Ryanair, who often roll out sales on routes 2 to 3 months just before departure. Most Asian airlines set their prices based on their national holidays, which means flights at Christmas and Easter are cheaper.

Another tip is to purchase tickets for dates when tourism is slow. A little research let you know when the shoulder months are for the destination, the time of the year where prices tend to be reduced. Booking during the winter season also tends to yield lower costs.

Consider an all-inclusive stay

The words 'luxury' and 'cheap' don't often match within the same sentence, but going all-inclusive can often mean reaping the reward of the well-planned holiday with lots of luxury benefits at a lower price. You may have to rub shoulders with other wristband-wearing guests doing the conga but spending money on everything upfront means no sneaky surprises on your bill at the end of your stay.

Barry Choi recommends going a step further and booking a tour, given that they often include ground transportation, accommodation, local guides, attractions and meals. He states that every travel company differs, and suggests browsing through a comparison site for example TourRadar.com to help to find one that fits you.

Try split-ticketing your flights

There's no rule to state you have to stay loyal to one airline, or train company for that matter. Two single flights could be cheaper than coming back, and splitting your party can yield further savings. Calling the airline after booking to ensure they link your two reservations can minimize the likelihood of being split up.

Google Flights is a good go-to portal for mixing and matching airlines, out of the box Skyscanner's 'flexible' search tool; it enables you to see the (sometimes cheaper) combined costs for separate flights in a manner that a normal travel agency can't do.

Explore penny-pinching meal options

If breakfast is included in your rate then fill your boots using the buffet (and load on snacks). However the price of expensive hotels dinner, much like the mini bar, is notoriously inflated. You can also save a great deal by booking an AirBnb and making your own meals.

Taking a five-minute walk down some back streets away from key tourist sites can still halve your bill and deliver a much more authentic experience. And there's always street food for cheap, local, authentic fare.

Spring for annual insurance

According to Choi, should you travel three times annually or more, then purchasing annual travel insurance will probably cost you less than buying separate single-trip policies.

“Keep in mind that you might curently have 'free' travel insurance. Many travel credit cards as well as employers offer travel health care insurance, trip cancellation and lost or damaged luggage as a standard benefit. That said, it's important to browse the details of your policy to ensure you have enough coverage.” For instance, backpackers on extended trips longer than 31 days in many cases are excluded from the annual insurance parameters.

Track your prices

Price tracking tools like Google Flights are an easy way to snag unexpected deals on flights to particular destination. Setting an alert for a particular destination will show you when the best money saving deals are available and alert you to any special offers.

In accessory for tracking, Google Flights also provides extensive customization options that may save money for those with no specific destination in your mind. For instance, the site allows “flights to anywhere” searches that demonstrate prices from one location to cities all around the world, within a set time frame.

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