Get more for your money when travelling...
Thinking of travelling this year? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled the best backpacking hacks to use in 2017. From how to scope out cheap flights, choosing affordable destinations and cutting costs during the booking process - plus much much more. Use our tips to really make the most of your travel budget this year!
Want more? Check out our guide on How to Travel Europe on a Budget
HACKS FOR FLYING
Let's start with the initial stages of booking and perhaps the most vital stage. How to get to your destination. Sorting out flights can be a stressful and expensive process. Here's where to look, what to do and how to do it...
- STICK TO BUDGET AIRLINES
In North America, you can use Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. In Europe, you can use Ryan Air, Easy Jet, and Eurowings.
- ALWAYS CHECK DEALS ON WOW AIR
Travelling from America? WOW Air recently rolled out a $69 one-way fare from California to Europe. And for Brits, WOW are offering super cheap flights to Iceland from different UK airports!
- USE THE RIGHT WEBSITES
Rather than searching for an airfare at a major travel search engine like Expedia or Last Minute use an aggregator like Momondo.com, Google.com/flights or Skyscanner.com. These websites will help you to find the cheapest of the cheapest flights out there. You won't need anything else!
- BOOK EARLY
Bit of an obvious one but very important. For the best fare bargains, book flights and accommodation at least a month ahead. Prices go up fast.
- SIGN UP TO AIRLINE NEWSLETTERS
JetBlue, for example, frequently sends out flash sale emails. Also, websites like Airfarewatchdog are great for finding top-notch flight prices, thanks to flight-tracker alerts that notify you when prices drop. Scott’s Cheap Flights, on the other hand, will notify you via email of unusual flight deals that airlines either purposefully or accidentally offer.
- FOLLOW AIRLINES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
To get updates and cheap promo's
- NEVER BOOK WITHOUT LOOKING FOR DEALS
You never know when you can get a bargain when looking on Easyjet.com or RyanAir and even Eurostar.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE STOPOVERS
Sometimes it’s worth opting for a stopover! Get two trips out of one holiday, without paying twice as much for flights. Especially if the stopover is a destination you’ve always wanted to visit. For example WOW are currently offering a stopover in Iceland if you book a return flight. Not only do stopovers break up your long-haul journey, they also tick an extra place from your bucket list.
- SAVE TIME AT THE AIRPORT
Pre-order a meal - Travelling from the US? Use the Grab app to pre-order a meal of your choice at the airport, and have it ready for you when you arrive. Saves a lot of time! The app allows you to search restaurants that are nearby your terminal and gate. t's available at more than 40 airports in the U.S.
DO (What's worth forking out more money for): If your budget allows you to, it's really really worth booking a DIRECT flight to your destination. It saves so much valuable time rather than waiting around for hours in the airport in a random city. If you only have a few days off work for example, you don't want to catch 2 or 3 flights in the space of a day! The extra £100 could make all the difference in making the most of your trip. You could be sipping something cool overlooking the sea in the time you're sat on another plane!
WHERE TO TRAVEL CHEAPLY THIS YEAR
According to the European Backpacker Index (which basically rounds up the cheapest cities by price for 2017), some of our favourite places in Europe make the cut. The backpacker index is based upon huge amounts of research from affordable meals and drinks, hostels, transport and one paid attraction per day in a specific city.
These destinations had a pretty good score on the backpacker index. Head to these cities for a more affordable but equally awesome experience...
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Athens, Greece
The struggling euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece.
- Bruges, Belgium
- Barcelona (The only European city to also be featured in Forbes Top 30 cheapest places to travel in 2017)
And for a reason. One of the most popular European cities but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do. Tuck into yummy street food or cheap Sangria for only a few euros. Check out the best affordable places in the city with our guide to the 5 Funky Flavours of Barcelona. Or Check out the 5 Best Affordable Bars in Barcelona.
While Paris is known to be an expensive city, according to Forbes, since the Paris Attacks the city has lost 30% tourism. The plummeting Euro makes Paris almost a bargain. It's worth checking Eurostar for the cheapest times to go to Paris, too. At the moment, you can get there from £29 one way!
- Zagreb, Croatia
DO (What's worth forking out more money for): EURORAIL! Perhaps the best and most efficient way to get around these big cities if you're interrailing.
The beautiful Prague
HACKS WHEN BOOKING ACCOMMODATION
- BOOK HOSTELS
- Hostels are always a good idea when budget travelling. Just make sure you find the right one. Via Hostelworld.com or St Christopher’s Inns
- CHECK LATEST DEALS
ALWAYS be sure to check deals on the site you’re looking at. Find out our deals on European cities here
- FREE BREAKFAST
It’s important to ensure your accommodation provides free breakfast to really allow you to splurge more on lunch and dinner. Fill yourself up for the day, save money as a result!
- NO DEPOSIT
Travel with no limits. If you’re the spontaneous traveller (like many of our readers are), it's important to tailor a trip to your flexible travel lifestyle. Changing your plans last minute or shortening your stay somewhere means you could lose a lot of money if you cancel a room booking. So...only book if the accommodation provides a No Deposit scheme. That way you put no money down until you arrive. Plus you can cancel without losing a fortune!
DO (What's worth forking out more money for): Ideally you want your hostel/hotel to be positioned in a central location within easy access to the main sites and popular areas. While it's more expensive than staying a little further out of town, you'll thank yourself later when you save on transport fares and the hassles of getting to where you want to be!
St Christopher's Inns, Barcelona
TRAVEL HACKS FOR WHEN YOU ARRIVE
- DO CHEAP TOURS
Save money on local tours by finding cheaper ones run by students.
- BUY CITY PASSES
Sometimes the best way to explore the city (and see the majority of it) is with one of these bad boys. Traveling to a major urban center? Buying a city pass can help you save if you want to hit up the popular tourist attractions. Paris' Museum Pass , for example, will get you free entry into more than 60 popular museums and monuments in the city. The Lisboa card, Berlin card and London card offer similar things...We also recommend the open-top city bus tours where you can hop on and off as you please!
- MAKE THE MOST OF FREE ATTRACTIONS/ACTIVITIES
Free walking tours, free entry to museums: Natural History Museum in London for example.
- BUDGET WISELY WITH THE HELP OF TECHNOLOGY
Save and budget on your travels with the Monzo app
- BUY YOUR OWN FOOD
Buy food from local supermarkets and cook it in the hostel if you're on a tight budget
- READ REVIEWS
These will tell you where to avoid tourist traps, where’s good n’ cheap and value for money but worth-it places to eat/drink and party! TripAdvisor is usually your best bet!
- Don't have Wi-Fi but need Google Maps to get your somewhere? Take a screen shot of your journey before you leave your accommodation using the WI-Fi - and follow the map from the photo!
DO (What's worth forking out more money for): Treat yourself to good food and amazing experiences while you're there. That's why you've budgeted on accommodation and flights in the first place. When you look back you won't remember the euros you saved but the memories you bought, whether it's a nice restaurant or a festival ticket!