Nine smart saving tips for travel


Let’s start with take-off. So often, flight costs are the primary factor when we book a break, which explains why destinations like London often top the weekend breaks list. But spending a little more on your flight may save you more on the ground, particularly once you land into some of Europe’s most affordable city break destinations. Bratislava, Vilnius and Athens are super city break options where you could save a hundred or two on hotel, fares and dining. For a shorter trip, Lisbon has almost become the new London for Irish holidaymakers as one of the best value breaks in the EU — you won’t even have to change your watch.

When it comes to city breaks, Lisbon is the new London.

Turkish delight

For a nation with such a love for the Mediterranean, I’m often surprised at the number of travellers who have never visited Morocco or Turkey. Morocco consistently offers some of the most affordable package holiday deals on the market — Sunway currently have three night self-catering deals with Agadir from €252pps! Spend any of your surplus budget on excursions to the Atlas mountains, trips to the Sahara desert or simply sipping cocktails overlooking the Atlantic.

For another option, Turkey’s Lira has halved value since before the pandemic so consider areas like the Bodrum peninsula or Istanbul for a bargain boujee break.

Carry-on regardless

Is your matching Louis Vuitton suitcase set feeling a little redundant these days? Nowadays, check-in luggage is becoming increasingly passé as travellers look to save time and money and the availability of cheaper designer goods online which saves loading up at the outlets in New York.

I use a lightweight Osprey backpack which means I can squish a veritable wardrobe’s load of luggage into my overhead compartment, particularly for sun destinations. Don’t forget to ‘wear’ your luggage to cooler destinations too; you’ll always appreciate an extra layer or two with that chilly in-flight aircon!

Car excess

Car rental has become pretty prohibitive nowadays; I recently spent a week in California and my motor cost more than both my flight and accommodation. If you’ve no choice but to hire a car on your trip, start off by avoiding high insurance adds-on at the desk. I take out an annual policy with I paid €59 for annual cover and I typically make that back on just one or two car hire trips alone.

With the cost of fuel these days, also be mindful of the car you choose. If planning longer journeys, avoid renting gas guzzlers, even if they are cheaper – and take note of the car’s MPG rating which many companies like Hertz now list.

Investing in excess insurance for car hire will save you on the road.Investing in excess insurance for car hire will save you on the road.

Get Uber organised

One of the biggest ways to overhit the budget runway when you arrive at a new destination is to be fleeced by an opportunistic taxi driver at the airport or station. Even metered services can demand zingy fares nowadays. It often takes me a financial burn or two to remember to download the app Uber but it invariably saves me so much time and money on the ground in the long haul. Note that many countries don’t offer Uber (due to various taxi regulations), so it’s worth researching their local equivalent before you land, be it the likes of mytaxi, lyft or gocurb.

An Post Cards

One of my main travel weaknesses is hitting the ATM for cash when I’m abroad and it’s an even bigger crime against personal finances when I use my credit card to withdraw cash. To avoid unnecessary (and increasingly hefty) banking fees, check out An Post’s pre-paid money currency cards which have become a popular addition to wallets over the past year.

You simply load a currency card up at your local post office and they work just like cash at your travel destination without any commission fees.

Note that currency cards are only available for non-Euro destinations so consider them a great bet for trips to everywhere from the US to Poland.

Home Swap

A great holiday money-saving tip can often be the four walls surrounding you. House swapping is becoming increasingly popular where homeowners can list their property for holiday rental, and in turn, choose a property to holiday in, home or abroad. Not only do you save money, but you also get to live like a local at your destination property and hosts typically leave a trove of holiday saving options, too.

Hotel Loyalty

When booking a hotel, always run a search on compare sites like and make sure you sign up as a registered user. They’ll offer you a free night’s stay for every ten overnights, which you may rack up quicker than you think if you enjoy a few weekend breaks every year. 

Once you advance beyond ten stays in one year, you’ll also earn member “silver status” which could mean sweet extras like a welcome bottle of wine upon arrival or added privileges like early check-in and check-out. With any hotel group or website, it’s important not to get too loyal to loyalty programmes, and always compare rates with the hotel’s own website before booking!

The Statue of Liberty can be viewed for free aboard the Staten Island Ferry.The Statue of Liberty can be viewed for free aboard the Staten Island Ferry.

Free Sightseeing

Finally, don’t let your travel experience be governed by blockbuster attractions which you feel you need ‘to do’ when visiting a city. Why not head to a roof-top bar to enjoy the views of London’s skyline rather than queuing in line for half a morning to scale the London Eye. In Athens, hike up to Mount Filopappou for free for the best views of the Akropolis while in the Big Apple, take the Staten Island ferry for free for iconic views of the Statue of Liberty.


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