Though travel’s often an expensive enterprise, there are canny ways to minimise the financial damage. Here are nine purse-pleasing tips.

DODGE BAGGAGE COSTS

Evade low-cost airlines’ stowed-baggage charges by being one of the last to board. By this time, it’s odds-on that all the overhead compartments will be full. “Oh,” you say sweetly, pointing at your supposed hand luggage, “would it help if this goes in stow? Honestly, it’s no problem.” You big hero, you. A big hero who’s now £39.99 richer.

RENT A MOBILE HOTSPOT

We’ve all been there: you absolutely need to get online but there’s no Wi-Fi anywhere and your network’s data roaming costs are prohibitive. Step forward mobile hotspots, providing cheap, on-the-go ‘Mi-Fi’. Sites like XCom Global cover the USA and most European countries.

DEBIT CARDS OR CASH

Credit cards commonly impose painful foreign usage fees, usually 2-3%, on all transactions. Special travel credit cards are better, but still tend to charge crippling annual fees. Use a debit card to minimise such expenditure or, better yet, withdraw enough cash in advance to keep the plastic back for emergencies.

FLY OFF-PEAK

The cheapest airfares are usually found in early mornings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or anytime on Saturdays. Saturday evening’s an especially great time to fly: with most city-breakers travelling Friday-Sunday, you’ll enjoy semi-deserted lounges and planes.

WATCH THOSE APERITIFS

Everyone loves some complimentary bread. It’s the sign of a good restaurant, don’t you think? A nice bonus appetis… what? It wasn’t free? They’ve charged HOW MUCH? The solution to this pickle is simple: learn the local word for ‘free’, and always ask your smiling Manuel just how gratis this pre-dins snack really is.

RAID YOUR LOCAL SHOPS

The average cost of a chocolate bar in your local newsagent: 70p. The average cost in an airport: £1.50. The average cost of a 40g tin of Pringles in a supermarket: 80p. The average cost of a 40g tin aboard a low-cost flight or Eurostar train: £1.80. And so on. You get the idea.

SEEK KITCHENS

Booking via Airbnb or the like means saving dosh versus hotels of equivalent location and style. But go even further by plumping for digs which include a kitchen; that way, you can shop at local supermarkets – cheaper than restaurants – and make your own breakfasts, packed lunches and/or dinners.

TAKE TOILETRIES

Going down the rental route means bringing your own paid-for toiletries. Prepare for this eventuality by relentlessly pilfering the free bottles of shower gel, shampoo and so on whenever staying in a hotel. While this is technically stealing, most hotels will chuck out all used bottles anyway so you’re probably doing the world a favour.
 

SCRATCH THAT

Back at the airport, you return your Citroen and the car hire rep is suddenly charging you hundreds for longstanding damages. Sidestep this common scam by pointing out all nicks and scratches when you first receive the car, before getting an official to sign and date paperwork attesting to their existence. 

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