Travel on a Budget

Before and during a trip it is very easy to save a fortune. Which tricks I like to do, I’d like to present to you here. Since I will hopefully get to know many more valuable ideas, I promise to keep you up-dated. Feel free to comment on your experiences and as a comment below!

1. Book flights and overnight stays separately
If you book the flights separately from the overnight stay and not via a travel agency or tour operator, you can easily save several hundred euros in advance. Thanks to flight search engines, you get a good overview and compare all airlines with one single mouse-click. Also for open jaw flights, you should keep your eyes open if you want to fly to several destinations. For overnight stays there are also search engines with best price guarantee. However you should also compare search engines with each other. It’s not too unlikely that one hotel is cheaper at Booking.com and the other one on another website.

2. Compare, compare, compare!
Comparison is very time-consuming, but all the more effective and cost-reducing. Compare flights, compare accommodations, but also compare tours or restaurants. The more often you do this, the more fun you’ll find it – I promise 🙂

3. Travel season
Find out in advance about vacations and holidays – both locally and here in Germany. You often save up to half the amount if you book outside the holidays or main tourist season. The ocean is still warm in September, the sun is shining already in May, you not only save a lot of money, but have the whole country almost for yourself. Those who are flexible by a few days can also pick the cheapest flights.

4. Early booking
You already know you want to travel the world a few months from now? Then book as early as possible. Especially when it comes to intercontinental flights. The saying that flights are the cheapest six weeks before departure is no longer reality and if you take too much time with booking your accommodation, the best rooms will be gone and you will have to restepick.

5. Visa
Also, if you need to apply for a visa, you should do so as early as possible. Some countries like to take some time to get your visa approved and it can take several weeks to process. If you are under time pressure you can easily pay the double for an express visa.

6. Deleting cookies and booking via the computer
As in real life, cookies leave visible traces – not crumbs, but information. So after you’ve researched a country online or searched for flights, you should delete your cookies before actually booking. Search engines will be less able to track your plannings and you will see how many prices often drop a little. In general I recommend to book only via the computer. Smartphone purchases are often spontaneous purchases, which is why prices are often set higher than on the computer, which is only used when you have the time – and so also have time to compare prices. Another possibility is to open an incognito-tab. No information is collected here.

7. Light luggage
Find out in advance via the airline website how much hand luggage and luggage you can take with you free of charge and how big or heavy it can be. Nowadays there are many fluctuations and it actually happened that my hand luggage has been weighed and I had to pay extra. If you don’t have enough space in your hand luggage, book a suitcase in advance. You pay much less than at the check-in at the airport. If you are travelling in groups, maybe all of your clothes fit into one big and a smaller hand luggage suitcase, so you only have to book one check-in suitcase. In most countries and accommodations you can wash or have washed your clothes locally, which is often much cheaper than a second suitcase.

8. ISIC Card
The International Student Identity Card is the only globally accepted verification of student status. It currently costs € 15.00 per year or can be applied for free of charge via the DKB. Germany is lagging behind when it comes to student discounts, but worldwide you can save a lot of money on admission tickets and shopping.

9. Local SIM Card
In order to always be reachable on the road or to have the possibility to research something or have it translated, I buy a local SIM card in – almost – every country with mostly about 3 GB data volume. Within the EU this is fortunately no longer necessary since summer 2017, but outside of the EU you can now tell your mom in the deepest jungle that you are well. It is often best to not buy them directly at the airport, as they are much cheaper in the city centre. On arrival, you should have the seller directly put them to use to make sure that they work and are properly adjusted.

10. On-site travel
On holiday I like to rent a car in order to get to places that tourist coaches can’t reach. But you are not always allowed to drive yourself in foreign countries, sometimes you need an international driver’s license or rarely even a local one. Public and long-distance transportation often work even better abroad than in Germany and costs only a fraction of expensive taxi rides or domestic flights. They can almost always be booked online and paid for by credit card or PayPal. If you don’t want to travel by public transportation, you can also change to Uber. But be aware of your CO2 emissions.

11. Do your research!
Informing is half the battle. Travel guidebooks are unfortunately not always up to date and so it is also important to browse travel blogs or other websites. You will not only learn a lot about the country you are going to visit and the culture or manners you are supposed to follow, but you will also learn many clever tricks that will make your stay more pleasant and cheaper. Often there are combo tickets or specific time slots, in which you pay less.

12. The magic word: L-O-C-A-L
Eat locally, sleep locally, drive locally, shop locally, tour locally … local is not only more sustainable, but also cheaper. Local food is even more delicious so far! Especially when it comes to food, „flat rate“ and „all inclusive“ are well out. This gives you the opportunity to taste new restaurants every day, to eat your way across the country and not be forced to return to your hotel at lunchtime or evening. Sleeping locally allows you to experience a completely different perspective and opens up so many ways to really get to know the country and its inhabitants.

13. Additional flight fees
Why flights via search engines are often much cheaper than booking directly with an airline? Quite simple: Search engines earn their money with all the gimmicks they want to sell you shortly before the booking is completed. Travel cancellation insurance, additional luggage, hotels, seat reservations and much more. Additional luggage is the only thing I sometimes book in addition, because it is cheaper there than at the airport (you can check this on the homepage of the airline). The travel cancellation insurance, which is offered to you here, usually does not cover much and is not worthwhile in any case. If you are unsure about the beginning of your trip, it is better to conclude it privately and according to your requirements. A seat reservation is also superfluous. Check in online in time and you have the free choice between (almost) all seats.

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