Five simple travel hacks to help save money

Angus Kidman 7 September 2016


Why spend money on airfares when you could spend it at the bar?

I love travelling, and I love saving money. I'm the guy who travelled 1600 kilometres on trains for $19.72 just to prove it could be done. In no particular order, here are five fairly specific travel hacks that can help you trim your travel budget.

Dodge credit card surcharges for Tigerair

All Australian airlines have been forced to ditch their huge credit card booking fees in favour of more realistic options. Tigerair's new surcharges mean that you can no longer dodge surcharges by using an Australian-issued debit MasterCard, which was previously possible. However, there is one sneaky workaround: if you use the official Tigerair app, there's no surcharge. I don't expect this will last; Tigerair is bound to update the app eventually, especially with Apple currently doing a purge on the App Store. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Check for hotel credit card surcharges

Airlines aren't the only ones who pass on credit card fees. Many major hotel chains will also impose a surcharge if you pay your bill using plastic. If that's the case, go for one of the cheaper options, such as EFTPOS or cash. And always check your total when you check out; I've had too many hotels try and sneak minibar charges onto my bill.

Don't pay for hotel Wi-Fi

It's becoming increasingly common for hotels to offer free Wi-Fi, which is great. Those that charge invariably charge too much. If you need Internet access for your computer, use tethering on your mobile phone. Even if that involves paying $10 for an extra gigabyte, it's generally cheaper than the hotel option, and the majority of us don't use all our data each month anyway.

Never pack any shoes

Sorry, Manolo Blahnik lovers, but this one works. Low-cost carriers typically charge high fees if you want to check baggage, and your carry-on luggage is restricted to 7kg. In that context, shoes are a bulky waste of space. For a weekend away, you don't need any more footwear than what you wear on the plane.

Dress well to maximise your upgrade chances

On a related note: it isn't easy these days to score an upgrade into business class, but you can improve your odds by dressing the part. If you rock up to the airport in tracky daks and a bright pink T-shirt, your chances will definitely be reduced.

Hungry for more hacks? Check out 26 additional tips from our team.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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