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5 ways to minimise costs on your next holiday

In 2013, Aussies spent more than almost everyone else in the world on their holidays. Beaten only by Saudi Arabian holiday-makers, we spent an average of US$4,118 each on our last trip away, according to a study on travel intentions by Visa. While there's nothing wrong with enjoying your savings while on holiday, many people will be looking for ways to minimise their spending while still having a great time. Here are five tips to make that happen.

Pick your priorities

Ask yourself what you really want from your holiday - this will shape how you spend both your time and your money. If you want the utmost in luxury accommodation, then splurge on your hotel, but know that you may have less to spend on your daily activities. This could mean you spend your time away relaxing on the beach or in free parks and museums during the day.  You might be in the country to taste everything it has to offer, so prepare for a big food and drinks bill but get ready to save on your transport costs with public transport instead of taxis, for example.

Deal in cash

A great savings tip for at home or overseas, get out your daily budget in cash each morning and try not to go anywhere near an ATM or pull out your credit card again.  Watching your bundle of notes dwindle throughout the day is an easy way to track how much you're spending without counting your receipts, and it will help you stop yourself from going too far over your budget. Plus, having notes and coins on hand can be a lot easier than dealing with cards. When you first start using cash in a new currency, familiarise yourself with the colours or designs of the notes to save yourself from figuring it out at the check out. 

Mix free with fee

Every city is an Aladdin's cave of treasures just waiting to be explored, and while some of it will cost you a fee, some is completely free.  One day, for example, you might spend at a theme park where you will need to purchase tickets, lunch and those great little keyrings with your photo after you've been on the rollercoaster. The next day you can enjoy a nature walk, or cheaply hire bikes to take a tour of the city on two wheels. You might decide to see a theatre show during the evening, but balance that ticket price out with a day at the beach prior to that.

Live like a local

You're a lot more budget conscious when you're at home, so remember what you do there to keep your spending down.  Food and drink bills can take up a surprisingly large part of your holiday expenditure, so live like a local and source at least two meals a day from a supermarket or market instead of out at cafes, restaurants and bars. Put together a picnic, pack all your snacks for the day ahead of time or pick up everything you need for an easy lunch back at your hotel.  Be sure to visit the fresh produce aisle of the local supermarket, as not only will you be able to grab some bargains on the in-season fruit and vegetables, you might find something new to try that was grown locally at your holiday destination.

Coupons, bargains and discounts

Finally, don't forget that many attractions and activities have deals on for visitors.  Booking online will almost always save you a small percentage off entry fees, some museums and cultural attractions are free on certain days of the month and you may be able to pick up discount coupons from the airport or your hotel.  Another great tip is to type search for promotion codes online before you make any payments over the internet - you'll be surprised at how often a simple search will net a result!

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