We are currently in the middle of planning the next adventure (Hong Kong + Europe this October) and we take the planning part very seriously!
We have made a small list of how we plan our overseas trips without spending all of the dollarydoos:
- Research, research, research! Generally, we book the long flights months in advance and work to fill in the gaps from there. For our upcoming trip, we booked our flights from Hong Kong – Milan about 10 months in advance. We take note of when train tickets and flight are released for the local/shorter trips and book them early for the cheaper prices.
- For our larger trips, we plan them out on roughly on paper then move to an excel spreadsheet once we have an idea of where we are going. The spreadsheet includes a daily plan of what city we will be in, what transport/accommodation is required, an overall budget tracking page and pages for the cities/towns we are going to list what we want to do there. Feel free to email me if you want a template.
- Due to the remoteness of Perth to the rest of the world, when booking flights we generally look from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, depending on where we are going. We can usually get pretty cheap flights to these cities and will often have a few days on the way back to Australia to adjust to the time zone if we’ve travelled far.
- Comparison websites – This is where we start when looking for flights and accommodation. Specifically, we use Skyscanner, Google flights, Hotels combined and trip advisor. I use these websites in incognito mode in Chrome to limit the websites tracking and changing the prices accordingly.
- Have a folder in your emails or a separate email address for your travels and then sign up for the offers. I have signed up with a large number of hotels, airlines and other travel related websites. Memberships for hotels and airlines, especially those you use often, can lead to discounts and extras such as free wifi and upgrades. The large majority are free to join.
- When booking accommodation, always check the actual hotel’s website to compare the price. Some hotels will price match or offer extras to get you to book directly. There is also less of a chance your booking will be missing when you arrive (a small risk with the comparison websites).
- Frequent flyer points – Any opportunity there is to earn extra frequent flier points, we grab it with both hands! If we have a large purchase coming up, we will sign up for a new credit card for the frequent flier bonus points, pay it off and cancel it before the annual fee comes around. We tend to change credit cards every year. We collect points with our shopping, booking dinner tables and surveys.
- Try a cashback tracker. I use Cash Rewards, where they track your purchases then offer you cash back. A lot of the hotel comparison sites (such as hotels.com and Expedia) offer 3-10% cash back after purchase – after about a year of using cash rewards I have about $80 that can be transferred to my PayPal account. You do have to not care about companies tracking your spending to use it. I figure they’re already tracking most of the info, so why not share some of the rewards.
- Read about other people’s trips! There are so many travel bloggers out there and you can find some real tip gems as to where to stay, how to get there and the tricks what to do in a city.
Now you know all our secrets about how to save those dollars on travel out of Australia.