While most of us love to travel, there are often many obstacles halting our wanderlust dreams. From finding to the time to gathering the funds, there can be a range of hindrances we must overcome to fulfil our dreams of seeing Australia and New Zealand.
These days, social media is constantly showing off the best of Australia and New Zealand, making our itchy feet even more unbearable. Just like most of you, we’re sitting at our desks dreaming of diving into the inviting blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef, exploring hidden caves in Tasmania and sliding down sand dunes in Western Australia (or maybe that’s just us..).
We don’t expect you to just take our word for this, so we’ve teamed up with travel blogger Steph Parker from Big World Small Pockets to lend her opinion.
Like us, she’s a travel addict and thrives off finding cheap, fun ways to fund her exciting, nomadic lifestyle. She has travelled extensively around the world to a list of places including South Africa, Guatemala and the UK, but her adventures have landed her down under.
Steph lives for the mantra “Spend Less, Travel More”, so we knew she was our go-to girl. She has shared some of her secret tips to help you to become a serial traveller.
Without further ado, here are our top tips to becoming a frequent traveller.
1. Be conscious of your spending
Yes, you’ve probably heard this one before but try to pay attention this time! Grabbing a $4 coffee on your way to work or going to your favourite take-out joint for lunch everyday is not okay. Little expenses here and there might not seem much at the time but the figures add up and the bank account soon depletes.
You can fit $880 two dollar coins in a 600ml soft drink bottle. Instead of spending (or losing) your loose change start filling up a bottle, but make sure you have the self-restraint to leave it there.
Think about it, that $4 coffee you buy everyday of the week adds up to $28 a week; that’s $112 a month! If you cut out that guilty pleasure of yours think of all the savings. Give it a few months and you would have funded your flights from Melbourne to Cairns!
Look at it this way, would you prefer sipping on a take-away coffee everyday… or exploring the aromatic vineyards in the Barossa Valley? We know which one we’d pick… but the choice is yours.
2. Sign up for Airline Newsletters
Forget about the annoyance of crowded mailboxes and start thinking about the money you could save when you jump online during happy hour.
Signing up for these updates means you will be amongst the first to hear about the latest deals and specials on offer from all of the major airlines. Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Tiger Air offer a wide range of flights all around Australia and Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Sounds Air around New Zealand to name a few.
Create a new email account solely for the purpose of travel related news and offers. This isn’t ground breaking information, but it’s a helping hand that you will be glad of in the long run, just don’t forget to check it!
For example Virgin Australia’s Happy Hour is released every Thursday with flights on sale from 4pm to 11pm only. This is the best way to be on top of current deals and promotions, if you act at the right time you might nab yourself a return flight for $100 cheaper. Constant emails seems like a fair compromise if that’s what we’re going to get out of it.
Steph’s #1 tip
3. Clear Your Cookies
Booking online means travel websites can track how many times you click onto their page and what you search. Sneakily, they often put the price of your searched accommodation or flights up each time you revisit them. This makes it looks like prices are escalating and often sends people into a panic so that they quickly book whatever they’re searching.
But there is another way! Clearing your web browser’s cookies will trick the travel booking site into thinking it’s your first visit, keeping prices low and guaranteeing you the best deal!”
4. Collect Points
Forget about the hassle of filling up your wallet and think of the benefits of filling up your account balance. These days there are hundreds of loyalty cards to sign up for, some influencing travel more than others.
A regular favourite is Fly Buys; your accumulated points can get you a handful of deals on travelling around Australia. Flight and accommodation deals are the ones to look out for, asking a few thousand points for relaxing getaways at various Australian locations.
Download a mobile application to keep track of all of your loyalty and rewards cards. Apps such as Stocard will scan your card details for a virtual imprint of your membership information, freeing up space in your wallet.
Similarly, airline giant Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program can give you some great deals and discounts. Collect points at various shops including ASOS, Sephora, Priceline, David Jones, Peter Alexander, Nike, Speedo and The Iconic. Chances are you’re occasionally shopping at these stores anyway, so you might as well be earning valuable points for your purchases.
If flying isn’t your preferred mode of transport, pack up the car or hire a car for the length of your trip. Insurance providers – for example, RACQ – offer great deals for car and motorhome hire all around Australia and New Zealand.
5. Be a flexible traveller
Don’t be set in cement on your travel dates; certain sales and deals might come up for a mid-week fare – if you’re available to travel then, grab it!
Being adamant about your travel dates can result in larger plane fares or accommodation bookings, so if you have a little wiggle room you might save yourself a few dollars on travel, accommodation and experiences.
