Travel experts reveal ‘game-changing’ hacks for budget-conscious explorers: ‘Double your time off’

Travel experts reveal ‘game-changing’ hacks for budget-conscious explorers: ‘Double your time off’

We may be in a cost-of-living crisis and constantly bracing for possible hikes in rent, mortgages, petrol and groceries, but that’s not stopping some of us from planning the next big travel adventure.

More than half of Gen X (54 per cent) are still preparing to head off on an international trip in the next six months, according to Aussie tour operator Costsaver. But how do you make it work when you want to see the world on an ever-dwindling budget?

Yahoo Finance went straight to the pros – a travel influencer and a personal travel manager – for their tips and tricks to ensure travellers get plenty of bang for their buck.

Travel experts reveal ‘game-changing’ hacks for budget-conscious explorers: ‘Double your time off’Travel experts reveal ‘game-changing’ hacks for budget-conscious explorers: ‘Double your time off’

Travel influencer Tim Abbott dishes the dirt on his best hacks for budget travellers. (Source: Supplied) (Supplied)

1. Maximise your annual leave

First things first, make the most of your annual leave by utilising public holidays.

“If your travel dates are flexible, you can be savvy with your annual leave to align it with the public holiday and double your time off,” travel influencer Tim Abbott told Yahoo Finance.

To help you plan your leave around public holidays, check out Yahoo Finance‘s guide here.

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But you should also try to avoid the busiest times of the year.

“Travel outside peak season,” personal travel manager Dana Brown from Travel Managers told Yahoo Finance. “By avoiding the peak season, you not only save money, you get to enjoy places with fewer tourists.”

2. Plan early

There is certainly something to be said about the early bird getting the worm, and that’s especially true when it comes to travel.

“Plan your trip in advance,” Brown said. “By doing this, you can take advantage of early-bird discounts on flights, tours, and higher-ticket items.”

Tim Abbott in a helicopter (left) and on a horse (right). Tim Abbott in a helicopter (left) and on a horse (right).

Travel influencer Tim Abbott says a great way to save money is to join a group tour with plenty of inclusions. (Source: Supplied) (Supplied)

3. Pick inclusive tours

Group tours aren’t just a way to travel with a bunch of friends you haven’t met yet, they’re also a more cost-effective way to tick off those bucket-list locations.

“Tours are excellent when travelling solo [for] making new friends and seeing as much as possible for an affordable price,” Abbott said.

“I added a … tour to the end of my America trip to visit as many national parks as possible. On the Spectacular Canyons and National Parks tour, I was fortunate enough to fly over the Grand Canyon as a part of my tour without any additional costs.

“Tours are such an effective way to see the sights and have someone do the heavy lifting by organising the food, accommodation, flights, and transport.”

Composite image of a woman enjoying a fruit platter by the pool, and a woman smiling in front of a scenic backdrop.Composite image of a woman enjoying a fruit platter by the pool, and a woman smiling in front of a scenic backdrop.

Personal travel manager Dana Brown spends her free time jet-setting. (Source: Instagram/@wildheartedworld)

4. See a travel agent

Think you can do it yourself? Think again, according to Brown.

“Make your travel adviser your best friend,” she said.

“They have access to wholesale deals you won’t find online. For example, yesterday I found a four-night hotel stay in Vancouver for $400 less than anything my client could see online.”

A woman admires the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.A woman admires the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Tours are an effective way to see all the sights you want to see with much less effort. (Source: Getty)

5. Read reviews

Don’t waste your money on hotels that aren’t worth it — read reviews.

“There’s a lot of truth in reviews online, for better or worse,” Abbott told Yahoo Finance. “When organising accommodation or experiences, always check the review first.

“It may mean spending more each night, but it saves you bed bugs and a mouldy bathroom. I am, unfortunately, speaking from experience.”

A plane taking off. A plane taking off.

Packing carry-on only can significantly slash your flight prices. (Source: Getty) (Getty Images)

6. Don’t waste time with jet lag

If you want to make the most of every second of your holiday and not waste any time sleeping off the travel, Abbott’s best bet is to deal with jet lag early.

“Download the Timeshifter travel app,” he advised. “This one is a game changer for maximising your time away.

“Developed alongside NASA, this free app will give you the best times to sleep, eat and drink caffeine to match your travel itinerary.”

7. Pack carry-on only

This one might be a stretch for those with an Instagrammable wardrobe, but you might want to consider this hack seriously because luggage prices can be astronomical.

“Pack light,” Brown said. “Travelling with only a carry-on can save you more than half the flight price when travelling with budget airlines in Europe.”

And that should be enough to make you trim that fat from your backpack.

8. Grab a city pass

Go for the all-inclusive when you can, because it’s bound to save you a few dollars.

“Most cities offer passes that are packed with inclusions that can save a lot of money compared to individual entry prices,” Brown said.

“The New York City Pass is a great example of this.”

9. Eat like a local

Avoid the overpriced tourist traps and do as the locals do.

“Get off the main tourist streets and try local cafes, restaurants and street food,” Brown encouraged. “You’ll fill up for a fraction of the price and get a real taste for the destination.”

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We may be in a cost-of-living crisis and constantly bracing for possible hikes in rent, mortgages, petrol and groceries, but that’s not stopping some of us from planning the next big travel adventure. More than half of Gen X (54 per cent) are still preparing to head off on an international trip in the next…

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