Keeping Your Costs Down Checklist


How do we make it affordable without losing out on creature comforts?

Want something nice enough that you don’t think ‘why am I here when I could be more comfy at home?’
Here is our checklist of ways we have kept our costs down:
1. Consider house swapping‐ it’s the most cost effective way of changing location whilst saving money.

Our Experience:
See the Home Exchange Starter Pack for more details.

2. Join an Air Miles Scheme for the airlines you fly with, plus keep and eye out for their special air mile promotions.

Our Experience:
Our recent flight to Australia with British Airways gave us enough air miles to fly to anywhere in Europe/ North Africa for free, or to the USA for £200. Had we not signed up we would have missed out on an extra flight.
We have also signed up to the Virgin Atlantic Credit Card (, this earns us air miles whenever we shop using it. There are also incentives such as 5000 air miles when you first join and a free upgrade when you spend a certain amount of money on it. This works perfectly as long as you pay it off each month or do balance transfers!
Virgin also do ‘reward seat sales’; this means they reduce the amount of air miles you need to fly to certain destinations. An example recently was to fly to LA for 25,000 instead of 50,000 air miles.

3. Sign up to the newsletter of travel websites (ie. Last, Trailfinders, The Flight Centre). Exclusive offers and discounts are always advertised first to their own list before it goes live on the website. The Flight Centre for example, often does ‘flash sales’ where you can get heavily reduced flights. A recent one was to Thailand for £300. Some websites are now creating Facebook and Twitter accounts so it may be worth following them too.
4. Consider ‘multi stop’ flights, such as round the world options if you want to travel to several countries. See our ‘Flights & Accommodation’ document for more details.
5. While abroad, use a bank card or credit card that does not charge you for any conversion for use in another country.

Our Experience:
We use the UK Post Office Credit Card This card does not charge you any fees when using it abroad. We try to pay off the card every month online so that we do not accrue any interest.

6. When booking flights, try to be flexible with your dates as it can save you a lot of money.

Our Experience:
When we booked our flights to Thailand via Dubai, we choose our departure dates based on the days that were the cheapest to fly on. Had we stuck to our original dates our flights would have cost an extra £300 each.

7. Try to travel in the low season, there will be greater availability and prices will be reduced.

Our Experience:
When travelling to Thailand in the low season (green season), accommodation, flights and car hire can be reduced by as much as 70%.
We stayed in a hotel in Phuket, Thailand in the September. The rate was half the price it would have been had we stayed in December.

8. Try to make sure internet access is complimentary with your accommodation.

Our Experience:
One of our key priorities when booking accommodation is free internet access. When we have
stayed in hotels that charge for internet we have found that you can be paying over £10‐ £20 a day.
For some reason New York is one of the worst places we have been to that has a lack of free
internet access.

9. If you plan to travel several times a year, it is worth purchasing an ‘Annual Multi‐Trip’ travel insurance rather than several single trip insurance policies.

Our Experience:
We use Insure and Go ( for our travel insurance as they have always been very competitive e.g. approximately £60 per person per year. This includes winter sports, kite surfing and a range of other ‘risky’ sport or adventure activities!

10. Always negotiate when organising your short or long term rental home. See the
Rental Negotiations Cheat Sheet for more details.
11. Try to eat at local food options rather than sticking to ‘western’ style food.

Our Experience:
This seems to apply much more when visiting developing countries. In Asia it is possible to eat local food for around £5 per meal for 2 people, however if you go for something ‘western’ it can end up costing around £10‐£15.

12. Take advantage of the hotel free breakfast. We’re not recommending over eating but it is surprising how far a big breakfast can take you through the day. We have been known to even take a bread roll or 2 for a lunch time snack!
13. Explore your social contacts and networks to see if anyone can recommend a second or holiday home which you might be able to rent at ‘mates rates’
14. Medicine in other countries (except the USA) are often cheaper than at home. Make sure you have the basics to last you a week but purchase the rest while you are there.
We will continue to update this list as we cover the other modules. If you have any
additions please let us know.

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