Saving money, mile by mile


1. Book in advance

Booking your travel in advance can save you a significant amount of money. Many airlines and train companies offer discounted rates for customers who book in advance, so make sure you plan your trips well ahead of time. Additionally, booking in advance can help you avoid peak travel periods when prices tend to be higher.


2. Consider alternative modes of transportation

While trains and planes are often the most convenient modes of transportation, they can also be the most expensive. Consider alternative options like buses, coaches, and car-sharing services. These options are often more affordable and can still get you to your destination. Plus, you may get to see more of the country from the ground level.


3. Take advantage of student discounts

As a university student, you have access to a range of student discounts that can help you save money on travel. Many transportation companies, like National Express and Megabus, offer discounted rates for students, and you can also find discounts on accommodation and activities through your student union or organizations like NUS Extra.


4. Plan your itinerary carefully

Planning your itinerary carefully can help you avoid unnecessary expenses. Make sure to research the cost of transportation, accommodation, and activities before you book anything. Also, consider staying in hostels or Airbnb rentals rather than hotels, and look for free activities like walking tours and museums.


5. Use comparison sites

Skyscanner or Kayak when booking flights to find the cheapest options available. These sites compare prices across multiple airlines and travel agents, allowing you to find the best deals and save money on flights. Additionally, many of these sites offer features such as price alerts and flexible date searches, which can help you find even more savings. By using comparison sites, you can ensure that you're getting the best possible price for your flights and make the most of your travel budget.


6. Use a credit card

It's recommended to pay for flights or purchases over £100 with a credit card for extra protection. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the card company becomes equally liable if anything goes wrong with the booking. This means if the airline or holiday provider goes bankrupt and you booked directly with them, you can at least get your money back from the card company. However, it's important to always pay off the credit card balance in full at the end of the month to avoid interest charges.


7. Use a comparison site

When shopping for travel insurance. Just like with flights and accommodations, there can be a significant difference in the cost of travel insurance depending on the provider. Comparison sites allow you to compare travel insurance policies side-by-side and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget. Additionally, many comparison sites offer additional discounts or special offers, so be sure to check for any available promo codes or cashback deals. By using a comparison site, you can find the best travel insurance coverage for your trip at the most affordable price.


8. Download maps

This will allow you to use GPS navigation even when you don't have an internet connection, saving you from using up your data or getting lost in a foreign city. To download maps for offline use, simply open the Google Maps app, search for the area you want to download, and select "Download" from the menu. You can download multiple areas to use offline, and the maps will update automatically when you have an internet connection. By downloading maps ahead of time, you can stay connected and navigate your way around your destination without worrying about data usage or connectivity issues.


9. Beware roaming fees

Check if you will be charged for roaming when using your mobile phone abroad. Roaming charges can add up quickly and result in expensive bills, so it's essential to check with your mobile provider to see what the fees are for using your phone abroad. If the charges are high, purchase a prepaid SIM card when you arrive at your destination. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased at local mobile phone shops or at the airport and can provide you with a local phone number and data plan. This can be a much more affordable way to stay connected while travelling and avoid excessive roaming charges from your home mobile provider. Just make sure to check if your phone is unlocked and compatible with the local network before purchasing a prepaid SIM card.


10. Take food and drink when flying

If you're flying, consider taking your own food with you to avoid paying for expensive airport meals. Most airports allow you to bring your own food through security, as long as it complies with the liquid restrictions. By packing your own snacks or meals, you can save money and ensure that you have something you like to eat during your flight. Just make sure to avoid packing liquids over 100ml, such as drinks or dressings, as these may be confiscated by security. You can also bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you're through security, to avoid paying for bottled water. By being prepared and bringing your own food, you can save money and avoid the high cost of airport meals, which can sometimes be the most expensive sandwich of your life!


11. Save on luggage costs

By packing smart and maximizing your cabin bag allowance. Check your airline's website for their specific luggage restrictions and try to pack light and compact to avoid paying for checked bags or overweight fees. Many airlines allow you to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item, such as a purse or laptop bag, so be sure to use both of these allowances to your advantage. Invest in a cabin bag that maximizes the allowed dimensions and has plenty of compartments and pockets for easy organization.


12. Wear your luggage

To save even more space, consider wearing bulkier items on the plane, such as a jacket or heavy shoes, instead of packing them in your bag. You can also roll your clothes tightly to save space and avoid wrinkles, and use packing cubes or compression bags to maximize the available space in your bag.


13. Use the "W.H. Smith bag" trick

W.H. Smith is a popular retailer found in many airports, and their branded bags look similar to duty-free shopping bags. Many airlines allow you to bring a small duty-free shopping bag on top of your hand luggage allowance, so consider bringing a W.H. Smith bag with you to use as extra storage.


14. Save money on travel toiletries

By making your own travel-sized products. Rather than purchasing travel-sized products that can be expensive, consider buying small bottles that comply with security regulations and filling them up with your existing products. This can include shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and other toiletries. You can also consider purchasing solid toiletries, such as shampoo bars or solid deodorant, which can be easier to pack and avoid any issues with liquid restrictions.


15. Use a currency exchange app

Like Revolut to avoid paying fees when exchanging money. With Revolut, you can exchange money at the real exchange rate with no hidden fees, making it a great option for international travel. However, be sure to always pay in the local currency and withdraw from ATMs in the local currency as well. If you let a merchant or ATM charge you in your home currency, they will often use a poor exchange rate and charge you extra fees. By using a currency exchange app and paying in the local currency, you can save money and avoid unnecessary fees.