Apparently the best time to book a holiday (most importantly flights) is up to 90 days in advance.
The myth about leaving your travel arrangements to the last minute for cheaper fares is not necessarily true. In most cases it is better for you to book in advance – we don’t mean one year in advance, just a few months.
It is important to do all of your research so you know where you want to go, what you want to do there, how you’re going to get there and how long you’re going to stay there. This requires a fair bit of planning, but it is worth it in the long run once your trip has progressed smoothly.
Steph’s #2 Tip
6. Take a Tent!
The number one item I always advise people to take if they’re looking to save money and travel more frequently is a tent. This is one of my more unusual travel tips, but it can save you a fortune on accommodation costs.
Nowadays, many hostels have camping space, which means you still get to enjoy all the amenities they offer, just at a cheaper rate. Tents also allow you to explore more off the beaten track destinations where accommodation options may be limited, such as in national parks or on road trips.
7. Pack Right & Light
Once you’ve sorted out your travel arrangements it’s time to get packing. Remember to be cutthroat in this phase; you don’t need three pairs of denim shorts or eight different swimmers to choose from – pack only the essentials.
There are many items you should travel with, so it’s important to make a checklist. Here’s a peak at what our checklist usually looks like:
- Chargers (phone, cameras, laptop, tablet etc.)
- A power board (to plug all of those chargers into)
- Necessary medication (asthma puffer, panadol, nurofen)
- Extra socks (washing machines always seem to eat them)
- A trusty water bottle (not the throw away plastic bottles)
- A small amount of laundry detergent in a bag
- Notepad and pen (it always comes in handy)
- Cash & cash cards (VERY IMPORTANT!)
If you are travelling by air try to limit your gear to just an on board bag. If this is an impossible feat and you’re travelling as a couple or family, combine your stuff together to limit checked baggage.
All you need to do is follow the 1-2-3-4-5-6 rule – it’s perfect for long trips when you have access to laundry facilities. Pack 1 hat, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 pairs of pants/skirts, 4 shirts, 5 pairs of socks and 6 pairs of underwear.
8. Be Polite & Friendly
Turn that frown upside down because a friendly demeanour can (sometimes) go a long way. It costs nothing to be polite to people, especially if those people are standing behind the hotel, airport or restaurant counter. Depending on your attitude, a lot of staff at accommodation and information centres will be more inclined to help you out with a sneaky upgrade or insiders information on local attractions if you’re nice.
Don’t over-do it: airport, accommodation and information staff weren’t born yesterday, they know all the tricks in the book – but remember there’s no harm in asking the simple question… Can I have an upgrade?
Those behind the counter have a lot of power and depending on the circumstances, might be able to upgrade your flight, room or attraction pass. You’ll never know until you ask and the worst thing they can say is no, so what do you have to lose?
So flash those pearly whites and flex your kindness muscles, it might make your stay a whole lot more enjoyable.
Steph’s #3 Tip
9. Stay Longer
If you want to travel more, then ideally you want to stay places longer! It’s juxtaposition, I know, but there are many reasons this slower mode of travel makes sense.
One of these is that repeatedly supporting certain businesses over time will earn you discounts. Whether it’s the stall you get fruit from every day or the hostel accommodation you pay for every night, shopping or staying there for longer will open you up to cost-cutting deals. It could only be a free avocado or a free night, but in the end, it all adds up.
Staying longer and saving, means more money to travel when you do move on.
10. If all else fails… become a travel blogger
Travelling around Australia and New Zealand on a frequent basis just isn’t possible for many of us. If quitting your job isn’t an option then you have to factor in how your extensive travel plans are going to fit in with your work schedule, current account balance and those handful of paid leave days you receive a year.
So, if travelling frequently isn’t for you or is just out of your reach then become a non-travelling travel blogger. We know what you’re thinking… “It’s not the same” – but travelling in the virtual world can still feed your wanderlust and help you plan your future adventures (when the time is right).
Create content by posting photos from a past trip, telling stories or talking about places around Australia and New Zealand that you’re dying to visit. Content doesn’t always have to be current, you can post past content to keep your feed fresh. All it takes is a few views and few followers to make your dream of [virtual] travelling come true.
Non-travelling travel bloggers are more common than you think and you can be one of them with just a few clicks of the mouse. First of all, create an original name or title for your blog and plan out what theme or style you want your blog to follow. Will you be a photography blog, information or tips blog or just a storytelling blog? – The choice is yours.
So get creative and start (virtually) travelling!