When traveling to a new country, there is a lot to think about — money being one of them. Money is the reason why I haven’t traveled out of the country before. I hate giving up a lot of money at once even if it’s for an experience I’ll never forget. So here’s what we did to save and what it ended up costing. Here’s some tips we used:
How To Save Before
Cash back through your credit card or credit card “travel credit” for future vacations.
By using my credit card (an actual crappy one at the time) we were able to get money back on a lot of our purchases. In fact, we received roughly (rounding, I’ll do better next time!) $250 in cash back services to add to our vacation fund for when we were over there. We’ve since gotten a Venture One Card to help with travel purchases in the future.
Yes, you read that right, we have ebates, and honestly it doesn’t always get you a ton of money but we still got roughly (rounding, I’ll do better next time!) $40 dollars back. It might not seem like a lot but it does add up.
Christmas Money/Returning Cans/Savings Coins
I know, this might seem like a stretch but trust me it’s worth it. Whenever we got money near Christmas or our Birthdays we would put it in our vacation fund. By the end of it, we had saved over $1100 in money to spend when we got there.
Look for Deals
I wasn’t going over to England without looking into passes that might be cheaper in the long run — something you can do wherever you’re going. We ended up getting the English Heritage Pass. It ended up savings us $10 each. It would have saved us more but ended up skipping some things on the list.
The London Pass is definitely a must when it comes to traveling. It saved us a total of: $60. But if you don’t feel like buying a London Pass, or any type of pass, you should still look online at the attractions, there’s a good chance you will be able to get online discounts compared to when you get there.
How To Save There
Seriously, look into an airbnb if you’re going to be out in the country, it will shock you how cheap it is compared to here in the States.
Food (Total Spent: $606.00 US Dollars)
You can have fun and not break the bank eating out too. Since we got an airbnb for part of the time, we went grocery shopping, had dinner at home a few nights and had a lot of packed lunches. Another reason packed lunches are great is that it helps you not miss anything because you went to lunch instead of waiting in line. Don’t get me wrong though, we did eat out a few times for lunch or a really light snack during our time there. You can also look for deals on food too while you’re there. We found some deals based on afternoon tea from the website Afternoon Tea. Also, you don’t need to have alcohol drinks with every meal, trust me, that adds up too.
Souvenirs & Gifts (Total Spent: $128.00 US Dollars)
I went into this vacation thinking I would want to buy a lot of gifts and souvenirs so I made a deal with myself — I could bring $250 with me to spend on that. But then when I got there, I realized I really didn’t need “stuff”, I was going to have all these amazing photos, I really could be picky on what I wanted to bring back with me. This is going to be my thought moving forward, a picture is worth so much more than a little object that I’ll probably lose.
Attractions (Total Spent: $45 US Dollars)
Sometimes you just can’t find deals on everything out there. That happened a few times with us, it wasn’t a big deal, because we knew in advance what attractions we were going to go to that weren’t part of any of our passes. This helped us incorporate that into our budget and to let us know how much money we needed while there.
The Car (Total Spent [Outside Car itself] $162 US Dollars)
There really isn’t much you can do if you’re renting a car and have to drive places and pay for parking. The only thing we did that I think helped make a difference is that I planned our trip according to geographical area. So if we were going to Northern Cornwall, we were going for an entire day and not going back that way. At least by doing this we didn’t have to fill up the tank too much!
Listen, we all know how easy it is to just put everything on your credit card. But by doing so, you won’t really be paying attention to what you’re spending which might hurt at the end of the day. This is an easy way to keep track of your money
Don’t Bring All Your Cash Everyday
We started doing this when we went to Costa Rica. We would bring a little but of our money daily and lock up the rest. On days we knew that we wanted to splurge we would bring extra cash. This honestly works great and I did the same thing in England. We never had a day when we were short on cash (bring a little more than you think needed) but we also came home every day with some cash plus what we didn’t bring with us.
Total Spent in England: $942 US Dollars
You guys, that isn’t per-person, that’s total, between the two of us. I was really happy with that. In fact, we came home with over $1,000 US dollars, we used it to pay our rental car and I still had money left over for my trip to Iceland in November. This was a lot of work, budgeting this out, and then figuring out if we saved anything. I really think we did though, while we paid for our airbnb, flight and hotel with our own money, we each barely took out anything for the actual trip over there and then to get that money back to pay for the car was really exciting. Especially since this was our first time ever trying this.
I can’t wait to see how we do on our next Adventure, I’m excited to see if we can plan/budget and save even more! Hopefully with the new Venture One Credit Card we can go on our next trip with flights free!
How do you save and budget for a big trip like a week in England? Comment below! I could use some more tips!