15 Ways to Save Money
While Traveling

Debt Snowball

Nick
Carroll

Payoff debt the smart way

Source: Wix Photo Gallery

June 9, 2019

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Summer is here and who doesn't like to save money?  Whether it's a road trip or flying coach, traveling can hit your budget hard if you aren't planning smartly, but with a well-thought-out strategy, you can reign in high expenses.   

In this article, you will discover 19 ways to save money this summer while traveling.  

1. Visit Free Museums. 

Plan a visit to Washington, D.C., and you will find a plethora of museums, exhibits, and performances that won't cost you a dime.  Some examples of free museums include Art Museums (National Gallery of Art and Dumbarton Oaks Museum), Botanical Gardens and Zoos (National Arboretum and National Zoo), and Cultural and History Museums (African American Civil War and Air & Space Museum).  

Planning an event to local museums will require some planning on your part, but with the web, you can easily find resources to help you, even in your local area.   Check out https://freetoursbyfoot.com and Instagram.  Instagram may feel odd initially, but it is a terrific way to get real value from the locals.  Search key hashtags and find people who either live or recently visited the area and ask them about their trip.  Some things to ask may include upcoming events or the best times to travel in the city, affordable options for dining, or eating healthy.  

When it comes to transportation, public transportation in our nation's capital is very accessible and affordable.  Not every city has this option so Lyft and Uber may be options for short-term stays, but other affordable options to consider are renting a car via rental car companies or TuroTuro is like Airbnb, but for automobiles and comes fully insured.  Through my links you'll receive a $25 credit on your first trip.

2. Have Flexible Travel Dates. 

Use technology to your advantage.  Booking sites now allow you to view prices for every day of the week, allowing you to customize your flight itinerary and pick the cheapest dates to fly.  Using flight booking engines such as Skyscanner, Kayak, and Vayama, you can choose your own departure and return dates based on your budget.

If you aren't sure what these companies offer, then here are the cliff notes.  Skyscanner benefits travelers by allowing instant comparisons among competitors for thousands of flights.


Kayak allows you to review hundreds of sites at once.


Vayama helps you search online for affordable international flights.

Another tip is to consider booking your travel on midweek days such as Tuesdays or Wednesdays when flights are typically cheapest.

 

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3.  Compare Prices. 

Prices vary significantly when it comes to booking hotel rooms.  There are moments when hotel prices are lower when using a search engine app like IHG or Hotels.com.  Other times, it is cheaper by up to 40% by calling and reserving a room directly through that hotel chain.  I recommend you research both and before you book your hotel room, compare both options, and choose the best deal of the two.

4.  Rent a House or Apartment. 

Sometimes you and your family need more space rather than booking a hotel room.  Reserving a place to rest through Airbnb can be a terrific option.  Reserving a night in Joshua Tree is currently renting for $96/night compared to hotel rates of $119/night (19% savings) as of the writing of this article.

That difference alone already pays for that day's breakfast. 

Source: Wix Photo Gallery

5.  Don't Stay in the City. 

One of the most challenging challenges of traveling is knowing where to go once you're in the area.  With this lack of knowledge, your wallet can take a pounding because it is usually more expensive, staying in some regions of the city.  

While you may justify it by staying close to certain areas, a more affordable option is to look for areas from 10-15 minutes outside the city.  You will notice the prices drop instantly and if you are concerned about transportation, we've already covered how to get around using the services mentioned above.  

With that said, if you plan to walk everywhere, then picking a location near certain events and places may actually be ideal for you.  It is recommended you perform a cost analysis of the difference between renting a car and staying outside the city compared to walking and booking a room in a critical location nearby.

6.  Use Reward Points. 

Whether it is credit card rewards or hotel reward points, these perks can afford you a free night stay or deliver a room upgrade.  With Hotels.com, you get a free night for every 10 bookings you reserve with the company.  

I am not an expert on points and rewards by any means; however, I recommend you read directly from the pro: The Points Guy.  The CEO, Brian Kelly, has launched a successful blog helping readers how to navigate the points game used by credit card companies, and he teaches you how to benefit from it.

7.  Try Offseason Travel. 

There is a reason you find terrific prices for cruises during odd times of the year; however, you may be amazed that traveling to locations around the globe are significantly cheaper during the off-season.  

Not only will you save money, but you will find the areas are less crowded and most venues are more affordable as well.   This can give you a chance to learn more about the culture as locals are vying for your business and will likely be more helpful.

Source: Wix Photo Gallery

8.  Bring Snacks. 

When prices of gum cost three dollars at an airport compared to less than a dollar at Wal-Mart, you need to train your brain not to justify paying three times more for certain items just because of convenience.  Even the movie theatres have a high-profit margin selling candy at five dollars when it cost them about fifty cents to buy wholesale.  

When traveling, carry several healthy snacks with you to help fight the urge.  As humans, we tend to splurge when we aren't thinking straight, and when our blood sugar decreases, we buy on impulse.  Carrying snacks in your bag or purse can easily save you ten dollars per day, if not more.  


9.  Lunch Specials. 

After transportation, food is typically the next most expensive expenditure on your budget.  With so many activities and sites to see during the day, most families splurge on dinner as they prepare to slow it down for the evening.  

Instead, plan meals around lunch.  Most restaurants offer lunch specials at a fraction of the cost for dinner.  By using lunch as the bigger meal for the day and then picking a simple meal to eat at dinner, your bank account will thank you.

10.  Eat Away from Tourist Locations. 

Since we are exploring food options, consider picking meal locations away from key tourist areas.  You will typically see an inflated charge by at least 20% when dining at these locations close to tourist attractions compared to driving at least five minutes away.  

11.  Avoid Expensive Souvenirs. 

Are you already a hoarder or collect junk you don't need?  Rather than buy souvenirs you may never see again, or that goes into the attic, just take a lot of pictures and create memories.

12.  Limit Your Vices. 

Whether it is coffee or beer, these expenses can impact your traveling funds if you're not careful.   I love local coffee shops, and when I plan my travels, I set a daily limit of five dollars for coffee.  Once I reach that limit, I forcibly cut myself off until the following day.  It is with this discipline and mindset that keeps me from overspending; yet, allows me to indulge in things I enjoy.

13.  Cut Out Unnecessary Spending. 

Be cautious about what you are spending your money on every day.  Are you buying new clothes when you are vacationing?  If so, do you really need that outfit?  Are you buying magazines for the plane ride?  Can you view these on your Kindle or iPad for free?  Take note of where you can cut such expenses and then take action.  

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14.  Rent Your House. 

Earlier, we mentioned using Airbnb or renting an apartment or house for your vacation stay.  To help recoup your travel expenses, have you considered renting out your home while you are away?  It is a great option to find that may help offset from $100 per night in expenses plus Airbnb fully covers your home from damages.

15.  Budget Planning. 

You must track your money while vacationing.  When setting a daily budget, determine if you are exceeding your daily budget limit and cut expenses the following day if you are.  Money isn't going to appear in your bank account magically.  By managing your costs on your trip, this is how you keep funds in your account so you can continue to enjoy your vacation. 

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