Everybody loves a holiday, right? If only they were a little lighter on the pocket. If you don’t have an unlimited budget to spend on your next overseas jaunt, consider the following money-saving tips to rein in your holiday spending.
Let your credit card pick up the insurance tab
Travel insurance can add hundreds of dollars to your holiday bill if you’re travelling alone, and a lot more if you are covering an entire family. A good way to save is to opt for a credit card that includes travel insurance as part of its features.
“Many gold and platinum credit cards automatically offer this service,” Alex Parsons, CEO of RateCity.com.au, said.
“And although these reward cards tend to charge higher fees than standard credit cards you can still reap the savings if you are a frequent flyer.”
Pick your dates
Travelling during peak seasons can be up to 30 percent more expensive than at other times of the year, as flights, accommodation, car hire, and even restaurant costs rise accordingly.
If you’re going overseas, save thousands of dollars by travelling at off-peak times. The timing can vary depending on your destination, but if you’re heading to Europe it is always worth avoiding the more expensive northern hemisphere summer months of July and August.
Swap to save on accommodation
You can save all your accommodation costs by signing up for a house swap with like-minded people who happen to live in a city or destination you’re keen to explore.
There are several dedicated websites that specialise in house swapping – for example, check out House Swap Holidays and HomeLink Australia – or simply swap with friends interstate. Add an extra level of ease by swapping cars, as well. Insurance is usually covered if you use a dedicated website, but check with your insurance company if going it alone.
Choose the right money option
Using a credit card overseas is a convenient way to pay for your expenses, but you should minimise your reliance on credit if you are aiming to save money. That’s because your lender will slug you with a hefty currency conversion fee each time you make a purchase on your card. This can cost up to 3 percent of the total value of the transaction. You can avoid the currency conversion fee by shopping around for a credit card that has no conversion fee.
Using your debit card will also incur conversion fees as well as local and international ATM fees.
“A travel money card, a popular option now offered by all banks, is a cost-effective alternative,” Parsons suggested.
“You pay a small fee for the card but you avoid currency conversion fees and there are no transaction fees on purchases.”
If you use up all the money on your card, you can easily reload it online from your overseas destination.
Manage our data costs
Unless you are happy to pay exorbitant amounts for the privilege of constant connection, turn off data roaming, cellular data and 3G on your phone and leave them off.
You can still use WiFi to connect to the internet – you’ll find most hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes overseas offer free WiFi to customers. If you would like to talk to friends and family back home, tap into free WiFi and use apps such as Skype and Viber for cheap or free video calls and texts back home.