Traveling is an enriching experience that doesn’t always have to break the bank. With careful planning and savvy strategies, you can explore the world without draining your savings during the Christmas period. With the cost of living, here are some tips to help you save money while travelling this Christmas.
1. Save money using cash back websites and apps
This is by far the easiest way to save money, especially when travelling. With the use of cashback websites, you can get a percentage of the money you spend through the website or app returned as cash. Just like affiliate links provide a percentage payment for clicking on a link, cashback sites share the earnings with you. You’ll be able to withdraw the money into a bank account or have your cashback is sent to a financial provider like PayPal whenever your cashback earnings reach a particular amount. This is one of the easiest ways to save money while travelling this Christmas.
Here are a list of the cash back sites I like to use for travel related sites like Booking.com, Viator Agoda, Trainline.com and even Ticketmaster or Disneyland.
ShopBack is one of my favourite cashback sites, closely followed by Cashrewards. Sign up and create an account for free. Save money on your online shopping, click and collect and bookings just by entering a website via ShopBack. You can earn up to 50% cashback when upsized. Install the ShopBack app now and earn real cashback on your shopping and bookings to save money while travelling this Christmas. With over 4000 stores listed across 11 countries as of December 2023.
This year, I managed to earn $705.02 just by paying for accomodation, tours, train tickets and even uber eats. We always check our cashback apps before we pay for anything.
My second favourite cashback sites is Cashrewards. I like to compare cashback percentages between each site to see who has the best offer. Join Cashrewards for free and earn cashback on things you already buy and bookings. With over 2000 Australian and International stores listed. Unfortunately Cashrewards is only available in Australia.
TopCashback was founded more than 18 years ago and has over 22 million users worldwide. Although TopCashback has grown exponentially since 2005, TopCashback is still committed to being the most generous cashback company in the world. This year I used the UK Top Cashback website to earn £50 back on my Disneyland Paris booking. Top Cashback has sites worldwide and it is easy to sign up based on the country you are visiting.
Join a rewards programs
Maximise your travel rewards by signing up for loyalty programs, using travel credit cards, or earning miles or points for flights. Additionally, look for discounts offered to reward program members, students and seniors. One of my favourite loyalty programs for Australians is Qantas. Check out my posts about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program and the Velocity Frequent Flyer program.
2. Save money while dining out
Make the most of your dining budget this Christmas. We’re all feeling the strain from the growing cost of living and all the increases in interest rates. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without during your trip. Here are a few tips for savings money while travelling during the Christmas period.
First Table (Australia and New Zealand only)
When visiting Australia and New Zealand get up to 50% off your meal when you reserve a table with First Table. First Table helps restaurant owners by starting their evening off well. Using the power of social proof, First Table encourages customers to arrive early so that the restaurant can draw in new business early on.
Groupon’s app offers a variety of deals for diners, including fixed-price discounts and cash back offers. Users link a debit or credit card to their account, claim offers, and use the card at the restaurant. Groupon connects you with merchants by offering activities, travel, goods and services in 13 countries.
OpenTable is a reservations app that allows users to collect dining points. Points can be used for future meals at partner restaurants, hotel stays via Kayak, or Amazon gift cards.
3. Save money by booking an apartment or AirBnb
If you really want to reduce costs while travelling, booking an apartment with a kitchenette and washing machine is a great way to save. Having your own fridge and kitchen means you can buy meals from the supermarket to wip together. Having a washing machine means you will either save money on housekeeping services, or time and money spent travelling to a laundromat. Consider staying in hostels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals like Airbnb, which can offer more affordable rates and a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. Additionally, look for accommodations that include breakfast or dining.
4. Save money by eating and shopping local
Sampling local cuisine is an essential part of travel, but dining out for every meal can quickly add up. To save money, opt for street food stalls, local markets, or eateries frequented by locals. Embrace the culture and flavours while enjoying affordable meals. Also, consider grocery shopping for snacks or making picnics with local produce.
Some great ways to save money are to stop by the corner stores and purchase ready made meals. Travelling through Japan we bought a lot of our snacks and food from convenience stores, they sold delicious sushi and cooked meals. While in Switzerland we bought a lot of our snacks and meals from CoOp, these meals were delicious and a lot cheaper than eating out. Exploring the UK we bought a lot of our meals and snacks from Sainsbury’s or Tesco, these made for great on the go meals. If you are visiting my home country Australia, you can buy snacks, salads, sandwhiches, how snacks and microwave dinner from Coles or Woolworths.
5. Find yourself the right discount codes
Although there aren’t many coupon sites around any more, they are out there. While I was living in the UK VoucherCloud was my go to to get 2 for 1 deals and discounts on meals. If you are visiting Australia Frugal Feeds is a great coupon site to grab yourself some discounts. Find coupons for your favourite fast food restaurants like Hungry Jacks, KFC and Red Rooster. There are many more coupon sites out there, however, a lot of them will only allow access when you in the country or if you use a VPN. Coupons are a greta way to find deals and save money while travelling this Christmas.
6. Use public transport
It is often worth seeing if there are travel cards a friend or family member could pass on. With millions of unclaimed money on dormant cards, the chances a few dollars being leftover on a card given to you is high.
Utilise public transportation, such as buses or trains, to get around instead of expensive taxis or private transfers. Walking is an excellent way to explore a city while saving on transportation costs. Many cities also offer tourist passes for unlimited travel on public transport, providing great value for money.
7. Save money by using a local sim card or eSim
Unlock your smart phone and use a local sim to save money on international roaming charges. Some countries will let you buy a sim card with just your passport, others may require a residential address. For those that require an address you can go for other options such as an eSim. I like to use the Airalo to purchase eSims. Airalo also has a reward program and gives you packages per region.
8. Use a travel friendly Bank account
Something I learnt way too late in my travels is that there are great banks out there that don’t charge a fortune in international fees. There are also banks out there that will rebate the fees when you use ATM’s. Which is amazing when you are on a cruise and the ATM charges you $6 just for getting cash out. After a while all the fees add up, so it’s important to do your research. As an Australian, the best bank account by far is with ING. Although ING have reduced their rebates to 5 per month, in my opinion they have still provided the best international rates and low fees.
9. Book in advance (where possible)
I know this one is too late to get ahead of, but if you have travel plans for Christmas next year, I highly recommend you book early. Flights will start to open up 12 months in advance, as soon as they are available you will find yourself some great deals on long haul flights. This is also the case for tours, activities and train tickets. If you don’t think you are getting the best deal, spend the next 12 months watching the market, keep an eye out for Boxing Day sales, end of financial year sale, Black Friday sales and Travel Deal Tuesday sales. These are all great ways to earn a discount on your travels during the most expensive time of the year.
Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you click on the link. I do not recommend anything that I don’t personally use. The income goes towards keeping this site updated and free. Please refer to my Disclaimer, Affiliate Disclosure and Terms of Service for more information.