There’s nothing less relaxing than trying to plan a holiday when the budget doesn’t stack up.
But there are plenty of ways savvy travellers can pick up a bargain – from flights and hotels to fine-dining experiences.
Here are five no-stress travel savings tips to get more bang for your holiday buck.
1. Fly off-peak
We all know flights are more expensive during school holidays.
But did you realise you can scoop up serious savings by avoiding peak business travel times?
That can be as simple as flying on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday, or taking off in the afternoon rather than the morning.
Choosing the right airport can also help you save money.
Many cities, especially in Europe, have a choice of airports, with the ones farther from the centre often offering cheaper flights.
2. Don’t weigh yourself down
There are plenty of reasons to travel light, but here’s one we bet you haven’t considered: pack too much luggage and it may cost you.
Budget airlines tend to have strict weight limits, sometimes as low as 15 kilograms, and they charge steep fees for excess baggage.
Need another reason to pack light?
Consider this: the less you are lugging around, the more likely you are to choose public transport over a taxi – always a money saving move.
3. Sleep on the cheap
You can save a bundle by opting for a 'bundle' – the flights-plus-accommodation packages offered by companies such as Flight Centre, Expedia and Travelocity.
Depending on the package, you may save as much as 20% on standard room rates.
Another easy way to find bargains is to sign up for free hotel loyalty reward programs.
Typical perks include free wi-fi, late check-outs and upgrades.
Many hotels also advertise special rates on their Facebook pages, so 'Like' your favourite company to get first dibs on cheaper rooms.
4. Tap into tech
There are plenty of travel apps that can help you save while you are on the road, including some that may already be on your phone.
Did you realise, for instance, that you can use your Uber account in any city where Uber operates?
For those who prefer to take public transport, Citymapper shows you the best public transport options to get where you are going in certain cities around the world..
Another essential app for travellers is WiFi Finder, which pinpoints the nearest no-cost wi-fi.
It's only available for Android but there are other versions for Apple users.
And if you’re stuck with a long airport layover, LoungeBuddy will help you find the nearest pay-for-access lounge.
If you are travelling domestically, signing up for a rewards program like NRMA Bluecan save you a lot of money. The discounts on accomodation, fuel and parking can all be accessed through the my nrma app.
5. Lunch for less
Restaurants aren’t the only places you can find good food.
In countries from Japan and Germany, department store basements often contain food halls replete with affordable edibles.
Another smart move for budget travellers is to switch your main meal to lunchtime.
Around the world, lunches tend to be much cheaper than dinners.
Even high-end restaurants are in on the act.
At Paris’s Michelin-starred L’Agape, for instance, you will pay just 44 euros for a four-course lunch, whereas the price of an evening meal soars way above 100 euros.
Finally, don't try to save by not taking out travel insurance! Find out what cover you need for your trip here.