7 Ways to Save Money While Traveling
Traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. If you thought a vacation just wouldn’t fit in the budget this year, you may be surprised by how affordable you can make your next adventure if you try. Yes, you may have to make some sacrifices here and there, but the savings are well worth it, and you’re still going to have an amazing experience.
Here are 7 easy ways to cut costs while traveling:
- Keep Your Schedule Flexible
If you’re able to be flexible with your travel dates, you should be able to reduce travel costs significantly. Traveling on the off season is the easiest way to ensure that your airfare, lodging, and other common travel expenses are as low as possible—especially if you’re traveling with a family. A general rule of thumb is that mid-week days are going to be better than weekends.
If you do need to travel during peak travel times, make sure you book your accommodations well in advance, as prices tend to rise the longer you wait. Use a service such as Google Flights to search for the lowest rates, and turn on notifications so you can follow price changes and purchase your tickets when the price drops.
Pro Tip: Sometimes booking two one-way flights is cheaper than booking one round-trip flight.
- Carpool with Other Travelers
Of course, the best way to save money on plane tickets is not to fly at all! Loading up a van with fellow adventurers is a classic way to travel, as it’s fun and extremely cheap. For example, a van rental in Los Angeles is surprisingly affordable, especially when you split the cost among a group of people. Of course, this money saver won’t work if you’re traveling overseas, but it’s a fantastic way to travel locally, and the cost and comradery simply can’t be beat.
- Stay at a B&B
You’re going to need somewhere to hang your hat at night. If you don’t have friends or family in the area, that usually means staying at a hotel. These days, booking a stay at a private residence is incredibly easy and quite affordable. Skip the chain hotels, and look for something on Airbnb or Flipkey. Not only will you usually get a much lower rate, but often the experience is more unique and enjoyable.
- Pack a Lunch
Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, eating out for every meal adds up fast. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in local cuisine on occasion, it’s always smart to make a trip to the grocery store as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Before you go out exploring for the day, pack a bag with non-perishable snacks that you can use to curb cravings while you’re out and about. If possible, head back to your lodging to eat meals. If you do need to eat at restaurants, ask the locals where the best deals are. Often that hole-in-the-wall restaurant you would otherwise walk right by has amazing food and low prices.
- Take the Road Less Traveled
If you want to satiate your wanderlust on the cheap, you may want to travel to a budget-friendly destination. Paris or NYC may have a lot to offer, but you’re going to pay for it. Here are some of the best budget-friendly places to travel overseas, as of 2017, according to Forbes:
- Northern Vietnam
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
- Lisbon Portugal
- Seoul, South Korea
- Bucharest, Romania
- Cape Point, South Africa
- Crete, Greece
- Palawan, The Philippines
- Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia
- Porto, Portugal
- Seek out Free Tours
Most major cities have free walking tours that show you all of the popular tourist hotspots and local culture. Instead of shelling out your cash for the major attractions, look for the freebies, or at least the lesser known tours. For example, according to Time, Big Apple Greeters is a free visitor welcome service. Seek out similar options in the city of your choice, and you’ll get to meet some friendly people while exploring the city. Win-win!
- Connect with the Community
Social media makes connecting with new friends easy. If you don’t know anyone where you’re traveling, try asking your friends to put you in touch with their friends/family in the area. It never hurts to ask, and making new friends is one of the most rewarding aspects of traveling. You can also join local Facebook groups, forums, and other social websites and meet people that way.
Start Planning Now
Even if you don’t have any specific plans on the horizon, why not start a travel savings account now? When you have some extra money, deposit it and forget about it. When that travel bug bites next, you’ll have the money to make your next adventure possible. Be frugal throughout your normal day-to-day life, and you’ll have more to spend when you’re on the road.
Post written by our freelance travel writer friend, Gallard Joaquin.
You can reach him at: email@example.com