Travel: it’s one of the greatest pleasures and privileges out there. But boy, can it get expensive.
From train tickets and air fares to hotels, dinners out and sightseeing, the bill can soon wrack up if you’re not careful. And, while many of us are desperate to plan our dream, bucket-list getaways after years of travel restrictions and lockdowns, it’s coincided with a period of belt-tightening and budgeting amid the cost of living crisis.
So how to take a trip without breaking the bank?
TikTok can be one of the handiest and most helpful sources of inspiration for those looking to stretch their money further. The entertainment platform is jam-packed with content creators from all walks of life sharing their top hacks for saving money – and there’s a veritable smorgasbord of tips when it comes to travel.
From keeping spending down by opting for a domestic break to ways to save when booking transport; from where to stay on a shoestring to the best attractions you can see for free: these TikTok travel afficionados know their stuff. Forget perfectly retouched photos of influencers reclining in five-star hotels – these creators are dedicated to finding the best deals and budgeting ideas and sharing them with their followers.
Take Sarah Toyin (@sarahtoyin), a TikTok creator who zones in on holidaying for less and solo travel. She kept down the price of her latest trip by swapping long-haul for a staycation in Cornwall.
First up, she shared her experience of taking the overnight coach from London to Penzance. “It was a long journey but the trains and flight tickets were a lot more expensive,” she captions her informative video. “Travelling via coach was a lot more budget and affordable for me.”
The 10-hour National Express journey cost her just £20.60 one-way, despite her booking it “super late”. The coach departed the capital at 11pm and arrived into Penzance at 9am the next morning after multiple stops along the way. Her video shows the seats onboard and highlights that they come with plug sockets – a nice touch. Sarah’s verdict? “The coach was a decent option for travelling on a budget.”
She shared more of her Cornwall experience on TikTok, including how to travel around the coastal county without a car: “I mainly used the Coaster buses,” she explains, writing that “it is possible do Cornwall without a car, it just requires planning and time management”. She used the Atlantic Coaster and Land’s End Coaster to take in Penzance, St Ives, Newquay and Padstow on her whirlwind tour, at a cost of just £5 for a day pass or £20 for a seven-day pass – a useful tip I’ll be using as a non-driver the next time I’m down south.
She also breaks down the cost of her three-day trip, helping fellow travellers to budget by sharing the price of each element: £85 for transport, £165 for two nights at hotels, £80 on food and £10 on activities (she mainly chilled at the beach for free, my kind of girl), bringing the total to £340. Not bad, considering bougie breaks to ever-popular Cornwall can end up costing thousands.
Next up, I’ve been impressed by innovative money-saving hacks shared by Cheap Holiday Expert (@cheapholidayexpert) on TikTok. As the name suggests, she delights in finding new ways to keep costs down when travelling. She posts details of some stellar, great-value accommodation that followers can book too – including an apartment in the centre of Sorrento, Italy, which costs just £20 per person (three bedrooms sleeping six guests).
It’s undeniably a bargain, but what I really enjoy is that her reviews keep it real, rather than sugar-coating or glossing over the reality; “If you’re after a slick, pristine holiday let then… THIS IS NOT THE APARTMENT FOR YOU,” she says. “It is not a polished apartment – it feels like a home, is lived in and has CHARACTER.” Honesty is always the best policy as far as I’m concerned – brava, Cheap Holiday Expert!
She also gives some TikTok tips for nabbing a flight upgrade – “look presentable”, “let it be known” if you’re flying for a special occasion like a honeymoon or your wedding, and “bring treats for the crew” – and reveals a genius hack for taking more stuff onto the plane for free when you have a small luggage allowance. “It’s by using a duty free bag,” says Cheap Holiday Expert, showing how you can hide an additional handbag inside and smuggle it onto a flight undetected. Sneaky.
Earth Explored (@earthexplored) is another extremely popular TikTok creator, garnering 1.5 million likes thanks to his picks of underrated destinations and advice on getting more bang for your buck while travelling. I’m a fan of his destination swap videos, where he suggests more affordable alternatives to big-name (and big price-tag) hotspots. “Instead of Barcelona, head to Porto,” he advises – pointing out that the latter is 43 per cent cheaper.
Meanwhile, he also reveals where to get your festive kicks for less, with the best budget-friendly Christmas markets in Europe: think Krakow, Vilnius and Budapest.
All I want for Christmas? More of these money-saving travel hacks, please.
Don’t do it yourself, do it with TikTok. To learn more visit: https://www.tiktok.com/tag/travel