Posted April 2017 by Melissa Abraham-Smith
Can you believe it’s April already? They say the time flies when you’re having (financial) fun, so if you’ve been working hard to pay off your debts, renovating your family home, or planning for a wedding, now is the perfect time to treat yourself or your family to some hard-earned time off.
As most money-savvy travelers among you will know, a budget-friendly holiday isn’t just about the flights, it’s also the day-to-day costs of accommodation, food, and travel. Each of these can add up fast. And let's face it, the last thing you want to return to after a relaxing weekend away is credit card debt, so where should you be heading for a budget-conscious holiday?
Whether you’re planning to dip into your savings account or take out a loan, we want to see your holiday dollar travel as far as you do. That's why today we’re sharing some top travel destinations that won’t break the bank, along with a few tips that'll save you money along the way.
Thailand is a popular location among backpackers, and there’s a good reason: it’s often staggeringly cheap. While some areas do rank among the most expensive cities to stay in the world - such as Hong Kong - there’s no better budget-friendly feeling than getting something expensive for cheap, and Thailand offers exactly this for money-savvy holiday-goer.
Reached via an overnight train from Bangkok, Thailand - and the Chiang Mai region in particular - is full of idyllic islands, inexpensive accommodation, amazing food, and friendly locals that’ll give you the inside word on the best sights, sounds, and places to visit on the cheap.
Travel Savings Tip #1: Book in advance.
There’s something magical about spontaneous travel - travelling light over a weekend with nothing more than what’s in your bag - but it’s also not the most financially responsible way to holiday. Sure, it’s light on planning, but it's also heavy on your back pocket as a result.
Planning and preparation are the key to any budget-friendly holiday. Many airlines, for example, offer amazing deals throughout the year on flights that are 3, 4, or even 5 months out.
Outside of sales, the further in advance you book, the more you tend to save. Booking your flights closer to your travel date often leaves you fighting over the few remaining tickets with fellow New Zealand holiday-goers, and airlines will charge you more for the privilege.
To save the most? Check your calendar, and work out well in advance when you’d like to travel, and where you'll be travelling to. You'll also avoid throwing all of your travel expenses on your credit card last minute, which means you'll pay lower interest rates and save yourself money by having time to consider and apply for a personal loan for your holiday from a bank or credit union.
India has long been a favourite location for the budget-savvy traveller, and that’s as true today as it’s ever been. In fact, it’s one of the ultimate destinations for budget travellers.
While flights can be a little pricey - this is yet another reason to book ahead of time - you can more than make up for it with the inexpensive accommodation, low-cost street food stalls, and sightseeing at the Golden City of Jaisalmer.
Travel Savings Tip #2: Stay With Friends & Family
Flights are often the most expensive part of any holiday, but depending on where you’re travelling to, accommodation can oftentimes cost just as much - if not more - than the flights themselves. That's true both globally and locally, as those of you deciding to stay locally will see in the rapdily increasing cost of hotels in larger New Zealand cities like Auckland.
To save yourself some cash? Consider asking family or friends if you can bunk with them for the duration - or at least part - of your trip. Not only is this a perfect opportunity to catch up with people you may not have seen in awhile, you’ll also save a fortune in hotel or Airbnb costs. Just be sure to take along a box of chocolates or shout them dinner. It’s the least you can do.
3. New Zealand
From the thermal hot pools and geysers of Rotorua, to the snow-capped mountains of Queenstown and Wanaka, New Zealand - and us Kiwis - are spoiled for choice when it comes to gorgeous, idyllic holiday destinations that the rest of the world just can't get enough of. And they’re all sitting right on your doorstep.
The truth is, many New Zealanders have a habit of overlooking these amazing locations when it comes time to plan a weekend getaway or family holiday. So when you plan your next getaway, consider a local holiday here at home. Not only will you get to know the country you call home that much more, but you’ll save a whole lot of money in the process.
Travel Savings Tip #3: Holiday locally
When it comes time to plan a holiday, it can be tempting to want to get as far away from your familiar 24/7 as possible. Whether you’re tempted by the sunny beaches of Queensland, the sights and sounds of the United Kingdom, or the fast food of the United States. But have you ever considered a weekend away...at home?
There’s a reason New Zealand's tourism industry is booming: the world just can’t get enough of New Zealand and its stunning locations. So ask yourself: how much of it have you seen? If you’re anything like most Kiwis, not a lot.
More than that, travelling within your own country is also that much cheaper. Depending on where you decide to holiday, you can cut out the costly flights and troublesome exchange rates and simply pack up the car, jump in the driver’s seat, and road trip your way around this great country we call home for next to nothing. So when it comes to saving money on your next holiday, think locally.
Where are you jetting off to?
These are just a few ideas for where you could head over the holidays, so where are you heading? No matter where you're travelling to, by keeping our tips in mind, you can turn almost any holiday into a financially-savvy, money-saving trip of a lifetime that will give you the break you deserve without breaking the bank