ways to save money while travelling

Top 5 Member Tips for saving money

Apr 27, 2023 11:18:28 AM / by HealthCarePlus

We recently ran a survey about travelling overseas with our Members and one of the questions we asked got a huge response so we thought we would turn it into a wee blog.


The question was: If you could share one tip for saving money while travelling or when planning a trip, what would it be?


Travelling can be an amazing experience, but it can also be expensive. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money while travelling or when planning a trip.  So here is what our Member's recommended:


1. Plan your trip in advance

According to our Members, one of the best ways to save money while travelling is to plan your trip in advance. This allows you to take advantage of early-bird deals, which can save you a lot of money on flights, accommodation, and activities.  Additionally, planning your trip in advance gives you more time to research and find the best deals on everything from food to transportation.


Also, many of our members recommended travelling during the off-season as a way to save money. During the low season, prices for flights, accommodation, and activities tend to be much lower than during peak season. Also, travelling during the off-season means that you can avoid the crowds, meet the locals, and have a more authentic experience of your destination.


What our Member's said: 


"Spend time planning well before travelling - read about others experiences and make a folder to compare before booking - explore ways of taking money/cards/travelcards etc. that do not have excessive fees."


"Book early and book your own accommodation - lots of great options this way"


"Plan ahead and purchase airfares and accommodation early when less expensive.  For a night stopover just need basic clean accommodation with clean sheets and bathroom."


"Plan ahead, book ahead,  and try to avoid school holidays"


"Book as much as you can in advance and take advantage of sites like Booking.com that offer free cancellation for hotels."


"Try to have one leg of your journey midweek as fares can be a little cheaper then."


"Book ahead and prepay takes the stress away and airfares only go up nearer departure times"


"Just plan. You know your money situation so plan enjoy and don't go back home knowing that you have really over spent.  Holidays are to be enjoyed not worrying about over spending,"


"Book in advance, sign up to airline emails so you know about promotions straight away"

2. Choose budget-friendly accommodation

Accommodation is often one of the biggest expenses when travelling, but there are ways to save money on it.  Many of our members recommended staying in budget-friendly accommodation such as hostels, Airbnb, or camping. 


One of the most popular tips that emerged from our survey was to book your own accommodation directly with the hotels.  It is recommended to use third party websites eg Booking.com, Expedia to find a hotel to stay in but often it will be cheaper to book with the hotel itself.


What our Members Said:


"Use youth hostels and campsites to tour for accommodation."


"Accommodation in the UK is expensive. We (in our late 60s/early 70s) like to use Youth Hostels where we can.  However you do have to book early as the hostels are often very fully booked a long way ahead."


"As we will be riding our bikes for 6 weeks  , not e-bikes,  camping is a very economical way to travel  providing one has good camping gear.  It gives more flexibility if one has researched camping areas en route .  In bad weather one can stay in a cabin.  When travelling by car we camp most nights."


"Check accommodation on line and then ring the hotel or motel or bnb to check if they can give you a better price direct.  Many will give you a business card to contact them directly the next time you stay."


"For hotel or motel bookings look at all the various prices offered online by the numerous booking companies. Sometimes it is cheaper to book directly with the hotel or motel."


"Use third party websites eg Booking.com, Expedia to find a hotel to stay in, but often it will be cheaper to book with the hotel itself eg Afroessa Hotel on Santorini is offering 20% off and free breakfast if you book directly on their website.  Also, use third party websites eg Google Flights and Sky Scanner to find the most suitable flight to your destination, but it is always safer to book on your chosen airlines website."


3. Cook your own meals

Eating out can be expensive, particularly in touristy areas.  That's why many of our Members recommended cooking their own meals as a way to save money.  Staying in an Airbnb or hostel with a kitchen can make it easy to prepare your own meals, or you can visit local supermarkets and markets to buy fresh produce and snacks.


What our Members said:


"Stay local and cook own meal"


"Self Catering accommodation and have a mix of eating in, takeaways and the occasional meal out."


"Whilst travelling - don't eat out every meal, get accommodation with kitchen facilities and explore to find your nearest general store/market."


"Pack food!  Especially with little hungry mouths to feed."


"Don't always go to cafes or restaurants.  Fill up your water bottle from the accommodation and buy a sandwich/roll from a bakery and fruit from a fruit stall and have lots of picnics."


"Book a room with basic cooking facilities so we can go to a local supermarket and then prepare our own food rather than eating out."


