“Travelling or saving? What should be my priority?”
Many expat teachers have asked me this and I don’t think it has to be one or the other. While teaching abroad, we are making enough money to save each month AND take regular trips to explore the globe!
I would say that your saving should be your priority, but travelling doesn’t need to happen at the expense of your savings. You just need to make a few changes to your habits to keep your travel costs low. Here are my top 6 tips:
When booking your flights
- Look at cheaper destinations. Living in the Middle East means I am a stone’s throw from Asia, which is a brilliantly cheap holiday destination. Read this article on the top 50 cheapest cities in the world to backpack for more inspiration!
- Use Google Flights to find the cheapest times, days, and routes to fly to different countries. This fantastic article, “7 Google Flights Tricks That Are Better Than Any Travel Agent,” will show you how to use different features on Google Flights, including how to get alerts when prices are about to skyrocket.
At the airport
3. Save money at the airport by using the lounge for free. If you have a credit card with travel perks, such as free airport lounge access, you can eat and drink for up to 4 hours in comfort. The credit card I own is from the First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and it gives me free airport lounge access, where I have up to 4 hours of free access to great food, drink, magazines, comfy seating, and high-speed wi-fi. In the UAE, use Souqamal to find the best credit card deal for you. Outside, visit banks, ask your colleagues and use your country-specific credit card comparison sites to find a great credit card deal with lounge access!
At the hotel
4. Register with the Booking website. You can use it to find accommodation to suit all budgets and it is free to register. Once you use it a few times to book hotels, you become a Genius Member and get further 10-15% discounts on accommodation or get Genius-only deals on hotels all around the world. Please use my affiliate link and both of us will get $15 credit each to spend on accommodation!
5. Always check Air BnB too and compare with Booking to get the best deal for you! If you are travelling in a group, Air BnB often has the most competitive price! It is also ideal if you plan to be exploring most of the day and really only need a bed at night! I spent a few days in Dublin over Christmas 2018, which is always a pricey period, and I found that a 1-bed apartment just off O’Connell Street (one of the most popular streets in the city centre) was cheaper than a private room in a hostel in the same location. It definitely pays to check! If you use my Air BnB affiliate link, we both get credit to use towards our next Air BnB bookings!
For tourist attractions
6. Check the local Groupon. You can find super offers on admissions to tourist attractions, meals, beach days, spas, massages, and guided tours. When I have visitors coming to the UAE, I always check Groupon (UAE) or Qgrabs (Qatar) for any offers, before I plan their itinerary. The Entertainer app is also wonderful for saving you money on eating out, theme parks, etc.!
Don’t forget to use my Booking.com affiliate link to get both of us $15 to spend with them!