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Travel on a budget without cramping your style

14 May 2019 | 5 min read
Whether it’s New York, London, Paris or Singapore, there are an infinite amount of travel options for your next overseas trip.

Whether it’s climbing the Empire State Building in New York, going on a Chianti wine tour in Italy or riding the London Eye, there are an infinite amount of options for your next overseas trip. The world is your oyster!

By getting out of your comfort zone you’ll learn about different cultures, experience new surroundings that enhance creativity and try new foods that will change your life. But, travelling can be expensive. Flights, accommodation, spending money – it all adds up.

In saying that, it is totally possible to have a fulfilling experience in the next country on your bucket list, where ever that might be. And, hopefully, you’ll still return home with some money in the bank.

A selection of items you would take travelling such as clothing and a hat

Don’t pay for time

Prices can change depending on the time you book them. Set price alerts on different websites and hold out for sales before booking the longest leg of the flight. So you can plan accordingly, double check to ensure that baggage is included and know ahead of time whether food and drinks are included in the ticket.

When comparing flight prices, check to see whether there are price differences based on your layover times. You can stand to save a few hundred dollars by increasing your layover time from 1 hour to 3 - it might be worth it in the long run.

Choose accommodation wisely

Settling on accommodation is one of the most important parts of a trip. You want to be close to the action but most importantly you need to comfortable, without it costing an arm and a leg.

If you’re travelling on a budget, booking hotels in high-tourist areas is a big no-no. Remember that just because it’s more expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s better.

You often pay more for the postcode than you do the actual service. Your other option is to look at hostels where you can book a dorm or a private room or look at a website where you can pay to stay in people’s homes. It’s usually a lot cheaper and you get to know the locals (and all their favourite spots!).

When looking at accommodation, be sure to also look at public transport options in the city. If you want to stay close to a popular tourist area, look for accommodation that is a 5 or 10 minute train, tram or bus ride away. You could save hundreds and you’ll get to see more of the city.

Become acquainted with public transport

Travelling on a budget means choosing trains over taxis. Familiarising yourself with the public transport system before you arrive can save precious time, money and stress at the ticket machine.

For example, when you arrive in London, you might need to grab an Oyster card. When you’re in Sydney, you’ll need a Opal card. In Japan, your best bet is to arrange your travel pass BEFORE you go to Japan and when you’re at home.

Research how the locals prefer to get around and make that your travel option of choice. Remember, getting lost is part of the fun!

Visit the fresh produce markets or a grocery store

One of the biggest expenses when travelling is food. Think about it - 3 meals a day, plus coffee and snacks, every day while you’re away. Eating out constantly adds up and can wreak havoc on your wallet but on your health. Make visiting a fresh produce market or local grocery store one of the first things on your list when you arrive.

Stockpiling enough supplies for a filling breakfast and snacks will save you more than you realise. Visiting a supermarket in a foreign country should always be a must-do anyway! It’s an interesting and fun way to get to know a culture and what kinds of food they have on their shelves.

Become a flâneur and master the neighbourhood

A flâneur is the art of walking around the streets in enjoyment with little or no specific purpose. Originally coined for wealthy Parisians, the flâneur has taken on a whole new meaning in today’s world.

Set aside some time to get to know your immediate surroundings. Wander the streets and get to know all the local cafés, bars, shops and bookstores.

See if there are any local events coming up that you can get involved in. It might not come with the same initial thrill of scaling the tallest building or visiting a world-class gallery but getting to know a neighbourhood on a grassroots level will leave you feeling more connected to the city as a whole.

Research research research

If you’re excited to get out and see some of the awe-inspiring attractions the city has to offer, the best thing you can do is research them ahead of time.

Most major cities offer multi-pack tickets or online discounts for the most popular attractions that can save you a pretty penny. Some places will offer discounts if you book in advance so be sure to do your research before you arrive.

Ready for departure?

Look into our travel insurance or get complimentary travel insurance on our Qantas Platinum or Platinum Rewards credit cards.

Note: This article contains general advice only. Readers should seek a trusted professional’s advice on financial matters.

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