[Student Loan] [Get
out of Debt]
How to save time and money - Finding & Booking Flights
There are many options for searching
and buying tickets, whether through a travel agent, direct or on
the internet. Each has its own advantages, so my advice is to shop
around. Try to travel early or late to avoid peak-season prices.
These can be double what you would normally pay!
When asking for prices, compare the same journey if possible as
even slight changes to airports, departure times, etc. can have
a big difference. By doing this you will get a basic idea as to
the price you will need to pay. Then you can go searching for the
There are now quite a few 'consolidators'
around that buy tickets in bulk from airlines then sell them for
cheaper prices. Some will also offer special discounts for students,
or those buying several tickets for a round-the-world trip. EBay
is also auctioning seat-tickets at the moment, with no reserve price!
You can find consolidators in your
local phone book, or here are a few ideas:
You must now have heard about the new breed of
low-cost airlines. Basically, they offer a very no-thrills package
(you thought economy class was basic!), which does not usually include
in in-flight meal or drinks. The leg room may also be reduced. In
my opinion, taking a lunchbox full of scrumptious food is better
than 'airline cottage pie' any day!
- Book your first couple of nights accommodation
before you leave! When you get to your location, you'll be absolutely
knackered, and trying to find somewhere decent will take a lot
of energy. Find out from friends about recommended places, or
check out travelogues.
You can usually book your room/bunk from home with a credit
card over the phone. If possible, ask for a receipt and map
to make things easier when you get there!
- Use other people to help you. In YHAs and
other backpacking lodges, you will usually find a log-book,
full of advice of where to stay, where to visit,etc. They may
even have ways to save money (I've been given secret words to
say - very James Bond!)
- Do your own cooking. You may be taking your
own stove with you, but if not most hostels will have free cooking
facilities. Buy your groceries locally (markets are the cheapest),
then get creative over the hob. Not only can you cook what you
want, but you can eat as much as you want!
- Flash your student card. Make sure you have
a International Student ID card with you at all times. You can
get them locally (university travel shops are good places) and
they are accepted in most places. Many shops in larger towns
will offer a 10-20% discount for using them - I think they feel
sorry for us!
- Use your Debit Card. Check out the fees before
you leave. Although they may charge you 1-2% on foreign transactions,
this may be cheaper than the local bureau. Large banks also
offer better exchange rates, or you may find an international
bank which are almost certain to offer good rates.
- Watch out for those minimum charges when changing
cash or travellers cheques - ouch! If you are staying in one
area for a while, change more cash, and leave it in a safety
- Use public phone boxes. Although these are
expensive, they are often much cheaper than hotel phones. Hostel
phones are usually OK, but to get an even cheaper deal, try
a phone card. Most phone rates are cheaper if you use a card,
and it saves carrying cash. You can now get combination cards
which offer voicemail, fax forwarding - the works.
- Email is cheaper. As well as costing less
than an international call, friends and family do not need to
be awake in the middle of the night to talk to you.
- Use the Embassy. Keep a copy of your passport
and travel docs at your local embassy, along with contact details
for your insurance company. If you get anything stolen, this
should save you lots of time.
Hopefully, you've now got some ideas
on how to get the most out of your hard-earned cash. You will soon
pick up your own ideas on how to save money, and why not help others
out by posting a few tips on our message boards.