Money Saving Tips
Tucan Travel staff have compiled this list of handy hints to help you make the most of your money so that you can enjoy your holiday to the full. Be a savvy traveller and you may not have to curb your wanderlust at all!
- Plan your budget well in advance and give yourself plenty of time to save for all the optional excursions you want to do. Factor in some extra money in case a special optional excursion takes your fancy - you don't want to miss out! Prices are listed in the optional excursions dossiers on our website.
- If you can't afford to travel in peak season you'll find that there are great opportunities to travel the shoulder season or off season. It's all about timing - if you can travel when others are not, you'll find a cheaper fare. Your money will go further as your flights will be cheaper and tourist site entry fees may be reduced or discounted - and the entry queues will be shorter too!
- Consider how you're going to spend your money overseas. Will you be using cash, debit cards, credit cards or prepaid cards during your vacation? Look for a debit card or credit card which won't charge you currency conversion fees or a foreign ATM fee - it may be worthwhile to open a new account with a different bank to save yourself fees while you travel. If you can't find that kind of deal, aim to get a card which earns you air miles for future trips.
- Rather than popping down to the nearest foreign exchange at your lunch hour the day before you travel, shop around for the best money conversion rates online - such as www.moneysupermaket.com and www.moneysavingexpert.com. It's also good to remember that cash, while convenient, isn't very secure and your travel insurance may not cover it if it's lost or stolen during your expedition.
- Check the specials page of our website before you book your tour - there are often good deals available when you book direct or early, and there are plenty of year-round discounts available.
- There are two schools of thought about when to book to get the best savings. If you don't know where you want to go but you know when you want to travel, you can make savings by looking for late deals closer to the departure date. Check our specials page for late availability specials. However, late deals do sell out fast so you have to be able to move quickly. On the other hand, if you have lots of flexibility, book well in advance of departure you can make great savings with early booking discounts, and you'll get to travel when and where you want to. (It also pays to consider travelling on different days - some mid-week flights may be cheaper than weekends, and vice versa, depending on the destination).
- Reduce your costs at home and put the savings away towards your tour. Here are a few ideas which will not only save your money, but help to reduce your carbon footprint: - An easy way to start is to turn your central heating thermostat down. Reducing the temperature by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10 percent. - Check your water is set to no higher than 60°C/140°F. - Turn off the lights when you leave a room - Turn your appliances off instead of leaving them on standby (including your phone chargers) - Replace your old lightbulbs with energy-saving ones. Every little bit helps! - Take your leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day. Yes it may be boring, but you'll save money on food and reduce your household waste at the same time.
- Make sure you get an international student card before you travel, if you're eligible, as you can often save between a third to a half of the cost of admission fees into many tourist attractions around the world - not to mention the great savings you can make on your flights as well! Learn about how you can get your ISIC card on our Travellers' Tools page.
- Learn some of the local language before you travel and you'll find it much, much easier when it comes to bartering. Even if you don’t know enough to bargain fluently, just a few polite words will go a long way towards goodwill and hopefully a cheaper price for you. The locals really will appreciate the effort. If guide books and CDs don't do it for you, advertise yourself for a language swap with someone. Free one-to-one tutorials over a coffee will really help to build your confidence. Tucan Travel offers FREE basic language guides for Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili.
- There are loads of websites which offer you the chance to compare flight prices - but first of all you need to know which one of these sites is the right one to use. Check out http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-flights. This site will help you to work out whether you'll get the best deal through www.skyscanner.com, www.opodo.com, www.expedia.com, www.kayak.co.uk, www.travelsupermarket.co.uk, www.orbitz.com or www.travelocity.co.uk.
- Be aware that budget airlines can have hidden costs - add up the extras before you book your flight as things like baggage handling and check-in can add to the cost. Check out alternative airports close to your destination and see how this changes the fares - often alternative airports are cheaper, though you may find taxis cost more to get to the main city.
- Let it go. If you've got a CD collection you never listen to, a pile of clothes you never wear or kitchen appliances which are just gathering dust in the corner, why not sell your extra gear on Ebay or in a weekend garage sale? Before you know it you'll have made a huge % of your spending money, with hardly any effort!
- It may pay to go long-haul. Although the flights will be more expensive, the costs of travel in South East Asia and North Africa (Egypt and Morocco) will be much less.
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- Make the most of your Tucan Travel Tour Leader's expertise. He or she will have excellent local knowledge and will be able to tell you where to get the cheapest drinks, how to find the best food to suit your budget, how to get around a city cheaply and safely (taxis vs public transport) and will help you find internet cafes and laundry services that won't break the bank.
- Set a daily budget and keep a record of what you're spending in a notebook so that you don't go overboard - you don't want to miss out on an excursion because you've blown all your money on alcohol the night before!
- Many people find food to be their biggest daily expense while travelling, but there are loads of ways to make savings. - Plan ahead for snacks for days where you'll have long drives ahead of you so you don't spend too much money at service stops. - Get snacks and coffees from side-street cafes rather than the cafes on the squares as these are likely to be more expensive. - Shop at markets when you find them - the food will be authentic, you'll have a great cultural experience and it will often be cheaper than delis and shops. - If you're able to, ask working-class local people where they eat. Also, if you wander past a cafe that's full of students, there's a better than average chance that the food and drinks are good, there'll be a great atmosphere and the bill won't break the bank. - Check the menu at restaurants before you go in - don't let any bossy people on the door hassle you into entering! - And make sure to check your bill at the end for things you didn't order. If a service charge is included, you don't have to tip on top of that unless you really want to.
- Get your laundry done through a recommended local laundromat rather than through the hotel you stay at - hotels charge a premium and usually per item where as a lot of local laundries will charge by the weight or less than half the price of the hotel. And they may even iron them for you!
- In Asia for example, taxi drivers will often wait for you at your destination and take you home again, even if this means they are waiting a few hours for you. So try to negotiate a return fare, rather than paying two one way fares to separate drivers.
- You can download free maps online, or pick up city maps from tourist offices so that you can be sure your taxi driver is taking you the shortest / cheapest route.
- If you're using a credit or debit card overseas, some retailers will offer to convert your bill into your home currency. However if you use this service you will probably be charged a higher rate. You may not always be asked if you want to do this, so check with the retailer before you sign the slip or enter your PIN. Ask to be billed in your local currency.
- If you're booking your own pre and post tour accommodation, ask for discounts if you pay in cash or if you're staying 2-3 nights. It might feel cheeky but you might be surprised by the reductions you can get if you're confident enough to bargain. Don't be afraid to whip out that student card too - and don't forget that Tucan Travel offers a range of discounts, including early booking, student discounts and group discounts - take advantage!