Buy a rail pass

If you are planning to travel across Europe, Japan, Canada or the US, rail passes can be cheaper than individual fares and give you added flexibility. Trains in Europe and Japan are also insanely fast (TGV trains have travelled at over 500km/hour) and can be a lot more efficient than travelling by air because there are reduced waiting times at either end. They can also double as accommodation if you're travelling long distances.

Buy travel insurance to cover flexibility

Flexible fares are great for business travellers who need to be able to update their plans on the run, but for leisure travellers, the reasons you are likely to change your flights are probably covered by travel insurance (things like sickness or death in the family). You'll probably find that insurance is much cheaper to buy than a flexible fare and gives you a range of other covers as well.

Fly at inconvenient times

In cities with no airline curfews there are flights leaving at all hours of the day. But who wants to fly out at 3am? Bargain hunters, that's who. Budget airlines in Europe will sell insanely cheap fares if you're willing to fly from a regional airport in the middle of the night. But be sure to check public transport options to the airport: there's no point in getting a €1 fare if you have to spend €100 on cab fares to the airport.

Rent away from the airport

Rental cars are always cheaper the further they are from an airport. If you're arriving in a city in the afternoon, it might be cheaper to catch a shuttle bus to your accommodation and then rent a car the following day from a downtown depot, saving yourself a day's rental and often nasty airport taxes too.

Get an international student card

Australian student cards will probably not be accepted in many places overseas, but student discounts for international card holders can be huge, particularly on public transport.

Book early

If you know your travel dates, book as soon as you can. Prices rise the closer you are to the travel date and the super cheap fares are always the first to go.

Shop around

Look for fares on different airlines and also different airports. Some cities are serviced by more than one airport, or have a second airport fairly close by. You may be able to a get a much better deal flying into the less well-known airport.

Shop online for your rental car

Competition can be fierce between car companies, particularly if you are travelling off season and there are fleets of cars sitting idle. If you're renting for just a few days, check the major car companies, but if you're planning on staying a while, local companies will often be cheaper.

Join the loyalty program

Check if there's a car company affiliated with your airline frequent flyer scheme, your credit card company or your motoring association. Some companies offer ‘members only' deals.