Money Saving Travel Tips

Here are my money saving travel tips to how to save on travel. I reckon if you travel regularly you could save some serious cash by using my tips.

Avoid Airlines Booking Fees

Ryanair seems to be the worst culprit for high card payment (aka admin) fees of £6 per person per flight. Until 30 October 2011 you can avoid these charges if you pay by using any Mastercard prepaid debit card. However, from 1 November the only way to avoid these charges will be to pay with a Ryanair branded ‘Cash Passport’ Mastercard prepaid debit card.  A Visa Electron card saves you the booking fees with many other airlines such as easyJet and bmibaby.

Minimise Communication Costs

Whether you just want to keep on touch with friends and family, or are a blogger like me who needs to keep on top on business when you’re travelling, you don’t want to end up with a massive mobile phone bill for calls or data after your trip. There are ways to make free calls from your mobile phone, computer or a landline. Even if your hotel claims to provide free WiFi it may not be that reliable and you might want to go online when you’re out and about. I found the Vodafaone European Euro Traveller to be good. You pay £3 a day to use your UK allowance in most European countries.

Reduce Overseas Transactions/ATM Withdrawal Fees & Charges on Cards

UK residents can minimise overseas transactions and machine withdrawal fees by using a prepaid debit or currency card (one of these, a Mastercard prepaid debit card could also save you the Ryanair booking fees). An even cheaper option is the Halifax Clarity credit card which has no overseas transaction or ATM withdrawal fees/charges but you do have to pay interest on cash withdrawals. I’ve never paid more than around £1 in interest, as I pay off my credit card balance in full every month.

Carry a Water Bottle with You

If you fill up a water bottle with tap water before you leave home, you can drink this at the airport before you go through security. Some airports have drinking water fountains, where you can fill up your bottle once you are through security. You can then take this full bottle on board the plane, so you don’t need to pay around £2 for a small bottle of water. There are drinking water fountains in many European countries; I’ve used them in Cyprus, Italy and Spain; so, also carry a bottle with you when you’re out and about and refill it at these fountains.

Use Hotel Price Comparison Sites in Conjunction with Cashback Sites

I’m a fan of the HotelsCombined price comparison site and usually start my accommodation searches there. However you should always check out the hotel’s own website too, as sometimes there are better offers available directly. I’ve seen variations of up to £50 a night on price of hotel rooms between different sites. Once you’ve found the lowest hotel prices, check out if you can get additional cash back on sites like Top Cash Back who offer cash back from bookings on travel sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com and LateRooms and for direct bookings with sites including Travelodge and Premier Inn. Don’t book a hotel merely on the basis of a high cash back, you could save a lot more by sticking with the lowest available price. You can read an example of how I’d use a cashback site to get a better idea of the benefits and pitfalls.

Sign Up for Email Alerts from Travel Companies

You’ll be sure to know when travel promotions and sales go live if you sign up to email alerts, as you need to be on the site early to bag the best bargains. I’ve found a lot of cheap Ryanair flights during their promotions, with no tax or online check in fees to inflate the price. Travelodge have £19 room promotions a few times a year. Travelodge send out alerts a week before their sales commence.