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14 Ingenious Hacks for Travellers on a Shoestring Budget

Catherine Gray

1. We already know to enable private browsing when searching for flights online (repeated searches drive the price up, since airlines track it). But did you know the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays? Fridays and Sundays are the priciest times to travel.


2. Make a note in your calendar to book your flight on a Tuesday at 3pm (EST) two months before your summer holiday. *Data shows that this is when you hook the best deal.

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3. If you’re not in a rush, consider doing an overnight stopover. That way you get to explore a new city and you could save up to 50% just by breaking up the flight. Icelandic Air let customers do a seven night stopover in super hip Iceland for no additional cost, say when you’re flying from New York to London, or vice versa.


4. When you’re booking your hotel/hostel, be sure that you have access to a minifridge or a shared fridge. If breakfast isn’t included in your rate, you’ll save a fortune by picking up some cereal and milk from a local grocery store. Breakfast for a week – sorted for less than $10.


5. Decanting your shampoo into straws and then burning the ends?! Fiddly and liable to lead to burnt fingers. Here at SANDEMANs NEW Europe we buy mini toiletries from the chemist (British Boots do a great range) once every few years and then simply re-use them. We also make sure to lift all of the mini bottles from hotels rather than bin them. Use. Refill. Use. Refill.


6. If you can’t be bothered to pack a plane picnic to avoid the extortionate plane food, do at least buy your plane picnic before you step on the plane. Everything costs at least a third more at 39,000 ft.

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7. We all know about taking an empty bottle through airport security so’s you can refill it at the water fountain. Supersize that tip by buying a travel thermos. You can fill it at the water fountain once you’re through security. On the flight, any air stewardess will happily fill it with hot water; pack a few herbal tea bags. Other passengers will look on in envy.


8. On your actual trip, you can fill the aforementioned thermos at the hostel/hotel’s facilities before you step out for the day. You just saved about $40 per trip. More for bad-taste souvenirs, yippee.


9. Hands up who’s been there. You get horribly lost and ‘just this once’ turn on your data roaming to quickly check a map. Astronomical bill. *Facepalm*. Instead, open Google Maps while you’re at the hotel/hostel on the WiFi, scroll to the area you’ll be milling around and type in ‘ok maps’. Your phone will save the area’s map for data-less access. For insurance, take screenshots of your various planned pitstops.


10. Why pay upwards of $20 to go on a city tour, when you can get one for free with SANDEMANs NEW Europe? The wildly funny, fascinating tours are held in 18 different cities. Check locations here. There are zero dry, dusty fact-reciting tour guides; the company recruits comedians, actors and charismatic local experts.

Guide Berlin


11. Forgotten your adapter? Hold up. Before buying a crazy expensive one from the tourist-trap shops, check the TV for a USB slot in the back. Or ask if there are any spares in your accommodation’s ‘lost and found’ box.


12. A strip of $2 zippy supermarket sandwich bags are a travel essential. You can use one for your liquid carry-ons, instead of paying a tenfold premium at the airport. When you hit the beach you can use one to protect phones. And you can loop up and carry all of your chargers in another one.


13. Money belts? Nah. The best way to outfox anyone trying to pinch your cash is to hide it in a hollowed out lip balm. Nobody steals a lip balm.


14. Observe the six blocks rule. Never eat within six blocks of a major tourist sight. The further you walk away, the lower the prices. Apps like Foursquare can help you find restaurants based on local reviews.


Oh and… give back. On the last day of your trip, pool all of your loose change and give it to a homeless person. Because, really, you’re never going to use those shekels, pesos or pennies.



Peggy Hatley

Great info and tips. We are diffidently going to book with you guys! Can’t wait.

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