A travel money guru has revealed how travellers can slash the cost of top “bucket list” trips like the Northern Lights, an African Safari, or the Statue of Liberty. A poll of 2,000 holidaymakers revealed there is an average of 16 destinations and activities they’re desperate to see – with the aurora borealis, spotting animals in their natural habitat, and gazing at America’s symbol of freedom topping the list.
But 76 percent don’t get to travel as much as they would like, with 71 percent of those blaming the cost for holding them back.
However, Jack Mitchell, who has helped holidaymakers get the best deals for their foreign excursions for more than a decade at card firm FairFX, has revealed his top secrets for visiting these sought-after hotspots, at a fraction of the cost.
When it comes to witnessing the Northern Lights, many travellers flock to pricey Iceland – but Jack suggests heading to Sweden, and specifically, the little-known town in the north of the country, Abisko.
The snowy Swedish settlement is one of the best spots to clearly witness the natural phenomenon between September and March – without the eyewatering accommodation costs compared to Iceland.
Those seeking the Northern Lights on a budget can make further savings by hiring a car and downloading free apps to discover the prime locations – as opposed to forking out for a tour and a guide.
For travellers wanting to embrace their wild side on an African safari, heading for the south of the continent in the low season, from December to March, is where the best savings can be made compared to the east.
Jack highlighted Zimbabwe as a great alternative, as the country offers very competitive options for travellers, as well as access to many of the essential safari animals.
And while New York isn’t often associated with a budget break, the Statue of Liberty can be experienced for a pittance – with free ferry tickets included with the purchase of most tourist discount passes around the city.
To see even more of New York cheaply, the NYC Ferry connects five boroughs and has a route from Midtown West to Staten Island – where you can get stunning views of the Statue of Liberty – from as little as $4.
And to make spending money go further, Jack highlighted museums with weekly free or “pay-what-you-wish” hours – like Frick Madison on Thursday afternoons, Guggenheim Museum on selected Saturday afternoons, and the Jewish Museum which is free every Saturday.
Jack said: “Despite feeling the pinch amid the cost-of-living crisis, the nation’s passion for travelling and exploring the world hasn’t been subdued.
“But for any traveller, no matter what their budget, doing the legwork about the destination is essential to making your money go further, and enabling you to tick off entries on your travel bucket list.
“Whether that’s discovering the local hacks, or just getting the most competitive rates with your travel money, it all goes a long way to making lifelong memories without breaking the bank.”
The research also found Europe is the most popular continent for travellers to tick off items on their bucket lists, followed by North America and Asia.
Beaches, wild nature, and mountainous regions were the top types of destinations jetsetters want to explore.
Movies and TV shows give holidaymakers the most inspiration when it comes to adding more to their lists, with 34 percent seeking advice from family and friends – while 27 percent have been inspired by social media.
But despite 67 percent reporting the cost-of-living crisis has had an impact on their travel plans, 53 percent have still managed to tick off an item within the last year.
On average, travellers are hoping to experience two more of their dream locations within the next 12 months.
In an attempt to keep these costs down, 41 percent are trying to book their getaways further in advance, and 35 percent are committed to exploring discount breaks.
Meanwhile, 24 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, are spending longer researching travel currency to ensure the best price.
Jack, from FairFX, added: “With so much to see and do across the world, it can almost feel like an impossible task compiling a realistic travel bucket list.
“And for many it can seem daunting trying to see as much of it as possible – but if there’s a will, there’s a way, and it’s encouraging to learn how these determined travellers are exploring options to go on adventures within budget.”
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