How to save money on travel is one of the most common questions I get asked.
Who doesn’t like to save money when possible? Traveling can be expensive, but with the right strategy you can bring down the cost. Try these 10 tips on your next vacation and your wallet will thank you.
1. Travel Off-Season
There’s something to be said for going to Ibiza in the summer or Vermont in the winter, but the upside to traveling off-season is that it’s much cheaper. Plus, you might discover lesser-known attractions and get to know the locals when there aren’t so many tourists around.
2. Look for free activities
If you do a little research, you’ll see there are often lots of free activities in the area. Look at community calendars to see what is going on in town while you are there. Do a self-guided walking tour to familiarize yourself with your destination. Museums often have a ‘pay what you can’ day once a week and sometimes have discounted admission after a certain time of day.
3. Screen car rentals
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you even need a car rental. If the answer is a definite yes, you should take the time to look through discount booking sites in order to get the best possible deal. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the local laws and what, if any, assistance your insurance company will provide if you are in an accident. This will make it easier to avoid adding on insurance that you do not need.
4. Book a room with a refrigerator/microwave or kitchen area
Although some people might not like to cook while on vacation, I don’t mind making breakfast in my room. I love having a cup of coffee on my deck, but room service can be very pricy. I’d rather eat-in for breakfast and lunch and then splurge on a fancy dinner. A microwave and fridge will also be helpful for reheating leftovers.
5. Shop at farmer’s markets and local stores
Farmer’s markets often lower the price of their food towards the end of the day. Also, shopping at local stores allows you to taste the local cuisine without having to pay the price of a restaurant. Buy some local fish and cook it up at your condo.
6. Set up an automatic travel savings account at your bank
I keep my savings account invisible/inaccessible from my internet banking so that I never have the temptation to transfer money over and spend it. Accessing the money would mean physically going to a bank to make the transaction, and I’ve never been tempted enough to do that. I only use it for travel.
7. Use Facebook in a big way
Remember, friends of friends are often people who will warmly open their door to you – so get connected with people from your past and present, and cut out all that expensive accommodation. Yeah, it might cost you a dinner and a few beers, but how good is that!Plus, since you’re living local, you won’t feel like just another tourist – and you’ll make and keep friends for life.
8. Look for city tourism cards
Depending on the card, you can gain free entry to top visitor attractions, discounts at restaurants and shops, skip-the-line options at busy attractions, free public transportation, and even free guidebooks. Depending on your itinerary, it might be worth the money.
9. Have a picnic in the park
Just pick up a variety of fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses or other local specialties from a farmers market in the city you’re visiting. It’s so much cheaper than a restaurant, and just as fun! Plus, the food can be absolutely delicious – not to mention traditional.
10. Carry a reusable water bottle
You need to stay hydrated when traveling and buying water every day gets expensive. Get a metal water bottle or reuse your plastic water bottle a few times to save money. I usually use a plastic water bottle for about four days, or more if I can find a place to clean it. Instead of buying three bottles a day, I usually buy two per week. I may only be saving a small amount of money each time, but over the course of a long trip that can really add up. Moreover, I reduce the amount of plastic I use, which is also good for the environment. It’s win-win.