Thursday 27 October 2016

How to travel on a lighter budget

John McCradden

Published 29/09/2016 | 02:30

"Sometimes Aer Lingus might be cheaper one way and Ryanair the other. The flight times might suit better too"

When it comes to finding ways to make travel budgets go further, you could argue that millennials are leading the way.

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After all, this is the generation that has shown a determination to travel even during the last recession. Not only that, survey after survey has shown that they are more adventurous.

Not for them the traditional sun, sea and sand holiday or time spent in major cities. Instead, they are seeking more of an experience; exploring more remote destinations, staying in hostels instead of hotels, and choosing long-term backpacking trips instead of two-week jaunts.

And despite tiny budgets, they are managing to stretch them almost infinitely by using mobile apps, social media and price comparison sites and sometimes combining work with travel.

However, millennials are not the only ones making their travelling bucks go further and seeking more of an experience in the process. Sarah Slattery of travel advice website agrees that travel trends have changed a great deal but also that it's not just the younger generations who are looking for alternatives to the package tour.

"Airbnb has been one of the biggest game changers of late, with everyone from solo travellers, families and business people using the service now," she said. "While hostels are more popular than before I think it is primarily because they have vastly improved, rather than it just being a new thing to try."

She also notes that TUI, one of the biggest tour operators in the world, plans to scrap holiday brochures by 2020.

"This proves how much social media and travel blogs have influenced where people go. People don't want to read a generic paragraph about a holiday resort any more, they want to hear about the place from someone who has travelled extensively and most important - from someone they can trust."

With all this in mind, here are some of her top travel budgeting tips:

Use different airlines

If you're booking flights yourself, check out prices flying out with one airline and home with another. "Sometimes Aer Lingus might be cheaper one way and Ryanair the other. The flight times might suit better too."

No need to pre-book seats

If you want to be sure of getting a Ryanair seat in your favourite part of the plane, don't pay to pre book seats. "If you use the Ryanair app you can download your boarding passes inside seven days of departure and seats will be automatically pre assigned."

Aggregator or comparison sites

Use aggregator sites like trivago / tripadvisor to check prices for the same hotel.

Pack light to avoid baggage charges

Ryanair and Aer Lingus will charge up to €100 in high season for a 20kg checked bag. Invest in a light cabin bag for everyone in the family and avoid paying baggage charges. "Toiletries and suncreams are usually cheaper abroad so buy them when you arrive. Kids love having their own case too."

Don't rule out a package deal

While some travellers probably insist on planning and booking their own flights and accommodation as a matter of principle, sometimes a package deal might work out cheaper. "Transfers can be expensive depending on how far the airport is from the hotel and if bringing a checked bag, package deals can be cheaper as they usually include transfers and baggage," said Ms Slattery. As well as sometimes offering better deals than a DIY package, "they are always helpful to have at the end of the phone if you have any problem abroad", she adds.

Car hire insurance

Car-hire packages will include insurance cover for major incidents, but for minor incidents most firms will have an excess of anywhere between €500 and €2,000, depending on the car and location. Car hire firms will offer cover for the excess, but this can cost up to €20 a day. The answer is to buy a separate car hire excess insurance policy before you travel from the likes of, costing just €3 a day.

Use public transport

"Not only will you get a better feel for the country you are visiting but public transport is always cheaper than taxis or pre booked transfer," said Ms Slattery. Most airports have a bus or train with a set fare into the city centre. Check the tourist board's website before you travel, there is usually a discovery ticket which gives tourists discounted rates into museums and access to public transport for a particular time at a discounted rate. "Sometimes these passes can include transport from the airport, so it might be prudent to purchase these before you arrive."

Pre-book top attractions online

"Almost every attraction has a discounted online booking price and the queues are usually shorter for pre booked tickets."

Buy multi-trip cover if travelling regularly

Instead of just holidaying once a year, you might find yourself taking the opportunity to combine work trips with travel a numbers of times during a year, If so, regular travellers should buy an annual travel insurance policy. Prices are available from €15.95 with and you can travel as many times as you like, up to 60 days per trip.

Irish Independent

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