9 travel tips for cost-conscious travellers

4 min | 25 March 2024

Emmy Jenkins

Thanks to the internet, travelling the world is much simpler than it used to be. It’s not just easier to compare flights, hotels and insurance, but you’ll also find lots of great money-saving hacks shared by budget-wise travellers and holidaymakers.

Creating a travel budget

If you need help putting together a realistic budget, try a tool like Budget Your Trip (Opens in new window)

Here are some expenses to include:

  • Travel costs, like flights, train tickets and bus passes
  • Travel and gadget insurance
  • Equipment and clothing
  • Meals
  • Accommodation
  • Trips and activities
  • Communication costs, like a SIM card or internet cafe charges
  • Extra fees, like ATM charges, credit card fees and luggage storage
  • An emergency fund

Sticking to your travel budget

1. Think about your destination

When picking budget-friendly destinations, you need to research both the cost of travel and the cost of living. Some places are cheap to get to but pricey once you’re there.

For example, you can buy return flights to Paris from around £60, but you'd spend £160 per person a day on average in France.

Instead, if you go to Cancun, return flights cost from around £486, but the daily average spend is around £75 per person in Mexico. For a week-long trip, you’d spend about £1,200 going to France, compared to £1,000 going to Mexico.

Remember to book on sites with ATOL (Air Travel Organisers Licence) protection, consider travel insurance and keep yourself safe if travelling off the beaten track; you want your trip to be memorable for the right reasons.

2. Use price comparison sites

Use price comparison websites to look for the best price on:

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Accommodation
  • Travel gear
  • Tours and trips

3. Look out for discounts

Don’t miss out on summer sales and winter promotions, first-time buyer discounts and loyalty programs.

Scour the internet for insurance deals, flight sales, accommodation promotions and travel equipment sales. Check out social media for giveaways and discounts by travel influencers.

4. Take alternative modes of transport

Not only do bus tours, coach companies and train trips offer new ways of seeing the world, but these methods also often have a lower carbon footprint than planes.

You’ll also find most alternative modes of travel to be relatively cost-effective. Night trains and local buses are usually less expensive, as are non-tourist river boats and cross-country coaches.

5. Head off the beaten track for accommodation

Hotels on the main strip tend to have the highest prices as they’re closest to the action. Head a few streets back to find cheaper hotel rooms just a short walk away.

6. Eat like a local

Consider trying the regional cuisine, not just because food is the spice of life, but also because street food is often cheaper.

Tuck into 50p bowls of spicy noodles on the back roads of Thailand and £1 plates of fragrant paella on the cobbled streets of Spain.

7. Learn to haggle

Though not customary in the UK, haggling is the art of bargaining on price.

In Central and South American, Asian and African countries, it’s common practice to negotiate prices on food and souvenirs at marketplaces.

8. Investigate roaming options

If you’re using internet cafes to contact your family at home and connect with new friends online, it can get expensive. The cost is not just the charges for using the internet; you also usually buy coffee on top. Check if you can get a roaming deal with your current phone provider so you can use your phone and data abroad.

Weigh up if this is cheaper and more convenient that buying a local pay-as-you-go SIM card that requires topping up.

9. Club together with friends

Consider bringing a travel partner or making friends while you’re away. That way, you can split the costs of accommodation, meals, vehicle hire and activities.

Don’t let a tight budget hold you back

Just because you’re a budget-conscious traveller, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise your experience.

Make sure you compare costs before leaving, look for discounts and bargains on the road and keep an emergency fund for sticky situations.

If you're travelling with your Chase card, you'll be happy to hear we don't charge fees on spending abroad; there's more information in our Travel FAQ.

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