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9 Tips to Avoid the Hidden Cost of Travel

June 22, 2013

Can you believe it’s nearly the end of June already? We know lots of our readers are expats already, but if you’re planning a holiday somewhere exotic (or even just a short visit to the homeland!) you’ll want to plan ahead to avoid the hidden costs.

We’ve rounded up a few ‘travel hacks’ for saving money, some obvious, some not so obvious…


How To Avoid the Hidden Costs of Travel

You don’t have to fly back with the same airline you flew out with.
For some reason, people don’t always realise this and end up paying too much for their return flights. You can mix and match! Use Skyscanner and look for the cheapest, most convenient deal.

Fly on a Tuesday.

According to Which? research, it’s 35% cheaper on average than flying on a Friday. Simple yet effective!

<2>Pick and mix car insurance.

You don’t need to accept the insurance the car rental place offers (or the one offered on your airline’s website just before booking..). Sites like or will help you dodge being overcharged.

Check your bus ticket options.

Similarly if you’re not renting a car and taking the bus instead, research up ahead to avoid being ripped off. The ‘official’ airport bus or train will likely cost a lot more than a normal bus, train or maybe even taxi from the airport does (famously Heathrow airport is accessible for the price of a special shuttle bus… or a standard Tube ticket..).

Prepare for the worst.

If you’re from Europe then the EHIC card is essential in case you need emergency healthcare.If you have specific health issues, it’s also worth contacting organisations or reading up online to find out about travel policies suited to your specific needs (diabetes, asthma etc..) and the associated costs. We hope you don’t spend your holiday in an emergency room, but it pays to be prepared just in case!

Sort out your SIM.

First things first, turn your roaming off. Next, if you’re staying a few weeks in this country consider buying a cheap local SIM card. They sell them at the airport, or often in shops aimed at tourists. Companies like Telestial and Truphone all offer the service. The other option is to rent a phone by the day, available from Carphone Warehouse and Cellular Abroad among others.

There is always something to do for free.

This varies from city to city, but most will have a few museums with free entry. There might also be a discount card that covers major attractions in your location. This is where preparation and some thorough Googling pays off! For recommendations, try TimeOut (tick the ‘free’ box!), Le Cool (an independent city guide and weekly email), and Atlas Obscura for slightly more off-beat places to see.

Pick your location wisely.

Big cities will always cost more, though will also likely offer you more work. This infographic uses the TripIndex (by to compare costs between cities around the world. Stockholm, Amsterdam and Kiev come out as overpriced, while Bangkok and Beijing are a steal.

A few other websites we love:

Europe for free, which – as the name would imply – collects attractions and events around Europe for free. has the best cheap train tickets- well worth a look!

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