If you cut down the cost of travel, you’ll have more to spend on traveling! Here are a few tips to help stretch your dollars to the max.
1. Pack Light
Limiting your luggage to a carryon means you won’t ever have to pay extra to check a bag. It also means that there’s no chance of your luggage getting lost during travel.
2. Sign Up for Rewards Programs
These days, nearly every hotel has a free rewards program that allows fro a free or discounted night after a certain number of stays. Pay attention to which ones you’ve used so you can take advantage of the benefits.
3. Use Miles
I’ve booked flights all over the US, including Hawaii, and my upcoming trip to Guatemala, with miles I earned through credit cards. If you don’t already have a travel credit card, get one. You can earn points or miles through daily spending and book flights and/or hotel rooms depending on the card. Take a look at The Points Guy for help deciding which card is best for the kind of travel you’re interested in.
4. Search Google Flights
Whenever I’m ready to book a flight, I go straight to Google Flights so I can play around with which date/time combo is the most cost effective. Google Flights will also recommend nearby airports that can significantly change the
5. Set Flight Alerts
If you have a date and location in mind, you can set flight alerts on most flight search engines that will notify you anytime the price goes up or down.
6. Subscribe to Flight Deal Notifications
Websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights track flights all day long and send out notifications when a great deal comes up. A friend of mine got booked round trip flights from New York to Sri Lanka for $275 thanks to one of those emails!
7. Attend Travel Shows
There are some great discounts and loads of information to be found at travel shows. If you are in New York, check out the New York Times Travel Show in Manhattan every January. Otherwise, Travel & Adventure hosts shows in major cities around the country.
8. Bring a Friend
Traveling with a friend lets you split the cost of hotel rooms and cab rides.
9. Travel During the Off Season
Stay clear of travel during spring break, summer vacation and major holidays. Not only will your trip be less expensive, it will also be less crowded.
10. Stay in Hostels
Americans aren’t all that familiar with hostels, so the sound of staying in a dorm with strangers can sound both dangerous and unsanitary. It does take some getting used to, but they are a great way to save money and meet people. Most of your roommates will be harmless travelers just like you and most rooms have lockers, so you don’t have to worry about your things getting stolen while you are out exploring. If you are completely against the idea of sharing a room with strangers, many hostels offer single rooms that cost a bit more, but are still significantly less expensive than a hotel. I’ve stayed in hostels all over the world and have never had a bad experience. You can go to Hostel World to see pictures and reviews of hostels around the globe and book yours in advance.
11. Cook more
If you’re in Southeast Asia, you’ll find incredible meals for a few dollars, but if you’re in Europe, you can expect to throw down a pretty penny for restaurant meals. Cooking is easier if you’re staying in an AirBnB or a hostel with a kitchen, but even picking up no cook foods or microwave meals from the grocery store can save a ton of money. In some places, however, you can get
12. Drink Less
Cutting down on drinks, especially alcohol, can dramatically decrease your spending. Water is almost always the cheapest option, and you probably need to drink more anyway.
13. Purchase Travel Insurance
I’ve never actually had to use my travel insurance, but I know plenty of people who have. While on the Everest Base Camp Trek, a girl in my group had to be helicoptered out of the Himalayas. As you can imagine, that is not a cheap pickup. Fortunately, she had travel insurance, so it was completely covered.
14. Travel Overnight
Night buses, trains and ferries are great options for getting to the next city on your itinerary. By traveling overnight, you can avoid wasting valuable daylight and eliminate the cost of a hotel room.
15. Visit Friends or Family Abroad
It seems so obvious, but one of the easiest ways to save money while traveling is to go somewhere that you know people. A local will keep you from blowing a ton of coin on tourist traps by taking you to the secret spots. They may even let you stay with them and feed you once or twice!
What are your favorite money saving travel tips? Let me know in the comments!