Happy 2023 and welcome to my 8 best money saving travel tips, after budgeting, planning and saving thousands of pounds.
One of the most popular questions people ask is all about money-saving tips and budgeting for travel.
However, when planning my travels, I like to ask myself how can I maximise my spending and make my money and budget work harder for me?!
Having a travel budget always helps, whether you actually put money monthly or save by other means. I like to do both!
I find that it is always better to have a separate travel account and put money aside for travel since this is the best way to make travel possible.
I have an article that answers pretty much this question on how I travel and save for those travels.
Hopefully, with the travel restrictions easing in 2023, now is the best time to plan your travels.
It is easy sometimes to talk about cutting expenses and going without coffee. Still, seriously this doesn’t work for me since I do love my Starbucks.
Of course, if you have excessive habits and waste money on things you don’t use, like subscriptions, then definitely cut them out.
However, the tips below help you save money while you are planning your trip and throughout the year to have more budget to travel.
I have done all the things recommended personally and still do every year.
#1 Have a Big 2023 Destination Plan
I know this sounds so cliche, but it really helps if you know where you want to go. Start by writing down your dream destinations, whether close by or far away. Psychologists say you are more likely to achieve them anyway if you are actually writing them down.
Plus, at the end of the year, you can always tick them off the list. You will be surprised how much you can achieve, even subconsciously.
If you know your dream travel destination, then you can prepare yourself financially and mentally that you will be going there.
Let me give you an example. One of my dream destinations has been Bora Bora for the longest time possible, every year, I do something to take me closer to this especially as it will cost me around £10,000 to go.
However, this December 2021, I did manage to achieve my dream of a super luxury holiday in the Maldives worth over £25,000 for only £3,000 using pretty much everything in the suggestions below!
Every year I save a little, I plan a little, and I keep an eye out for deals and options available. Could I have gone to Bora Bora 5 years ago? Yes, probably, but it would not have been on an overwater villa in the ocean, which is the dream!
#2 Plan your 2023 Travel in Advance
Every year I take the calendar out and look at where I want to go, the national holidays available and how to maximise the annual leave my husband has in order to travel for more extended periods of time.
This is my favourite travel strategy because it gives me a rough idea of the months of Ramadan and also both Eids and the fact that we can take time off to explore different countries or cities.
This also helps find deals and keep an eye on sales throughout the year.
Yes, spontaneous travel is great, but for bigger or more expensive trips that need planning, finding a deal is important, like our trip to Dubai for New Year, which definitely needed advance planning because hotel prices went through the roof.
You don’t have to have dates, but it is good to know approximate dates for the below reason.
#3 Take Advantage of Hotel and Airline Sales
Knowing approximate trip destinations or dates will help you watch out for hotel and flight sales.
If you read this in December, you will know that airlines and hotels offer sales. They also offer deals about 3-4 times a year starting from December and every 3 months approximately.
This can be an excellent opportunity for you to save money and book in advance.
This way, you can book Premium Economy instead of the economy and upgrade your travel experience for the same price.
For example: Let’s say you want to go to Umrah in Ramadan and you need direct flights because you have children or elderly people with you. The best way to score a deal is around this time of the year when British Airways has a sale on their flights with up to 35% off.
However, the majority of people won’t be starting to plan their Umrah or holiday until about 2 months before the trip when prices have soared, and there are no more offers available.
Airlines put their offers about every 3-4 times a year starting from the Christmas holiday’s and for travel up to a year in advance. So keep this in mind when planning your trips and looking for deals.
Hotels operate at a similar time with their deals.
#4 Make Your Money Work Harder for You
This is one of my favourite mottos, and I use this a lot! It is all about making my hard-earned money work harder for me by saving me and giving me more in return.
For example, I shop primarily online through the British Airways portal, which earns me Avios with every £1 spent or through the cashback websites.
I also shop with my American Express card, which gives me another point per £ spent.
With one spending online, I can rank up several Avios and points that I can use towards travel without doing anything other than buying what I need.
For example, buying my daughter a pair of shoes from H&M resulted in several hundred points because they cost £30, but British Airways had an offer for 10 Avios per £1 spent. Plus, the 30 Amex points I received from using my credit card.
If I had bought the same pair of shoes in the shop, I would have earned only 30 Amex points by paying with the card and missing the other 300 Avios.
Now, this is a lifestyle change for many. Still, over the year, you can quickly accumulate enough points for a flight upgrade or for a free flight somewhere.
On average, I earn about 40,000 Avios, which gives me an upgrade or two for business class when booked into Premium Economy, which is the best way to actually use them, in my opinion.
I use Skyscanner and their monthly view to find the cheapest flights. I have a video on this as well.
#4 Make Cashback and Airline portals your friends in 2023
Cashback websites are fantastic to use when shopping online. They work on a similar principle with the British Airways Portal, but instead of Avios, they give you money back.
Depending on the retailer, you can get from 2% to anything the retailer offers.
I use cashback sites predominantly when I switch providers or for large household items when the cashback is worth it.
I personally use mostly Topcashback.
I always look between the BA portal and the cashback websites to see which offers me the best value.
Sadly you cannot use both, as you need to click on the link to register the purchase.
Also, if you have a family and you are booking via Airbnb in order to save money, you still can earn Avios but book via the specific BA- Airbnb page ( it is their referral program) and earn Avios. You can find that page here.
The same can apply if you are buying a new fridge, changing internet suppliers, buying car insurance and anything else you can think.
If people buy it, Topcashback probably has it on offer.
For example, I recently bought some of my skincare with the sale going on for Christmas. The cashback was marginal, and I decided that since Avios had extra points offer to go with them.
