Between John and I we have been to over 27 different countries and while that may not be loads in comparison to some it has taught us a fair amount about travelling on a budget and getting the best deal possible when it comes to booking. When we plan family trips I am usually the one assigned to finding the best deal from hotels to flights, trains and local transport which is something I love to do and I am a big fan of review sights such as trip advisor for getting a more realistic view on what to expect before checking in somewhere.
The great thing about travelling today is the array of free resources available online, along with an abundance of comparison sites but this too can mean you end up sending a very long time looking for deals which actually you may up end missing out if you don't act at the right time. When it comes to booking your travel timing really is everything.
In fact a well known online travel agency Opodo recently shared their insights into when is the best time to book flights and it threw up some interesting facts according to their database over the past year. Did you know the cheapest days to book flights on is Saturday and Sunday - I honestly would of thought it would do been a week day. Also the cheapest months to travel were September and October which really does make sense as they are off peak times but still pretty good in terms of weather across Europe.
If you don't fancy flying or your just looking for a cheap staycation here are my top 5 tips on being travel savvy and getting the right deal at the right time.
1. Be flexible - if you are not set in your dates and can travel a few days either side of your preferred date it gives you a lot more options and the likelihood of finding a quiet off-peak flight, train or hotel is going to be much higher.
2. Use comparison sites - it's surprising how much you can save just by comparing the rate you have with any other online travel agencies - the amount can vary considerably.
3. Be flexible with your accommodation, have a look at some boutique hostels, self catering and apartment options as they can sometimes be a better deal than hotels.
4. Eat al fresco - a simple way of keeping down the costs when it comes to spending money on food is to eat al fresco at a local park or sightseeing spot. Simply shop like a local at a supermarket and make yourself a little picnic on the go which will be by far cheaper than eating out.
5. Find the free attractions - again research your destination and see what there is to do there for free. Many museums and public spaces cost little or no money as well as famous sights you can walk too.
Of course there are plenty of other tips such as travelling with only hand luggage to keep down any extra costs and if you are checking bags in then do make sure you weight them beforehand so you don't have any nasty shocks at the airport. Always carrying a refill water bottle with you, walking as much as possible (which is also the best way to see a city). Another major "Must Do" is always have both health insurance and your free European Health Insurance Card which will save you thousands should you get sick or injured during your trip.