Now that vaccination efforts are paying off around the world, countless people are contending with two competing impulses. On one hand, they desperately want to travel: to leave their homes and explore. On the other hand, they want to protect their finances. Enough people lost their jobs (or were furloughed) during 2020 to justify worrying about money.
Let’s say the first impulse wins the day and you decide that staying indoors all the time just isn’t viable. Whether you’re determined to get back into the office or hungry to go overseas, you just have to get outside. It’s going to cost you, no matter what you do, but you can at least mitigate that cost by taking every opportunity to save money.
In this post, we’re going to look at some key tips for saving money on travel in a world still coming to terms with the impact of a pandemic. Let’s get to them:
If it seems odd that the first tip about saving money involves investment, well, that’s the nature of money. You need to spend it to make it, and sometimes you need to spend it to save it. This is particularly true today given the variable nature of regional travel restrictions. You can line up a trip months in advance, finding the best deals around, only to see the rules change the week before and lead to all your bookings being cancelled.
At a minimum, you need to get travel insurance in place for any large-scale trip. It won’t be cost-effective for an unprompted long drive, of course, but even a day trip to another part of the country could cost you enough if cancelled that it merited insurance. Select an insurance scheme that explicitly features coronavirus cover (travel insurance from Post Office being a prime example) to ensure that you won’t lose any money if things go awry.
When you travel for fun, that’s your responsibility. When you travel for work, that’s heavily the responsibility of your employer, so the onus is on them to ensure that you’re not bearing the brunt of the associated costs. Suppose, for instance, that you’ve become accustomed to working remotely, but you’re now being invited back into the office.
You may want to go back into the office, of course, but your employer’s preference still matters. If they see greater value in having you there, they can help you with paying for the travel, whether they’re buying your train tickets or refunding some or all of your fuel expenditure. TravelPerk has some questions worth asking if you are being asked to travel for work.
Let’s say that you have several things you want to achieve. Maybe you intend to spend some time in the office, meet up with an old friend, and do some rare in-person shopping. Instead of doing these activities in separate trips, you should look for a way to join them. You could spend a day in the office, for instance, then go shopping with your friend in the late afternoon.
Similarly, if you have several meetings lined up, you could attempt to reschedule them so they take place consecutively (or at least on the same day). If you’re meeting up with people you know, you could even suggest carpooling — it won’t pose much of a threat assuming you’re all vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19. It probably won’t be easy, but anything you can do to reduce the number of trips you need overall will be a big help.
How far do you tend to go when you travel? How often are you going overseas, and how often are you staying within your local area? There’s a great chance that many of your usual trips are regional, whether you’re doing some shopping or visiting friends and family. Those trips are important, no doubt, but do they really need to prove costly?
The answer is no, they don’t. Many of us get into the habit of driving or taking public transport for even short trips, when we could just as easily walk or cycle. The latter is an even better option when you factor in the existence of electric bikes. Sure, it’ll cost you to charge such a bike, but nowhere near what you’d pay to fuel a car.
Wrapping up, we can’t all keep avoiding travel indefinitely, but we don’t have to go back to doing things the way we did them before. By taking sensible actions such as those listed here, you can continue to travel while keeping your costs down.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.