More ways and means…

If you don’t need a smartphone, don’t have one!

I got a new phone last week and opted for a basic talk/text/basic internet/email model with the same amount of minutes, unlimited text and a 500mb ceiling for internet usage for £2 per month less than I was paying on the old contract.

Savings over the length of the contract? Around £48…

I don’t send picture messages via phone or send messages with emoticons either, so save more money that way!

Phone does have a camera that could come in useful when out and about, especially as it has a flash unit and the phone has Bluetooth.

The new phone is still going to stay at home on most trips though… exceptions may be made when travelling in countries that have no roaming charges on the 3 network.

Salesman did try to talk us into considering an iPad for life on the move.

We resisted as we’ve looked at iPads from the time they were introduced and we’re still not tempted to dive in and buy one.

The subject of tablets came up again over the weekend though thanks to a madcap idea we had that’s being worked on. May have to investigate further to see whether it’s a possibility if or when the madcap idea comes off!

On the subject of other money savings to help fund travel – one store’s loyalty card use started a chain of vouchers that had me paying out £4.31 for around £16.57 worth of food items last week.

Use of card and two vouchers (£1 off a £5 purchase & £5 off any purchase) plus a selection of items from the reductions fridge, no longer stocked shelf and the coffee promotion helped along the way!

Complete meal for two including a rare sweet course plus a high end can of coffee and a rather large bar of Cadbury’s chocolate went down rather well for some reason… over two nights of course!

We also use loyalty cards as and when the providers make us an offer we can’t refuse – like a decent reduction on a £20/£30 shop voucher deal when we’re buying the food in for the month. We still check Lidl prices first…

Check on the costs of accommodation for different times of the year and as to whether there’s any offers available should you stay on longer.

Had this on campsites here in the UK and it’s come up a few times on both Late Rooms over here and on Booking.com for places in warmer climes.

Also check out what the rates are for Hostelling International affiliated hostels.

We’ve found room rates that were cheaper in these hostels (especially if you opt for shared facilities rather than en-suite ones). Mind you, we’re still trying to find the English translation button on at least one European HI affiliate organisation – if the Portuguese HI affiliate can do it, anyone can!

There’s also the potential for a reduction on the overnight charges abroad too if you’re a member of your home country hostelling association (i.e. YHA here in the UK).

A YHA membership card also gives you reduced price kit at various outdoor stores here in the UK too – may only be 10% off full price items, but hey, reduced prices mean more money for your trip!

Buy any clothing out of season if you can – colours and sizes may be limited, but if the brand’s a good one, the item should last you a while.

Select travel clothing and equipment that’s multi-functional.

Can it be used for activities as well as a night out?

Or as part of a layering system when the temperatures drop?

Do the shoes or sandals cut it on the trail as well as in town?

And can your travel towel be used as a sarong as well as a towel and as a means to squeeze excess water out of your travel clothing if you’re washing and wearing stuff as you go along?

Do you eat and drink at places on the main tourist drag?

Or do you go off centre in search of the places that the locals use which have set menus or meal of the day offers?

Do you go for coffee at a local place?

Or a chain?

Do you buy a bottle of water in a bar?

Or in a supermarket?

And if you buy a bottle of wine, can you get the ruddy bottle open when you get back to your digs?

Discount store bottle openers don’t always work as we found out one night in Sintra.

We called it The Curse Of The Cork Bottle Stopper Night…

Can you book direct with the accommodation?

Or do you have to go through a middleman website to do the booking?

Are you willing to wing it when you’re in country?

Or do you want everything sewn up well in advance with no room for manoevures?

Do you really need to book a taxi in advance?

Or do you just roll the dice?

There will be more, oh yes, there will be more!

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About Keith Rickaby

Fiftysomething writer and occasional photographer who has worked in both the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and whilst I'm originally from the North East, I'm now firmly based in't Yorkshire...
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