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Travelling on a budget

11th November, 2019

Thinking about a holiday? Here are some tips to make your travel budget stretch further.

Planning ahead

Thinking about how you want to use your time away, and doing some research on the area you plan to visit can save you money. Here are our tips on planning ahead:

  • Avoid peak season – If you don’t need to travel in peak season, travelling just outside the peak or in the off season can be considerably cheaper.
  • Consider your needs – If you plan on being out and about and only using a room to sleep in, a smaller, cheaper room may be all you need.
  • Families and groups – When travelling with family or a group of friends, it can be cheaper to rent an apartment or house instead of paying for multiple rooms. As a bonus, you’ll get more space and extras, such as laundry facilities.
  • Location – Are places you’re likely to visit within walking distance of your accommodation, or are you planning activities that require transport? If you don’t plan to travel far, booking somewhere central, within walking distance to most places could save you a lot on transport costs.
  • Be flexible with flights – Flights on public holidays, certain days of the week, or certain times of the day, are often cheaper because they are less popular. Being flexible with days and times can make flying much cheaper.
  • Use points – If you belong to a frequent flyer, travel miles or hotel reward program, see if you have enough points to pay for part of your trip.
  • Check your insurer – Some insurers offer members discounts on a range of things, including travel, so check if your insurer offers these types of discounts.
  • Use comparison websites – They make it easy to compare prices on hotels and other types of holiday accommodation, but also check with the property directly. There are also comparison websites to help you find the cheapest flights to your chosen destination.
  • Stay local – Holidaying somewhere within driving distance will not only save you money on fares but you’ll have the convenience of a vehicle to get around in when you get there.
  • Use local transport – Find out about public transport options in your holiday destination. If there’s a good public transport system, it’ll be cheaper to get around.
  • Prepaid travel money cards – lock in rates before you leave and save on ATM and bank fees by loading a travel money card with foreign currency before you leave.
  • Restricted travel – ADF members planning on travelling to a restricted destination, will need to get approval first.

Travel insurance

If you can’t afford to take out travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

Travel insurance is particularly important if you’re travelling overseas. In some countries, if you become ill or have an accident, medical costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Take out travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday, some policies will cover you for events that interrupt your travel plans, before you travel.

Cost is important, but so is the amount covered. It’s better to pay a few extra dollars for comprehensive cover than to buy a cheap policy that doesn’t cover you for much.

If you’re planning on hiring a car while you’re away, a policy that covers rental car excess, can lower your car hire costs considerably.

Deployment

If you are taking leave whilst on deployment it is possible to organise travel insurance online. Google ‘travel insurance already overseas’. Just be sure to read the conditions carefully to make sure the policy is suitable for you.

Overseas phone and internet access

If you’re travelling overseas, how do you plan to stay in touch with family and friends? Most mobile phone plans don’t include usage outside Australia, and overseas charges can add up quickly.

Your provider may offer global roaming plans you can add to your existing contract to make using your phone overseas affordable, or consider using free apps to communicate.

Make use of ‘free WiFi’ hotspots to access the internet and if you need ‘maps’ to get around, download them before you leave home.

Alternatively, buy a cheap prepaid sim card in your destination country that has enough talk, text and data to meet your needs.

Look for discounts and free activities

Doing a little research could help you:

  • develop your own self-guided walking or driving tour
  • find online discount coupons for places or attractions you’d like to visit
  • locate free tourist magazines at your destination, that may contain discounts and other offers to save you money.

So when you travel, consider your needs, plan ahead, and most of all, enjoy your holiday!

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