8 tips to help you have more holidays
“How are you able to go on so many holidays?” is without a doubt the question I get asked the most. Despite people's speculation, I do have a job and sadly I don’t have a tree which grows money. What I do have is some tips and tricks which I live by which might be able to help you have more holidays, here they are: 1. Speed tourism.
My boyfriend Andy introduced me to this concept and it is genius. Before meeting him I liked to save and save and save until I could afford to have month long holidays, travelling at a leisurely pace with many lazy days. This method is often expensive, inefficient (especially as work responsibilities grow as you get older) and usually less productive (I believe that the more time you have, the less you do with it).
On the other hand, speed tourism is the opposite. You’re on the ground for less time which has a positive flow on effect. It reduces accommodation costs and the limited time means you see more in each day and the constant state of motion means you are working off all that holiday eating. My first experience of this was our 4 day trip to Japan where we travelled to 3 different cities via high speed trains. We saw and did so much. We enjoyed tea ceremonies post cycling around Kyoto, had sake after watching Sumo in Nagoya and did karaoke after exploring Harajuku in Toyko. Speed tourism requires organisation, a healthy level of impatience and a “you can sleep when you’re dead” mentality.
This one is pretty obvious but the people that ask me how I go on so many holidays are usually the people who spend the most frivolously. But saving money is much easier said than done right? Well, many years ago a good friend of mine introduced me to the world of spreadsheets and budgets.
Before you get bored and stop reading, hear me out…. Once I started to track every dollar I spent I started to save a lot of money. Once you see how much money you spend on coffee, clothes, golf, beer or online poker or whatever it is that floats your boat, it can be alarming to see the lump sum. $50 here and there a few times a week makes up for thousands of dollars a year. So, by setting a realistic annual budget and having transparency on what you’re spending, you’re immediately more conscious of every swipe of your credit card. I have dubbed myself the savings nazi and attribute this attitude and commitment to many nice holidays. If you want a copy of my budget template, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it your way.
3. Use your time wisely.
Generally speaking, most Australians have 4 weeks annual leave a year and I am no different. To make sure I use this time effectively I don’t waste any of these days unless they are for travel. A day here and there adds up and eats away into those precious 20 days and before you know it, they will all be done. There are also plenty of public holidays to make the most of through the year, use them wisely.
4. Be loyal
You might be tempted to opt for the cheapest airfare when travelling as opposed to paying a little bit extra to fly with one carrier consistently. It is definitely worth spending a little bit extra occasionally to reap the benefits of an airline’s loyalty program. Over time you will accumulate points and this can result in cheap flights, accommodation and airport lounges which are God sent during long haul trips. My boyfriend and I just booked around the world flights using frequent flyer points points for our upcoming honeymoon – it goes to show that being loyal definitely has its benefits.
I am sure you have heard the term "you can do anything you put your mind to" and then it comes to having holidays, its mostly true. I love to travel and that is why I prioritise it and put my mind to making sure it happens. Would I love a fortnightly manicure, nice clothes and getting a cab home from work each night? Of course. But I would prefer to sit on the bus with with bare nails if it means I can travel more.
6. Watch the dollar
If you’re travelling abroad keep your eye on what the currency exchange is doing and if you see a dip in the value of the currency of your destination, buy up! The best way to do this is by loading cash onto a Commonwealth Bank prepaid travel card. These also mean you don’t have to the exorbitant fees that most banks sting you with while travelling internationally.
7. Be willing to slum it.
Travel isn’t always about the destination, it's about the journey. Looking back on some of my most memorable experiences, they were often not the best experiences at the time. I often think of the time I stayed in an Italian hostel when backpacking around Europe and the manager had taken off on a holiday and left myself and other guests without functioning plumbing and a litter of feral kittens taking refuge in our beds. It was rough at the time, but it was definitely memorable and we all bonded over our misfortune. If you know you only need a place to crash for a night or know you will be out exploring most of the days and nights, book a crappy hotel, motel or hostel.
8. Book as early as possible.
Booking accommodation and flights at the last minute is not only a gamble when it comes to availability; it is also a sure-fire way to burn cash unnecessarily. If you’re certain you’re going on holiday, don’t waste time and book ASAP.