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Spend less, see more

Planning your next trip and looking for some bargains? It’s possible to travel in luxury but save your pennies. We show you how.

Getting there

Living in Australia can sometimes feel like you’re far away from everything. If you’re keen to explore past the Pacific, flights can become expensive. However, there are ways around this. Use the internet to your advantage when looking to book airfares.

There are plenty of comparison sites that search airlines’ websites to find the cheapest deal for you.

Popular websites include WebjetSky Scanner and Last Minute

If you prefer to book through a travel agent for your flights, there are also certain agencies dedicated to finding the cheapest deal. The most popular are Flight Centre and Escape Travel. Or, if you prefer to use your own travel agent, simply tell them you want the lowest fare and they’ll seek if out for you. 

If you don’t really mind where you go, and you’re just looking for a specific region and a discounted fare, you can generally find even cheaper flights.

Just make sure you check whether there are booking fees incurred by using a third-party website or any credit card surcharges, as both of these can add a substantial amount to your flight. Also, if it’s a budget airline, check to see whether there are baggage fees and, if so, what they are.

You should also look at any reward programs that you are part of. Frequent flyer points can definitely take you places, especially now that many credit cards can be linked to Frequent flyer programs, earning you more points every day.

If you’re cruising, try to find a ship that departs from the closest port to where you live. This will save you money on any potential flights you may have to take to catch the cruise ship.

Staying away

It can be tricky to find the balance between budget accommodation and luxury lodging. If you’re looking closer to your departure date, websites like Wotif and Last Minute specialise in finding discounted accommodation deals at the last minute. Some hotels are even five-star.

Finding accommodation can also come down to loyalty programs. Many hotel and motel chains offer free nights or discounts to frequent visitors.

Another alternative is a B&B, which are often quaint and quiet. You’ll get to stay with a local resident and often this means immersing yourself in the culture of the country. Self-contained apartments are also a terrific option, as long as you don’t mind making your own bed every morning.

See the sights

Not every tourist site that you experience needs to cost money. Ask the hotel or motel concierge for cheap or free deals around town. Alternatively, make friends with the locals and ask them. You can also appreciate a lot about a country’s culture just by sitting in a park and watching the world go by.

Many museums have ‘fee-free days’. Generally, it’s the same day every month, for example, the first Sunday of the month. Other museums schedule their fee-free days to coincide with a festival.

Also, take advantage of your Seniors Card if you’ve got one, to prove that you’re of concession age, and gain entry into museums and attractions on a reduced rate. While not all organisations will officially recognise an Australian Seniors Card, many will still honour the discount if you ask.

Other tips and tricks

Perhaps the best way to travel on a budget it to visit destinations outside of peak season. With grown-up children and little or no working commitments, over 55s have the advantage of being able to travel whenever your feet fancy. It’s an automatic penny-saver.

Another good method is simply to ask. Sometimes businesses will offer discounts to anyone on a request basis. If you seem willing to pay full-price for a service or product, businesses generally have no incentive to offer you any less. 

To get some tips on travelling without breaking the bank, see our article on accessing your money overseas.