Busting budget travel myths

Leon busts five budget travel myths.

Busting budget travel myths

Everyone loves budget travel tips, but there are a few that are incorrect and a few that are outright lies created to benefit certain travel businesses (think big corporate interests).

Why give your money away to a big hotel chain or car rental company by believing in these? So today, we’re busting five common budget travel myths.

It’s cheaper to rent a car
False. The price of fuel and car hire make car hire quite expensive. Ride-sharing services, low-cost taxis and cheap and effective public transport in many countries (other than Australia) mean it’s often much cheaper to let someone else do the driving for you.

Stay outside the city
Don’t. The money you’ll save on cheaper accommodation will be quickly spent on cabs and transport back and forth from your room to all the fun in town. Plus, think about all the time you’ll waste in transit. Do the maths. Accommodation in places such as San Francisco and London can be quite expensive, but you can still find good places close by, without having to stay too far out in the ‘burbs. Try an app called SnapTravel for good savings and exclusive rates on hotels in big cities. Airbnb is also another good option.

Buy foreign currency before you leave
Don’t. Sure, you’ll need a little bit before you go but leave the large sums for when you arrive at your destination. And don’t waste money buying it from a foreign currency bureau – withdraw a decent amount from an ATM. You’ll pay a transaction fee, but you won’t be stung by hidden fees and service costs. Your bank or credit card may also be free from foreign transaction fees, so if you don’t need cash, use your card instead.

Booking early
Hotels: maybe. Flights: no. Booking your flights early won’t save you much money. In fact, airlines usually start with high prices and whittle them down closer to departure dates. The best time to book flights is around six or seven weeks before you’re leaving.

Booking a hotel at the last minute depends largely on where you’re going. The bigger the city, the more likely you are to find a cheap room, while smaller locales will be less likely to have the availability, so you are better off booking early.

Tours aren’t worth the cost
When you look at tour prices they often seem expensive. But when you break them down, you’re most likely getting a great deal.

Look for tours that include flights, transfers and accommodation, then count the cost of meals, a guide, access (often VIP access) to attractions and you’ll be hard pressed to do all this for a lower price. My tip: tours are great for countries with limited English and access and if you can find tours that give you both you should book them. The afternoons, evenings or entire days are yours to explore at your leisure, give them a try.

Do you know of any budget travel myths that need busting?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    27th Jun 2019
    Hop on, hop off buses are a great way of seeing a city
    27th Jun 2019
    Leon, I have a couple of points to comment on in regards to buying foreign currency, and booking early.

    Foreign Currency. Don't get caught up in the thinking that you 'need' foreign currency when you arrive. I agree with Leon in this regard.

    I've done my research and have found 2 prepaid cards that have your name on them and come at no cost and have the lowest ATM fees.

    They are the Virgin Global Wallet Visa card and the Qantas Cash Mastercard. Both have your membership details on one side and a prepaid card on the other side. All you need to do is to activate the cards, put your funds onto them and then transfer the funds to the foreign currency you'll be using when you travel. Just be aware that if you use these cards at an Australian ATM, you'll be charged $1.95 for it.

    NEVER try to use a prepaid card when you hire a vehicle. You may be able to pay for the hire on the card here in Australia before you go, but the hire car companies won't accept prepaid cards when you collect the car, including here in Australia. If you don't want to use your Australian credit or debit card, then offer the agency cash. Then you'll need to go back to the same agency to return your car.

    Before you leave on your flight, make the currency you'll be using when you arrive the 'main' currency and then when you get of the plane, you can rock up to an ATM and withdraw the funds you'll need to get to on your way. All cards must have the AU$ as one of the 'active' currencies.

    As to flights, I keep a spreadsheet with the prices for the flights I want to take from the November (for a July - October holiday). This year I found that the cheapest flights were just after Christmas, but last year, they were as late as April - May. So there's no telling when you'll get the cheapest fares.

    If you're looking at using public transport, especially in the larger cities, try to find accommodation near the local train or bus route. Then you can purchase a visitor travel card and use this to get around and do your sightseeing.
    27th Jun 2019
    Don't believe all this. Fact Booked flights to Canada 12 mth early price $1100 one way. Six weeks out right now . $1400.
    double j
    28th Jun 2019
    I think one of the biggest factors is “how long is your holiday”Cruise and Tours are fair value for short term holidays We have traveled Europe for 3 months every year since 2012 which is when we purchase our first secondhand motor home, we have since sold that one and up dated because we are now older (70 years young ) I have done the sums and we are definitely better off taking into account registration (3 months ) insurance ( 3months) and storage for 12 months PS we are in Europe now and it’s very hot !!!

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