You’ve saved up for months, searched for the best flights and best-value hotels, and you’re finally on holiday. But suddenly, all your spending money starts to add up – a euro here, a dollar there – and you find yourself tightening your belt. Nobody wants to budget on holiday, but we have good news! It’s super easy to save money by using a smartphone, even last minute. Ever heard that fact about how we put men on the moon with a less powerful computer than the ones we carry around every day? Make the most of this technology with these fab apps: they utilise that brilliant smartphone you (or somebody in your group) has tucked in your pocket, and can save you a ton of money along the way!
Ride Sharing Apps
First up: ride sharing apps. Programs like Uber, Lyft, and Grab are popular the world over, and for good reason: the price is set in advance, so you’ll never get to your destination and be gobsmacked at the number on the meter, nor will you have to carry cash or hail a cab in the traditional manner. Just a few taps of the app, and you’ll be able to see how many cars are in your area, how long it will take to get to your destination, and how much the whole journey will cost. This can be a lifesaver in countries where you’re not sure about currency conversions, as it avoids the sometimes-unscrupulous-cabbies route. You’ll have to do a little research on which apps are available in your destination – and make sure they’re legal to use there!
Easy Car Hire
If you’re more of a road-tripping family, or just fancy having your own car to get you from the resort to the centre, we have you covered. Both Turo and Getaround have been described as ‘the Airbnb of cars’ – that is, you borrow through private individuals, rather than through a car hire company. This peer-to-peer scheme means many of the fees associated with renting a car disappear, and you’re left with a vehicle of your choice. Turo, for example, lets you filter by whether you want the car for business, are after a ‘super deluxe car’ (30+ only, we’re afraid) and even by how green the car is. Fancy a spin in a Merc? Done. Cruising around in a BMW? Done. Something that’ll get you the best mileage for your trip up to see Aunt Agnes in Scotland? Done. Again, you’ll have to check which, if either, is available to use in your destination before deciding.
If you do end up renting a car, make sure you check out GasBuddy or Petrol Prices, which find the cheapest fuel rates near you, and make saving money a breeze!
Talking of Airbnb, why not make some extra pocket money by renting out your home while you’re away? Especially if you’re away in peak season, there’s likely to be someone wanting to come and stay in your city, and with the Airbnb app, you can respond to any queries they have while you’re away. Relax and enjoy the pool – you’re making money! Be careful if you’re a renter, though: many contracts have clauses in them that prohibit you letting out your home. This one works best if you own the house! You can also use the app to find experiences in your destination – from food tours to a photo shoot – to make your holiday truly enjoyable.
How are you going to use all these lovely apps, though? While new EU regulations mean you can use your English contract all over the European Union at no extra charge, there are several countries where using your mobile data can be extortionately expensive. If you’re venturing to one of these areas, we have two tips: number one – turn off roaming on your phone! This will restrict you to Wi-Fi only, we’re afraid, but will save you a ton of money, and if you really need it, you can always turn your data back on in emergencies. Option number two is to look into buying a local sim card, which can be especially useful if you’re staying somewhere that charges for Wi-Fi. Depending on how long you’re staying in a country, and how much you’ll want to use the internet while you’re there, this can be a very helpful route. In countries like Vietnam, for example, you can get about 7GB for around a fiver, so if someone simply needs to maintain a Snapchat streak, or stay in contact with somebody back home, you’ll have the ability at your fingertips.
Lost in Translation
Make good use of that internet to do a bit of research. Why not download Google Translate in the local language? That way, you can be confident in venturing off the beaten path of tourist spots, and you might find something truly authentic. Whether it’s a restaurant that’s popular with residents or a shop that doesn’t charge outrageous prices for souvenirs, you’re sure to save money just by wandering a few streets away. Google Translate means that you’ll know exactly what you’re ordering – it’s a no to that intriguing looking dish that ends up being jellied moose nose/ cow brain/ fertilised eggs…
Map Your Way
In a similar vein, get downloading some map apps! In major cities, apps like Citymapper will let you navigate public transport with ease, with the app even telling you which stops to get off at and which train carriage you should aim for. Meanwhile, Maps.Me works offline once you’ve downloaded the specific destination, so if you plan to wander around and don’t fancy getting lost, this one’s for you. Using these apps mean you won’t have to rely on expensive emergency taxis, and can get safely and easily to your destination.
So now you’ve saved all that money, you can spend it on things that make your holiday better! Step one, though, is finding good exchange rates. Get yourself a card like Caxton FX or Revolut, which allow you to use the card and take out money abroad at fixed rates. And if you prefer to use cash, download ATM Locator, which will guide you to all the fee-free ATMs in the city. Get your cash, and make it rain – or buy a nice dinner!