I earned 7 points for every £1, and spending £200 netted me 1400 Avios. Just note that the Avios or cashback don’t go into your account instantly. They do take around 2 or 3 months, depending on the retailer.
I usually put the money saved towards my travel jar, and then I use them to buy a hotel or flights or anything else I need for next year. The payout can be even in restaurant vouchers and entertainment.
Even if you save £20 per year, you will be £20 richer than before all for a few extra clicks.
If you are not in the UK, airlines like Etihad and Emirates and American Airlines and others also have shopping portals to earn points with their respective loyalty program.
#5 Use Loyalty programs for hotels and airlines
I have several loyalty statuses with hotels and airlines. Predominantly Hilton, which is free with Amex cards. It gives me breakfast and upgrades, but I also have status with British Airways for free luggage and lounge access.
It is the easiest and cheapest way to receive status with hotels instead of staying the required 60 nights per year.
I have lived in hotels for years to benefit and accumulate enough points, like living for a year in a Hilton in Doha in order to get enough points for the holiday of my dreams at the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives, which easily costs £25,000 for a week.
I know people sign up for every single program but hardly actually accumulate enough or make it worth it.
My advice is to accumulate with an airline you like and then travel with that specific airline or alliance in order to accumulate enough points for a free redemption.
Even if it might be slightly more expensive in the short term, or longer term, you will most likely benefit.
Suppose you don’t want to be loyal to hotels and are a budget-conscious traveller. In that case, I suggest you use a portal like Hotels.com, which is similar to Booking.com but with a better reward program.
Hotels.com gives you a free night after staying ten nights in any property. Because it is not hotel specific but site-specific, you can pick any hotel to redeem this. The free night is the average price of your ten stays. Effectively giving you 10% back.
If you did step 1 and planned your holidays in advance, you will know if you can accumulate 10 nights of holiday somewhere.
You can also use either cashback websites or the BA portal (or another airline portal, depending on your country) to save extra money since they are part of both programs.
# 6 Use loyalty credit cards to pay
When I started using Amex cards back in 2014, many Muslims didn’t like them. I am happy to see that their use has increased and that they benefit from points and offers.
I personally have used them for the past years, and I can honestly say they have saved me thousands of pounds and helped me create fantastic travel memories.
I have the Amex Platinum card (if you want to be referred to an Amex card, email me through the contact form, but in order to get the generous bonus, you need to have not held an Amex card for 24 months) and treat it as a debit card. Then I pay it off every month.
Also, make sure you read my credit card strategy and how I accumulate most of my points for travelling in 2023.
In my wallet, you will also find the British Airways credit card because it gives me more Avios and 2 for 1 voucher, which comes in handy when travelling, especially now that my daughter is over 2 years old.
I use Amex because they include travel insurance which is excellent, and I have used it abroad before, and also it gives me status with several hotels.
Now that I travel more, and even though it does cost almost £600 a year, I have found that I have made that money back with their cashback deals this year.
However, if you are new, I recommend starting with the Amex Gold card, which is free for the first year and will give you a taste of how you can save more money.
If you use my referral, you will also get extra points. I have an article here that you can read more about it.
Please read my guide to loyalty programs
#7 Use Google Flights
I love using Skyscanner to book and Google flights to monitor flight prices. This way, I know when it is best to book them.
Don’t panic if prices go higher; they normally go down, and after a while, you will realise the fluctuation can help you predict when to book.
I usually don’t book more than 6 weeks in advance as I know when the prices are low. I have found some great deals even a day before travel (if you can handle the stress).
Google Flights help you track the prices in a nice graph; you can read my article here.
I then book and check the prices via Skyscanner.
#8 Open a travel account
Open a travel account and put the money you save from your cashback websites and any other monthly contributions you make.
Even if it is £100 a month, it is better to have them in a separate account and plan your travel budget based on what you have saved rather than go into debt.
Yes, use a credit card to pay for the trip but pay it off straight away from your saving.
I also like to keep an account of all the money I have saved by using Amex offers, hotel points, and other money-saving methods mentioned above.
This indicates that my travel strategies are working, and I am saving money.
If you are saving for a big trip, be patient and accumulate the required points or cash. I waited almost 3 years to use my Hilton points for my dream holiday in the Maldives, but this definitely paid off.
I could have easily used the points elsewhere and forgone the luxury holiday that saved me nearly £15,000. Still, I stuck to it and had them allocated elsewhere.
These are all the money-saving tips that have helped me travel year after year. I have saved thousands and travelled more in business class than any other time because I have applied these tips.
I cannot help you increase your salary.
Still, I hope these tips definitely give you ideas and help you plan your holidays more effectively and spend your money in a way that can be multifaceted.
I would appreciate it if you use the links in the recourses when booking your holidays or going through the cashback websites since they help me sustain the site.
Please note that I advocate a long-term game plan for families who want to save and travel more without the grey areas of opening 100 credit cards and earning millions. Nothing wrong with this and I did it at the beginning but it is hard to keep and easy to slide down the rabbit hole.
As a Muslim travel blog with thousands of readers, I advocate going slow but making it part of your life. This way, it’s an automated process for every spending.
I know many of you will read this and think it’s totally cliche, but the truth is not many people do it. That’s why sites like mine exist.
To remind people to actually plan in advance, to put a little bit of effort into achieving their dreams of travelling with family, to be part of the 10% rather than 90% of the population.
Nothing is given for free, and nothing is not achievable, whether it is your dream Umrah, a dream honeymoon or a dream family holiday. Travelling more in 2023 is possible, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.