Travel tips – savings that don’t spoil the experience.

Travel is right up there on most people’s ‘To Do’ and ‘Bucket’ Lists, but the types of travel you like and enjoy are very different beasts. For some people, the camping, glamping or caravaning style is just their thing – not for us. Although we often spend quite a lot of our holiday travelling around by car we usually decide on a motel, hotel or apartment for our accommodation. Along the way we have had some amazing experiences, found some fabulous places to visit, stay and test out. We like to make our holiday funds stretch as far possible, so value for us is King. We love to make sure that we get the Princess experience on a Paupers budget, haha, maybe not, just love a bargain, and much prefer to spend our money on things and experiences that we enjoy.  There is so much more to see and do, and I want to see as much as possible.

Here are a couple of our travel tips to help you get the best bang for your bucks.

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Research and join a Hotel program with properties in your travel area.
Loyalty programs abound but make sure that you do some research before you leave and read the Terms & Conditions.  Lots of Hotel programs give you the ability to earn points which can be used towards free nights or upgrades. Most offer you Free Internet, and some even reward you with excellent extras when you stay. Check to see if they have a Smart Phone App, download and then making bookings is simple – before you visit, don’t forget to check out the reviews from other travellers. We have used Accor Hotels in Europe & New Zealand and found them excellent. I’ve just joined IGH which is the Intercontinental Group, and I’m looking forward to my first stay in one of their properties next week.

Frequent Flyer Programs or Best Fares.

Airline Programs have been around for many years, and while they may not be everyone’s cup of tea we love our membership and deliberately work to keep all of its benefits.  We have been a member of Qantas Loyalty program for years and over that time we have appreciated the extras that our membership includes. Travel Upgrades, Lounge Access and priority check-ins.

If your not interested in building up your Frequent Flyer Points or Status Credits then there are excellent websites and Apps to help you make great decisions for Airfares – Webjet is a great site and there are lots of Apps to help you find the best priced fares right on your phone.
Before you leave, transfer your spending money into local currency on a debit cash card.
When travelling overseas, we load local currency onto a debit card and then when we are away we only use this card, there are significant savings to be made with no transactions fees. Banks usually charge a transaction fee each time you use your card, add to this the cost bank’s charge to convert currency. We also found that usually there were no ATM fees to take cash out.  We use the Qantas Cash Card and even loading monies onto our card gives us Frequent Flyer Points.
Internet.
When we are away, we love keeping in touch with family and friends, but the data costs can sometimes be an enormous expense. On our first trip to Europe we decided to purchase travel packages from our Australian Phone & Internet suppliers, we have different suppliers, Telstra & Optus and both had packages but neither offered loads of data so we spent so much more than we wanted too. Our two best tips; always take advantage of free wifi hotspots and accommodation which includes free internet. Secondly, consider buying a local SIM card – we replace the SIM in our iPad with a local SIM and buy local data. We keep our Australia phones with their regular Australian SIM’s but we turn off all mobile data – be careful, make sure they are not using location services in the background, go through everything and shut down any data using options.
Keeping in touch.
Updating Facebook with details of your travel plans and photos of your trip has become a routine & much-loved task, however, there are lots of other programs & Apps to help you keep in touch. My favourites are WhatsApp and Viper – make calls, send photos, chat with a group and add stickers, all great options.

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