Five ways to save money when travelling

By Megan Singleton

Use these tricks and you'll cash in, says Megan Singleton.

If you need to be connected when on holiday, buy a local SIM card and avoid roaming charges.
If you need to be connected when on holiday, buy a local SIM card and avoid roaming charges.

I've learned a few sneaky tricks for saving money since my backpacking days in the 90s, and I still live by the mantra that a penny saved is a penny for shopping.

Here are my top tips for saving money while travelling.

1. Meal plan

If you're booking a resort holiday, it's essential that you buy a meal plan. I learned this the hard way, thinking we'd dine at the restaurant, but in some countries (I'm looking at you, Fiji) you are stuck with whatever the resort wants to charge. At least make sure breakfast is included as they're usually feasts fit for kings and you can skip lunch, making do with an afternoon snack and splurging at dinner.

2. Local SIM card

If you need to be connected when on holiday, buy a local SIM card and avoid roaming charges. Even texts from Australia are 80c each when roaming, and that soon adds up. In the US, you can pick up data plans for iPhones from T-Mobile or outlets that sell T-Mobile cards.

In Australia, you have loads of choice on data cards. About $30 should be enough for all the emailing, Facebooking and Twittering you can eat in a week.

3. Carry on luggage

Officially you can take up to 7kg in carry on luggage, but if you have a laptop, you are allowed up to nine. Plus a handbag on top of that. We girls already know this, but for guys, this could be space equivalent to a little day pack or a man bag you can sling over your shoulder.

4. Earn airpoints on your credit cards

I don't know when I last paid cash for a domestic flight, thanks to earning Air New Zealand airpoints on my credit cards. If you're not earning those points on your cards, you're throwing holidays out the window. Add the Air New Zealand FlyBuys to the mix and you're off to Napier before you know it.

5. Compare deals

Use sites such as Skyscanner, Expedia or House of Travel which scrape the internet to list a huge selection of flights. Then compare those with the airline websites directly. Look at one-way options and returns, too, as often different combinations will come up. Don't forget to check online travel agencies too, as they may be running specials including accommodation - making it cheaper again.

- NZ Herald

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