How To Save Money On Holiday Without Compromise

No one loves to budget on holiday – after all, part of the joy of time abroad is to free ourselves of the worries of the everyday. But the reality is that now more than ever, it’s a sensible thing to do. Gah. At least there are ways and means to help stay within budget in ways that don’t stop the fun of a holiday.

From scoping out times of free entry to galleries, to sampling local produce in a site-specific scenic experience (aka going on a picnic), there are easy ways to shave off a little of each day’s expense while still experiencing your destination to its fullest, and coming home armed full of great memories. Here are our favourite ways to save cash without compromise.

Check out free museum and gallery days

While it’s a real treat to visit the world’s best museums and galleries, if you’d rather spend your holiday money elsewhere, you can get in free if you pick the right time. Knowing the public value of seeing amazing things on display, you’ll more than likely find that the most prestigious museums and galleries in a destination are open to all at certain times or certain days. The Museo del Prado in Madrid, for example, features works by Velasquez, Goya and Rubens, and is free every day between 6-8pm, and on Sundays and bank holidays between 5-7pm. And the Museum of Modern Art in New York is free every Friday after 4pm, so you can see Picasso, Dali, Miró, Kandinsky, Klimt and Chagall for zero money!

Avoid the hotel breakfast

We love a good hotel breakfast, but while the four-course meals are a nice treat, it often means a fair whack is quietly added to the cost of the room – in a three- or four-star hotel, it could be an extra £15-30 per meal. So it’s certainly worth calling the hotel and checking the price difference if you opt for room-only instead of bed and breakfast. You’re likely to find you’ll get more bang for your buck if you opt to have brekkie in a local café instead. A meal there might not be an all-you-can-eat experience, but you’ll still be well-fed, you’ll get to explore a little more of your destination, and you’ll save money without any detriment to your holiday.

Turn off data roaming

Depending on how much you’re attached to your phone, this suggestion might be too much of a compromise. But if you’re able to prise yourself off it when abroad, you can save yourself a few bob a day by turning off data roaming and only using Wi-fi. Most accommodation offer free wi-fi, and so do restaurants and bars – which means you’ll only be without wi-fi intermittently. When you have Wi-fi access, download information and maps that you’ll need for the next couple of hours, and avoid the pain of a pricey phone bill afterwards. That also means you can spend your time on holiday in the moment, rather than checking your phone for things.

Eat al fresco

There are fewer things more pleasurable than trying out local cuisine. But it needn’t break the bank. On a sunny day, find out the best delis, artisan producers and markets in town, and gather their finest produce for a picnic in the area’s most scenic spot. It will save you a pretty penny while sampling premium products, you’ll have leftovers to snack on, and it will create a special memory of the holiday that you’d never get in a restaurant.

Plan your itinerary to avoid paying for public transport

With many transport options around major cities, a little planning goes a long way. For example, if you’re planning to hop on a sightseeing bus – and why wouldn’t you, as they’re an easy way to get your bearings on the city’s geography and history quickly – plot out everything you want to see in the vicinity of the stops, then make sure you’ve exhausted that area before heading onto the next. That way, you’ll save both extra transport costs, as well as time.

Want to see a little more? Most cities have free or cheap city bikes for hire, and are increasingly cycle-friendly. So instead of negotiating buses or trams, hop on a bike and ride the cycle lanes to your destination – it’ll feel like more of an adventure as well!


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