The slightest hint of spring sunshine and we’re already planning our holidays. And here at CurrencyFair we’re all about being resourceful: with time to plan a summer trip, there’s no excuse not to be clever about it and save money.
There’s a wealth of resources online beyond just booking your ticket- the right app, web community or online deal-of-the-day could save you money. It’s also an interesting way to connect with fellow travellers, whether you’re crashing on someone’s sofa or trading tips about dodging speed cameras in a foreign city.
Here are a few of our favourite resources to help you on your way.
Customers of a certain Irish discount airline will know all about this. We’ve all experienced the slow nagging fear on the way to the airport- will the bag be too heavy? Too wide? Too tall? Have you left enough room to bring anything back?
Check-in counter showdowns are best avoided, as are the hefty fees going over limit can incur. We feel your pain, but really there’s no excuse not to check the limitations up ahead. If you find airline terms and conditions labyrinthine (so much fine print!), then this list is genius – weight restrictions for all the airlines in one place.
Pack like a minimalist
Aside from checking weight limits up ahead, the best way to avoid the fines is to make a list of essentials and stick to it. This epic Lifehacker post covers the basics (‘How to Fit Two Weeks Worth of Luggage Under the Airplane Seat in Front of You‘) but the true ultra-minimalist traveler might want to delve deeper. We recommend guides to minimalist packing by Zen Habits and The Experimental Life (In fact, Zen Habits’ fantastic tips on family travel are also worth a look).
Homes are the new hotels
This one applies more to solo travelers than families (though there’s always the option of a good old-fashioned home exchange…), but Airbnb and Couchsurfing have their merits. The former is good not only for finding a reasonable place to stay, but for making money off your home while you’re away. And Couchsurfing might get awkward, but it’ll make for some interesting stories when you’re home.
Do the math(s)
Time spent hanging around an airport, minus money saved on a late-night flight, added to that spent on overpriced and under-seasoned food at the airport… The economics of travel can be enough to make a jetlagged heart sink. TravelMath is a rather useful service for calculating key factors like distance, travel time and comparisons between driving, air travel and trains so you can get the best deal and least-stressful journey.
Avoid the obvious
Whether you break the bank or not on your trip could be decided from the start- the city you choose to visit might doom you to spending too much money! This infographic from TripAdvisor lists London, Paris and Rome as -predictably- the most expensive places to visit in Europe. Prague, Budapest and Lisbon rank highly as the best bargain destinations.
Or more precisely, drive clever. Driving in foreign countries can be a nightmare. Trapster is an app designed to make driving easier and safer. Sign up for free and access a community of fellow travelers marking traffic black spots, areas with speed cameras and ‘live police’, reported accidents and just about anything else worth noting on the map. You can also easily find petrol stations, coffee shops and parking along your route. Read a full app review here.
Roam without paying
And lastly… it’s all very well to use apps to save money, but what about the data bill? Tep is a startup renting smartphones and pocket wifi devices to travelers. Have a Tep device delivered to your hotel, or even pick it up at the airport. At the end of the trip simple send it back in their pre-stamped envelope, and all data will be erased before it’s rented out again. Rates are reasonable and decrease depending on how long you rent for.