Little Known Ways to Save Money While Traveling
Everyone loves saving money, but sometimes spending it can be a little more fun. Traveling is never cheap, but with the right budget and strategy, you can bring your overall cost down and save money while remaining within your budget. Here are little-known ways to help you save money while traveling.
Do Your Homework
Before you travel, make sure you understand the costs you’ll be confronted with when you arrive. Gas prices, food prices, and more will all depend on your location. By doing your homework, you can also find the best hotel to stay in, which will help you determine what you can afford based on your budget.
If you don’t have a budget, you can create one during this initial homework phase. Before you book your plane ticket or your hotel room, write down all of your expected expenses and find the average cost of them in the area you’ll be traveling. If you do not have life insurance and are in debt, not having a budget or a plan is one of the worst money mistakes you can make.
Partake in Free Activities
If you research your travels, you may be able to find free activities in the area. Go online and check out community calendars to see what’s going on in each town you visit. If you’re somewhere you’ve never been, you may find that taking a simple stroll around town is a fun activity for after dinner.
Stay in a Place with a Kitchen
While very few people enjoy cooking while they’re on vacation, you can save tons of money by not eating out every single night. Instead, book a room that has a refrigerator and kitchen area so you can at least cook some of your meals. You can choose to eat out once a day while still finding ways to make your meals or visit the local grocery store to find ready-to-go meals that are much cheaper.
You can also choose to rent an apartment if you’ll be staying for a while. This will allow you the same comforts of being at home but may be less expensive than booking a hotel suite for months at a time. Before you do this, though, make sure you add up the costs so you can determine if this is the right financial choice.
Understand Transport Costs
Before you book your room, make sure you understand what type of transportation you’ll need to get around. For example, if you book a room because it’s cheap, the odds are you’ll be staying far away from all of the action and need to purchase a car to get around and insurance to cover any accidents. However, if you stay in a city, you can save money on transportation and explore the town on foot, on a bike, or using public transportation.
Carry Snacks and Water
When you’re out on the town, make sure you have snacks and drinks with you so you don’t have to stop in a store and pay more for food or water. Instead, put granola bars and small water bottles in a bag and bring them with you so you don’t have to overpay.
Use Your Points
If your credit card offers you points, your vacation is the best time to use them so you can save money. You can also use points you’ve accumulated from chain hotels and get a free overnight stay or two. When you travel, try to stay at hotels and fly airlines that can help you build points so you can use them on your next vacation.
Go During the Off-Season
Plane tickets and hotel rooms are cheaper when you travel off-season. They likely have more availability which means more options. Not only that, but it can help you avoid large crowds at attractions you want to visit.
Of course, you should always take home one souvenir so you can remember your travels, but instead of bringing back a whole shop, take photos instead. Photos are free, and you can have them printed on a canvas or poster for a cheaper price once you return home.
Consider the things you buy when you travel. If you have a lot of small trinkets that seem to be collecting dust and cluttering up your home, then you likely didn’t need to purchase them in the first place. If you want to purchase something for someone else, you can, but small trinkets typically end up on dusty shelves in other people’s homes, as well. Try searching for items they could be using every day like shirts, hats, glasses, or keychains.
Connect With Locals
If you want to find cheap things to do in a cool city, connect with locals who know every great thing about where you are. Locals can tell you where the best non-touristy areas are and help you find local activities that cost less than tourist attractions.
Use Credit Cards
Using credit cards when traveling is safer than using cash, but it also allows you to get the best foreign exchange rates while building points and miles. Check your credit card details to find out if there are any foreign transaction fees so you can avoid them when you travel.
Using a credit card also allows you to track your spending better so you know everything you’ve spent money on so far and can make changes to your plans and the budget each morning you wake up. Also, if your credit card is stolen, you don’t lose any money when you’re traveling as long as you immediately report it.
Get Travel Insurance
To truly save money, you need to be prepared for anything from theft to your trip getting canceled. Travel insurance can help you avoid losing unnecessary money. For example, if your trip is canceled, you will be able to get a refund on your tickets rather than having to pay for tickets you won’t use. Similarly, if your money is stolen, you’ll get reimbursed rather than losing hundreds of dollars on your next adventure.