"Avoid too many tourist centered activities - check what free events are on in the community.  Find the local markets or supermarkets and shop for fresh and easy meal options, breakfasts and snacks.  A big breakfast and snacks will keep you going so you can avoid spending on lunch.  Many BnB's offer a simple breakfast, tea and coffee."


4. Use public transportation

Transportation can also be a significant expense when travelling.  That's why many of our Members recommended using public transportation as a way to save money.  Buses, trains, and subways are often much cheaper than taxis or private transfers, and they can also be a great way to explore the local area.


What our Member's said:


"Remember your Gold Card if you have one!  Check out getting a rail/ bus pass- so much cheaper!"


"consider getting a travel card and transferring money to it when rates are good - rather than using your NZ credit Cards and associated fees."


"Use public transportation if you can.  You see more, can talk to locals who advise you of restaurants and places to go, and it's cheap as well as restful."


"Choose 3 star hotels/accommodation situated within short walking distance of railway or bus station.  You don't need a 4/5star hotel and the location saves you time and money for getting around (and often gives you a more authentic experience of the place you visit)."


"Use public transport and research the areas you are traveling to. Take advantage of free activities or walking tours."


TEU with travel insurance no cta-1



5. Have travel insurance


One of the best ways to save money when travelling is to have travel insurance.  Not only can it protect you in case of unexpected events, such as illness or lost luggage, but it can also help you save money in the long run.  Look for insurance options with high excess that you're comfortable with to save on premiums.


What our Members said:


"book airfares and accommodation well in advance and buy travel insurance"


"Use a travel agent & travel insurance for big airfares etc because, if things go wrong while you're away, they'll sort it out for you!"


"Take out insurance and do your homework on the destination."


"Double check bookings & timings, allow adequate time to travel to & from flight connections especially crossing time zones.  Check your travel documents at least twice, make sure your passport is up to date and have travel insurance."


"Research before you go! Check out insurance options and go with the highest excess you're comfortable with.  Research the public transport options.  Bring each family members water bottle and pack minimally with easy to wash and dry clothes.  Some youth hostels have excellent family rooms."


"I always take out insurance for my new knee - I do not want to have an accident in Australia and and up paying health costs etc.  It's called peace of mind."

Here's some other suggestions that didn't make the top 5, but are still worth mentioning: 


"Take a photocopy of your passport details and leave in your bag in case you lose your bag. Buy a bright coloured ribbon and tie it to the handle of your suitcase for instant identification, in the baggage claim. Take the suitcase lock and secure in two different places in another bag or pin to the inside of your jacket pocket, or around your neck on an id neck tie;you can buy in any gift shop. Enjoy you travel... write a diary"


"Mix your travel activities with free things to do in a location.  Much of traveling is experiencing the vibe of the place, which you can do by visiting public spaces."


"Hiking, took the basic option, which includes carrying own pack, shared accommodation, borrowing equipment I don't have."


"Do your research beforehand including finding cheapest ways of using public transport, which museums and galleries are free to enter.  Pre booking special deals (eg visit New York pass.) Restaurant specials prix fix lunches, 2 for 1 nights etc."


"If going to be a long time in another country and making a lot of local calls get a phone in that country to use for local calls.

"Use a local sim in your phone to avoid roaming charges and use wifi as much as possible."

"Talk to friends and family and ask about places/events that they enjoyed that didn't cost the earth and sky to enjoy."

"If you regularly travel to same country, open a local bank account. Australia ANZ has no fees for seniors.  Certainly saves a lot of hassle with internet banking."

"Get a Mastercard cash Passport card and load it with the currency you need in advance.  A little at a time as you save for the trip possibly"

"Use a smart travel card, like Air NZ OneSmart. Y ou can reload money but can also keep to a daily budget. Also tracks all purchases."



Travelling soon? Remember we have a Member-only special discount with Cover-More


Because of what you said in the survey, we know many of you will be looking forward to heading overseas again in the coming months.


So please remember that as a HealthCarePlus Member,  you can take advantage of our exclusive partnership with Cover-More to receive a 15% discount on travel insurance.

By clicking the link below and using the code 'HCPTRAVEL,' you can easily obtain a quote and ensure you are covered for any unexpected circumstances during your travels. 


TEU with travel insurance no cta-1


We hope this discount helps make your next trip a safe and enjoyable one.


Tags: Travel