EXPLORE: 16 Ideas to Save Money on Travel
Travel is so exciting and fun but it can be expensive. Whether you are planning a long weekend road trip or you’re planning on going abroad, saving money can be a necessary priority. Below are 16 ideas to save money on travel so that you can get the most out of your travel budget.
BEFORE YOU GO:
1. Don’t be picky. Have a list and watch for deals. I have a running list of places I want to travel to and it includes everything from road trips to domestic vacations to adventures abroad. When I get an email or check a travel site, I know what I’m looking for and when I find a deal I snag it. Journals like My Bucketlist can help you keep track of all the places you’d love to go!
2. Consider a drivable destination. When you need to get away but your checking account or time off bank at work screams no, consider a short road trip! You can find fun close to home and explore a natural park, a small town a few hours away, or check out the next state over.
3. Think about what you already have that you can use on your trip. When I went to Iceland I had to buy everything. EVERYTHING. It was not cheap even though I found good deals. If you have summer gear, plan a summer excursion to the lake or beach. If you already have winter gear, check out the mountains.
4. Check Groupon for deals before you go. My best friend and I went to New Orleans in 2015. We checked out Groupon before we left and found some great deals on tours. We saved money on a ghost tour and a history tour.
5. Travel to places that friends and family live. Your hotel room is a huge expense. Savings can be more than $100 a night if you can stay with a friend or family member. Friends and family also know the area and can be a great tour guide.
6. Travel with family. Traveling with family can alleviate the cost of travel. You can split a room or rent a house for a long weekend. If you go on a road trip you can share travel costs such as gas.
7. Travel with a friend or a group. Going on vacation with a friend or group is a lot of fun and can be very economical. Sharing a room, a ride, and travel costs is a great way to get the most out of a trip. With more room in the budget you could go on a tour, see a show, have a 5 star dinner, or buy a souvenir to commemorate your experience.
8. Consider cheaper accommodations. Instead of staying in a hotel, try a cheaper option. You can you find a cabin on the lake or a condo on the beach through airbnb or Groupon. If you really want to get away cheap consider camping!
9. Pack lightly to avoid fees. Airlines charge for bags, extra suitcases, and heavy luggage. Be conscious of what you’re taking with you and remember you might bring back more than you left with. Try traveling with just a carry on!
10. Credit cards with rewards. If you’re good with your rewards credit card you should definitely use it to accumulate points or miles towards travel. There are a lot of options out there so if you don’t have one you should shop wisely.
11. Reward programs. There are a lot of insider programs and reward points through various travel related companies. You can earn free or discounted hotel stays through reward programs and you can even accumulate airline miles or use perks at frequented venues.
12. Ask locals for advice. I always ask locals advice. Residents are usually pretty nice about sharing information and suggesting their favorite local restaurants, bars, and shops. Locals can also share with you the answer to questions like where you can find the best, cheapest burger in town or where you should check out happy hour.
WHILE ON VACATION:
13. Save on food. There are a lot of ways to save money on food while traveling. You can grab breakfast in the hotel lobby, cook out on the grill, pack lunches, or split meals at local restaurants. My favorite trick is to hit up the grocery store as soon as I get to my destination. Sandwich supplies and fruit are great lunches and snacks which can save money for a nice dinner.
14. Shop for gifts and souvenirs with a list. I always take a shopping list with me so that I don’t overspend. I usually buy myself one thing to wear, such as jewelry or clothing, and I usually bring back regional foods and spices for my parents and treats for my friends such as candy or liquor.
15. Use cash on vacation. To avoid overspending try having cash or a predetermined spending amount. Personally, I have a savings account with my bank called ‘vacation’ and I only use what is saved up in there while traveling.
16. Use public transportation. Try using the train, car services, shuttles, trollies, and walking instead of renting a car. You can even split a ride with other travelers who are headed to the same destination.