Payments & Savings

Tips for saving money while on holiday

How to get the most out of your holiday budget.

When you go on holiday, you generally pay for most things in advance – e.g. flights and accommodation. Once you arrive at your destination, you begin spending money on various things, and it’s understandable that you’re going to want to get the most out of what you spend if you’re working with a tight budget. People tend to spend more freely while on holiday and also don’t pay as much attention to budgetary constraints as they do at home. Still, those who pay attention to certain tips and avoid making mistakes can save a lot of money while on holiday.

Smartphone: smart usage when you’re abroad

The best way to save money in terms of mobile phone usage is to give yourself a digital detox treatment and enjoy a relaxing holiday without your phone. Just turn the thing off and leave it in your hotel room (the best place is the safe), or at the very least only use the WiFi that’s available in your hotel and restaurants and public spaces. If think you might get a call, you should give your hotel room’s phone number to whoever might need it – don’t forget that you pay for incoming calls as well on your mobile when you’re abroad. You should also remember to turn off your voicemail before you go on holiday, since any messages left on it could end up being expensive, even if you don’t check your voicemail and listen to them.

Data roaming abroad can also get very expensive. If you can’t do without your mobile surfing, your best bet is to buy a data plan. Keep in mind here that purchasing large data volumes is often less expensive than buying small data plans. In other words, make a realistic estimate of your data use before you purchase a plan. If you follow these simple rules, you’ll be able to use your data volume in the most efficient way possible – and you’ll also save money.

  1. Deactivate the mobile data features of apps that you won’t need while you’re abroad. Most apps use up data in the background without you noticing it.
  2. If you like to use navigation apps when you’re on holiday (e.g. Google Maps), you can download the maps you need for your holiday destinations and then store them on your phone before you leave. You can then use the maps offline while you’re on holiday.
  3. You can use the same approach with streaming services like Spotify or Netflix – i.e. simply download the episodes, films or music you need before you take off. Once they’re stored on your phone, you can view them offline and not have to worry about using up data.

Sightseeing for free

You can spend a lot of money very quickly when you start visiting museums and other attractions. But if you do a little research in advance, you should be able to find many activities that can be enjoyed for free. The first thing you should do is look at the events calendar(s) for your holiday destination(s). You might get lucky and find a free concert or city tour. You also might be able to visit a museum for free, since museums in many cities offer free admission on certain days of the week – for example on the first Sunday of every month. Another good way to save money is to buy city and/or museum passes, which are generally offered in all big cities. Most passes also allow you to avoid queues when you visit museums, historical monuments and other attractions, and many can be used to get discounts in selected souvenir shops as well.

Sometimes you get so busy visiting famous sites and places that you forget about the special appeal of nature. You should therefore think about taking a leisurely walk in a park or visiting a lake or waterfall if there’s one in the area. It’s a great way to spend part of your holiday – and it’s also completely free.

Eating well at affordable prices

Most of the money spent during a holiday goes towards meals. However, if you stay in a holiday home, apartment or B&B with a kitchen, you can end up saving an enormous amount of money. Visiting the local market not only gets you the freshest products; it also generally offers you the opportunity to try out local products and talk to the locals.

If you want to go to a good restaurant, it’s best to do so at lunchtime, since lunch menus at many restaurants are much cheaper than dinner menus. Going out to lunch is an ideal solution when you want to try out a special gourmet restaurant without breaking the bank.

Drinks can also end up costing a lot of money when you’re on holiday. Instead of going to a trendy bar, you therefore might consider going to a supermarket to buy drinks and snacks that you can enjoy during a beautiful sunset on the beach, for example. It’s simple and romantic, and it can save you a lot of money as well.

Spending money when you’re travelling with friends

Anyone who’s ever travelled with friends or other families is familiar with the problems associated with dividing up bills etc. Sometimes one person or couple will pay the bill, the next time everyone is out together another will pay, and so on. In such a situation, it’s virtually impossible to keep track of how much everyone’s been spending. There are apps that can do just that, however. The Splitwise app, for example, makes life easier for people who travel in groups. The app sets up a single group with the names of all of its members and records the amount each person pays during the trip. At the end of the holiday, the app calculates how much everyone owes and who they owe it to. It’s a fair and simple method that can also save money, since the app is more accurate than you would be if you tried to figure out all the expenses yourself.

Setting priorities and keeping an eye on costs

It makes sense to make a note of your daily expenses and keep an eye on your holiday budget. It’s also important that you define as precisely as possible what you’d like to spend your money on. Some people like to spend money on food and meals, while others are more interested in having exciting experiences and visiting popular attractions.

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