Travel ninjas are masters of travelling for free through early planning, extensive use of loyalty programmes and so-called travel hacking; to do so requires an investment in terms of time and energy and a lot of planning ahead.
Other than getting lucky with a last minute offer, it’s too late now to achieve great savings on the upcoming holidays but there are still a couple of things you can do to pay less during your vacation.
Pack like a ninja
– First, think about the luggage you’re carrying. Depending on your mode of transportation hardside suitcases will guarantee nothing you carry is (badly) damaged but they are not as expandable as soft luggage. If you know you’ll bring back more than you left with, a flexible bag might avoid having to buy a new piece of luggage.
– Secondly, make a list before you pack. If you’ve been following this column you know I’m fond of planning, budgets and lists. Think how much time you’re away, what you will be doing and pack only what you really need. Sometimes it might be cheaper to buy certain items (e.g. toiletries) at your destination than to carry heavy luggage (this is also true if you’re travelling by car: a heavier load will consume more fuel). If you’re going away for a longer period or with children, investigate beforehand the laundry possibilities and take some detergent with you. Compare the price of laundry services where you’re staying at with the cost of checking in an extra bag with your airline and decide what makes more sense.
– Finally, roll, don’t fold! And bundle. There are many videos and tutorials on how to best pack a suitcase to save space – and have wrinkle-free clothes at your destination. The techniques are quite simple and can save you some money and valuable time.
Plan and schedule
Bear with me! We are all trying to get away from the hassle of schedules and tight deadlines but a little bit of planning can lead to great results for you and your family – and your wallet. If you are taking the car back home plan the route and the stops beforehand, especially if you have children on board. Prepare meals and snacks to avoid pricy stops. If you are not in a hurry a scenic route outside of toll highways might be more enjoyable to everyone in the car. Late check-out in hotels might cost additional fees but most lodgings will keep your luggage at no extra cost until the time you start travelling.
Other than that, recharge your batteries and enjoy your much deserved rest!