Ah, January. The month that you spend looking forward to, basically, ANY other month.
For us, January is the time we spend planning our travels for the year.
This summer, we’re leaning towards spending our summer doing a road trip around Cape Cod, or a tour of the Greek Islands. Then we’re dreaming of spending our pre-Christmas 2018 holiday in Colorado.
Obviously, not being gazillionaires, this means we’re going to need to do some careful planning to make our travel budget go further. Today, I’m sharing some of my very favourite money-saving tips wherever you’re hoping to travel in 2018.
Save £25 on Booking.com
My first tip is ridiculously easy – just click on THIS LINK to get a £25 discount on your next booking at Booking.com!
I’ve used Booking.com for many years and I honestly love it. The website is a fab place to get inspired and I love that you can search for accommodation and filter the results by things like WiFi, free parking and proximity to specific locations. Once you’ve made five bookings through the site you also get a “genius” badge, that allows you to access more special rates and discounts.
One of my very favourite things about Booking.com is having the ability to search for hotels that let you pay when you check in. Once you’ve made a booking, you’ll have an easy timeline in your Booking.com account showing how late you can cancel the booking without penalty. This means you can regularly check in for cheaper deals and have the comfort of knowing you can cancel the first booking if you need to.
That’s a tip we used last summer to save over £800 on our holiday to Hawaii – thanks, Booking.com!
If you’re keen on saving cash on your next trip, then here are my top three travel money-saving ideas:
Save your Miles – But Not for Flights
I love airline loyalty programmes but by the time you’ve paid fuel surcharges on top of your “free” ticket, they often start to look a LOT less attractive.
So although we collect a lot of miles, we rarely use them for tickets. If we’re flying Virgin I use our Miles to score upgrades on economy tickets. You can collect Virgin Miles on flights but also on train tickets booked direct via the Virgin Trains website, so we usually have a decent stockpile to draw on.
With BA’s Avios scheme, I more often use our points to get a discount on BA Holidays, or to pay for things like travel insurance or car hire. What I like about Avios is that it lets us have a family account so Flea and I can pool our points to use. Last summer, we got a £500 discount on our holiday to Mexico by using Avios.
Don’t Hire the Sat-Nav
As a single parent, I used to hire a sat-nav with the hire car religiously. After all, when you’re travelling with a five-year-old they’re not too much help when you’re trying to navigate a roundabout in the middle of Italy.
However, we recently took a trip to the Grand Canyon as part of our California Road Trip, and hiring the navigation device for the three weeks would have added over $350 to the car rental. Sure, there’s Internet access thrown in, but I realised that my mobile phone is MORE than adequate to act as a sat-nav when we need it, and can give spoken directions so you don’t need to take your eye off the road.
As a bonus tip we use Orange Feel at Home PAYG handsets which give up to 12GB of data for £25. We tend to take 2 SIM cards with us, and if we still need more data, then we buy local data using GigSky SIM cards bought on Amazon.
Set Up a Price Alert for Flights
Sites like SkyScanner and Kayak let you search for flights by destination, date and number of connections – then compare results from hundreds of different airlines. But that’s not all. Set an alert with these sites and they will email you every time the best price for your flight changes – meaning you can spot the point where prices start to go down as your travel date approaches. As an aside, I only recommend this if a) you have nerves of steel and b) you don’t mind travelling a day early or late if you wait too long and miss out on a ticket.
So there you have it. I’d love to hear your travel tips in the comments and don’t forget – next time you want to book a hotel or apartment, use my referral link to save £25 on your booking at Booking.com!