So picture this. It’s my first business trip that was over a span of three days. Because it was my first trip I packed a massive suitcase that was so full my male colleagues had to lift it for me. With some travel experience I have finally mastered the art of packing light. In fact, I can now pack for a whole 2 weeks in a single carry on. And it’s not just packing light that I have learned over the years. I have discovered some good travel money saving tips that will make your wallet smile.
Skip the Baggage Fees
Most airlines now charge a baggage fee. I tend to fly Air Canada which comes with a $25.00 baggage fee each way ($50.00 total for one person!). To me this is such a waste of money. So instead I try my best to pack a carry on to avoid the fee. It’s all about mix matching those outfits. This is where a capsule wardrobe really comes in handy. I try to pack a couple pair of pants, a couple blazers and then switch up my tops. I then use accessories to make my outfits look different. In the summer dresses are my #1 go to because they are light and don’t take up too much room in my suitcase. When picking out what I want to pack, I try to pack light clothes and avoid bulk. I also pack 2 pairs of neutral shoes that can go with all my outfit options.
Bring Your Own Snacks
On our way to Jamaica our flight was delayed a few hours. Luckily we were given a $10.00 airport food voucher of which the only thing $10 could get me was water… We all know that the cost of airport food is way overpriced. Pack your own food and bring it along (yes you can do that!). Eat a full meal before you leave for the airport and bring a couple of snacks to sustain you. While you can’t bring liquids past security, if you bring your own water bottle most restaurants in airports will fill it up saving you an extra few bucks.
Taxi vs Airport Parking
Airport parking can be very expensive, luckily there are cheaper alternative like “Park and Fly” available to travellers. But what about taxi’s or Uber? To determine whether I am going to park at the airport or take a taxi I look at how many nights I will be away for and calculate the cost of parking. I then compare that amount to how much a taxi or Uber would approximately cost me. In my experience, if I am away for longer than 3 days, the cheaper alternative is to taxi. Or if you are lucky, perhaps you can hitch a ride with a friend or family member.
Know Your Planes Entertainment System
There is nothing more disappointing then getting on an air plane only to realise that there is no entertainment unit. Many planes offer iPad rentals so you’re not stuck twiddling your thumbs for the next few hours. Know your plan prior to your trip. If your plane doesn’t have an entertainment system be prepared! Bring some books or even your own iPad with some downloaded episodes for your favourite Netflix series (I love that you can now download on Netflix!).
Avoid Pricey Roaming Charges
Have you ever used your phone on vacation only to get the shock of a life time when you see your phone bill? Pretty much all service providers offer US roaming plans that will help avoid those costly fees. I use Roam Like Home from Rogers which only costs me $5.00/day. If you are travelling in areas outside of the United States the most cost effective thing to do is to buy a SIM card ($20.00 or less) from a cell provider in the country that you are travelling to. Many cell plans come with pre-paid options so you don’t have to worry about any surprise fees. Just make sure to bring an unlocked phone with you. And if you really want to cut costs stick to Wi-Fi only.
Save on Foreign Currency
A necessary evil when travelling is buying foreign currency, it is especially painful when the dollar isn’t doing so hot. Most people tend to go to their bank to buy foreign currency, but did you know that the foreign exchange market is a competitive one? Rather than settling for your banks foreign exchange rate, call around to the different institutions to ensure you get the best rate and lowest service fee. It could end up saving you big bucks!
Take Advantage of Airline Loyalty Programs
I stick to one Airline and with that am part of their great loyalty program. The more flights I take the more points I earn. These points can be redeemed for upgrades or freebies such as lounge visits. There are no fees associated with being part of a loyalty program, so why not? This most certainly came in handy on my flight home from Portland. We were delayed in the plane for three hours. But I was upgraded to business class and was very comfortable during our delay (I can’t say the same for some of my other colleagues).
With that, I am off dreaming about my next vacation! Share your money saving ideas in the comments below or join in my Instagram conversation (@theaccountantswifeblog).