Everyone loves to save money, especially when traveling. However, saving money on the go can be an effort that ranges from frustrating to futility, especially with inflation.
Fortunately, you can reduce costs with a bit of planning, such as booking ahead and traveling longer. Here are ten tips anyone can do to reduce travel expenses on their next vacation.
Travel during the off-season
Every tourist destination has a season and an off-season, usually spring and fall. If you’re willing to visit a tourist area during that off-season, you can rack up significant savings on lodging, food, and even travel costs like airfare. Things will be cheaper, but there will also be far fewer crowds.
If you want to travel for extended periods during these off-months, you can utilize budget solutions like a digital mailbox to ensure everything back home is running smoothly.
Choose accommodations wisely
Your accommodations will likely be one of the most significant single expenses of any trip, outside of airfare, unless you actively work to keep them down. You can find alternative lodging and less expensive hotel rooms to cut down costs.
Rooms with kitchens
Many hotels offer mini-suites that have a kitchen space to prepare food. Those rooms also usually come with a microwave. You can save money by cooking your meals rather than eating in restaurants. If you plan, you can cover all your meals and snacks, which adds up quickly.
You can find almost any room at any price point you want via Airbnb; you have to spend the time looking for it. Being willing to stay outside a destination area, booking mid-week, and staying for several nights to get a discount are a few ways you can score a superb rental accommodation that won’t break the bank.
If you’re willing to forego some amenities, you can find hostels and discounted hotels in most major metropolitan areas. Sometimes, you can get a safe, comfortable room or bed for as little as $20 a night. One tradeoff is that you may have to share a bathroom, but going the hostel or discounted hotel route is difficult to beat if you want to save money.
Besides affordable dorm or private room prices, most hostels and discounted hotels offer a shared kitchen area where you can make food.
Many destinations have affordable camping options. This accommodation option can help you reduce costs by utilizing communal kitchens or cooking spaces. Campgrounds also often have inexpensive activities nearby.
Even extended trips to the beach usually have access to local campgrounds. Plus, you can use camping equipment repeatedly, spreading the cost out.
Look for free activities
Visiting a tourist destination and don’t want to spend a lot of money on tourist traps? By researching your destination, you can identify free and low-cost activities for you and your family. If your destination is a larger city, consider picking up a city pass, which gets you free and discounted access to multiple city venues for a reasonable fee.
Treat lunch like dinner
At many restaurants, lunch comes in different sizes with a smaller price tag than dinner. Plan to have your more expensive meal of the day at lunch and eat less costly options at dinner.
Eating a more expensive meal at lunch will let you try various restaurants without spending as much. Regardless of where you eat, always have them box up what you don’t eat and take it with you to enjoy later.
Set up a master plan
Map out a plan for as much of your travel time as possible. Planning lets you identify where you will have expenses, giving you options if cutting costs is a requirement instead of a goal. The plan should list:
- Available discounts and coupons
- Substitute activities if any fall through
Create and track a budget
Along with a plan, add up your general expenses, including projected activity expenses, and create a budget. Track what gets spent and pay attention to your budget throughout your trip. Keeping track of your payments will serve at least three purposes.
First, it will let you keep control of your finances. It’ll also allow you to know when you overspent and how to get back on track. Lastly, by tracking everything, you can identify where you spent less, freeing up funds later.
Use public transportation
Using a rental vehicle or driving it wherever you go on vacation is convenient. But it’s also costly, particularly with high gas prices. Most of the driving you will do is stop and go, which uses up more gas than highway driving. With that in mind, you can use public trains and other modes of transport.
Some cities offer these for free, but you can also get a pass that will give you discounted rates on your trips. Most cities, for example, have multiple-day or trip passes.
If your destination is in one area and you can walk, you should do that. It gets you to exercise and saves money by not operating your vehicle. Walking is also a fantastic way to explore the area.
As you map out your plan for your trip, note what clothes you will need. Then, pack only those. Also, figure out what other toiletries, medicines, and cosmetics you need. Creating a list and tick off items as you fill is often helpful. This way, you save room packing and won’t need to buy things at the destination.
Book flights and rooms early
Prices increase with more demand, so you get the best prices on airfare by booking early. As soon as you know your plans, start looking for deals. It may be a hefty upfront cost, but it will save you money in the long run.
Traveling is expensive no matter where you go, but you can save by using a plan, setting a budget, and taking advantage of discounts. Follow this advice, and you’ll save significant amounts of money while enjoying your vacation.