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Travelling on a budget

By  AAMI

Here are 10 tips to make your next trip budget-friendly, but still every bit as memorable.

1. Set a budget!

When planning your holiday, it’s a good idea to set a budget so you know what you'll need to spend. Websites like Budgetyourtrip.com can help you calculate the average daily cost of food, accommodation and activities in various destinations. Then, you can prioritise what's important, for example, do you prefer spending more on tours and transport than accommodation? Or will fine dining and shopping be a large part of your trip?

2. Plan ahead or book last minute

Organising your holiday in advance not only means you can take advantage of deals, but also gives you time to compare prices on everything from flights and accommodation to car hire and attractions. Plus, there’s time to research reviews and ask others for advice. Having said that, the next best time to bag a bargain is sometimes at the last minute. Airlines and hotels would rather fill an empty room or vacant plane at a discounted rate than not at all.

3. Get alert emails

If you’re looking for a good deal, sign up for airline emails. Airlines will often email last minute flights or deals on holidays or destinations at a cheaper rate, and if you’re on their email list, you’ll receive a notification first. Same thing goes for travel websites or companies – receive their email newsletters and you could the recipient of a good deal!

4. Cook your own meals

Look for self-contained accommodation so you can save money by cooking your own meals. If the place you’re staying doesn't have a kitchen, see if they offer complimentary breakfast with your stay, as some resorts and hotels do. Another great idea is to visit the local supermarket to stock up on supplies so you can make your own lunch instead of buying it. By saving where you can on quick meals, you can splurge from time to time on a special dinner when you’re out, or other experiences on your travel list.

5. Search for free accommodation

Whether you’re travelling locally or globally, consider swapping houses with other travellers. You stay at their place; they stay in yours; and you both save! Sites include aussiehouseswap.com.au and homeexchange.com. If you have willing friends and relatives, staying at their house is always a good way to save. You can always repay the favour when they come to visit you!

6. Go somewhere different

If there’s a region you’d like to visit, such as Europe, consider visiting lesser-known countries (like Malta, Portugal or Bulgaria) or less-frequented tropical destinations, such as Goa in India or the beaches of Vietnam. If international travel is out of your budget, take time to explore the beautiful remote beaches, national parks and quaint towns that are right here in our own Aussie backyard.

7. Make nature the attraction

There’s sometimes no need to spend up – or queue up – at major tourist attractions (unless it’s on your bucket list), when you can explore beaches, parks and playgrounds, either by walking or hiring bikes. Look into local hikes or walking trails – they’re usually free and a great way to see the country.

8. Ask around!

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, ask the locals for their favourite attractions and foodie spots. It’s likely they’ll be off the tourist map and therefore less expensive. Also look up the local ‘what’s on guides’ or talk to those in the know about free events in the area.

9. Travel together

Consider going on holidays with friends so you can share the cost of accommodation. Hiring a house and splitting the bill can save plenty – as can sharing the grocery bills! Plus, if you all have kids, they can entertain each other.

10. Book online

Whether you need airport parking, a rental car, show tickets or tours always check to see if you can book it online. Many places offer a better deal if you book online. Plus you’ll save time and avoid standing in queues.