I went on quite a few holidays last year, 10 countries and 13 cities to be precise. I had a full-time job throughout that time and earned less than the UK national average for most of it. I thought I’d just impart some of my tried and tested knowledge on how you can afford as many holidays as me so you too can enjoy the beauty of travel and still having a job to come back to.
1. Enter competitions
For the first few months of 2012 I entered a lot of competitions. I wanted to travel, but I didn’t have the money to pay for it. In February I managed to prove the rule of three and won trips to Amsterdam, Sharm el Sheikh and Zanzibar within 28 days of each other. I know this is a long shot, but if I can do it, so can you.
Latin: “omne trium perfectum” (everything that comes in threes is perfect)
2. Be a savvy traveller
When you’re actually abroad you need to spend your money wisely. There are always ways around full price entrance fees, transport choices, making international phone calls and accommodation options. You need to be careful of the ‘screw it I’m on holiday’ mentality too, or else you’ll spend loads of money and then associate ‘travel’ with ‘expensive’ forever more. Eat cheap, on the street, on the beach or in the park if the weather’s right. You know what restaurants look like, but do you know what Oslo’s Vigeland Sculpture Park looks like, for example.
3. Shop around
This is key to being able to afford as many holidays as me. My family is going to Iceland in January to *fingers crossed* see the Northern Lights: we looked at package deals, but they just didn’t seem right. My brother and I have spent about 10 hours each (probably more) looking around different companies to build our own bespoke trip and have managed to build the same Iceland adventure, but saving around £250pp. It also means we have the freedom to do it our way.
Use sites like skyscanner.net and booking.com to compare your flights and accommodation. You can find out more about travelling on the cheap, if you click through.
Me kayaking in Australia, no biggy…
4. Monitor sales and top sites
Folk may moan about them, but in my eyes Ryanair are providing an excellent service to help people travel cheaply. Once you know about budget flight and accommodation providers, keep an eye on them to see if they have sales where you can save even more. Ryanair often have ‘no taxes’ flights and you can get to Porto, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the like for around £30. Cheap!
5. Get an amazing job in travel
It’s a toughie, but they do exist. My recent business trips to Vancouver, Toronto and New York were through the new Content and Social Media job I got in October. Working at Flight Centre also means I can get money off personal flights too. For the 18 months I worked at HostelBookers I don’t think I ever paid for accommodation. Having a blog can also help you to get discounts, or sometimes even free press trips, but be prepared to work on it, hard!