If you’ve scrimped and saved for your dream holiday, the last thing you want is to get a few days in and find out that you’re already out of money. You can travel abroad and afford to eat more than the free continental breakfast each day by using some of today’s best travel tools. From price comparison apps to prepaid SIM cards, these tools will help you stay on task and have money left over for souvenirs.
Money Saving Apps
One of the first ways to stick to your budget is by downloading a few organisational apps before you hit the road. You can keep fuel costs down by downloading apps such as GasBuddy, which helps you find the lowest prices on petrol depending on your location and needs. If you’re in need of accommodation, Hotwire Hotels is a good app to have available. As you near your destination, you can look at last minute hotel prices in the area. The idea is that the app helps fill these last minute rooms that would otherwise not make any profit for the hotel, allowing users to stay for discounted rates. You’ll also want to download the Free Wi-Fi Finder app if you plan on bringing your smartphone with you, to avoid roaming charges on your journey.
Travel Deal Websites
There’s a seemingly endless array of websites dealing specifically with travel deals these days. You can sign up for alerts from discount services like Groupon, Living Social, or JetSetter. These send you daily travel deals, from steep discounts off hotels to full holiday packages. Another useful type of website is a flight comparison service, like Kayak or Skyscanner. These all work similarly, allowing you to input your preferred dates of travel and then compare the cheapest flight options from a multitude of airlines. It’s worth looking at several different flight search engines, because prices will vary slightly and not all airlines are represented on each site.
Kayak’s service is particularly useful, because it will also show you a breakdown of airline fees and let you compare hotels and rental cars as well. It’s a good idea to look at the fee breakdown, because this is where a travel budget can really go awry. Airplane snacks, checked baggage, and hidden check-in fees can add up over the course of a flight. The very seat you choose on a flight could incur hidden costs, so you’ll want to check SeatGuru.com to see if your seat costs more than one three rows ahead of you.
Communication with friends and family as you travel can add up, particularly if you plan on using your normal mobile plan. It’s worth stocking up on free SIM cards before you leave; which give you a lower per-minute rate and can be used as a local number at your destination. Many service providers now specialise in these types of international calling options, including Lebara. It’s also a good idea to download apps for Skype or Rebtel, which allow you to place free calls using a Wi-Fi connection to users of the same network. WhatsApp is a popular texting app which works internationally, as is Viber.
By taking the time to research your options and download a few handy apps, you can save a bundle on flights, lodging, and calls back home. Using technology can help you stick to your travel budget and have a blast doing it.