Vacations are nice, and everyone should have one once in a while to rest and recuperate. However, it can get expensive, and it can be easy to spend a lot when you’re out there on the road. The smaller expenses, like eating out, souvenir shopping, and buying beverages such as coffee every day can really add up.
However, there is a way to travel without spending much, and all you need is a bit of planning and conscious decisions. A dollar saved is a dollar earned, so why spend more if you don’t have to.
If you’re curious, read on to find out how to save money while traveling.
Prioritize Free Activities
People often travel abroad or to far-flung places because of a popular tourist attraction, and it may cost a lot of money especially if it has entrance fees. Places like theme parks and aquariums and guided tours of exclusive places are fun, but those can be heavy on your pocket.
The smart thing to do when you get to splurge to get in those places is to stay there the whole day, and more often than not, outside food and drinks are not allowed, which means you have to buy from there at ridiculously marked-up prices.
This is not to say that you should forgo going to popular destinations just so you can save money. You definitely should enjoy yourself as much as you can, but if you have a lot of days left for traveling and not a lot of money, try looking for free activities in the area.
A little bit of research will tell you what places and/or activities are free and sometimes when there are discounted entrance fees to popular sites.
Frequent-flyer memberships help.
If you frequently travel, it is a good idea to join frequent-flyer clubs. Join as early as you can because it may take a bit of time to earn points. Once you do, you can score cheaper fares, have access to flash deals, get upgrades, and maybe even win tickets. You can choose to either use your points to offset your travel bills every time you fly or save them all up for that one big trip on your bucket list.
Over-packing is one of the most common mistakes when traveling. If you want to save money, pack light. Bringing fewer things means you only have a carry-on luggage you can tout with you, and that means you don’t have to pay to check in your bags.
If you’re only going away for a few days, a weekend bag is the perfect travel buddy for you because it is compact but spacious enough to accommodate your belongings.
Once you’ve mastered the art of packing light, you will find that you have trained yourself to pack only the most essential of things. When you don’t bring as much stuff you think you can possibly need, it becomes less likely for you to lug useless items around with you through airports, cabs, sidewalks, and train stations.
Furthermore, if you ever have forgotten something, chances are you can buy them for cheap at your destination, with some exceptions, in case you’re traveling to an expensive city.
Book in places with kitchen areas.
Cooking while you’re on a vacation is not a lot of fun, but if you want to save money, you can take advantage of booking in places where there is a common kitchen area. Hostels and other inns often have this option, and they are, by far, cheaper than most hotels because hotels may charge more for their meals.
Furthermore, you may meet and interact with more people when you book in places with common areas, and you may even find a new friend or companions to make your stay a little less lonely especially if you’re traveling alone.
Bring canteens and snacks
If you plan to explore outdoors or go from location to location to tour, it is a good idea to bring your own water bottle and some snacks just in case you get hungry or thirsty. You can throw in some power bars to help if you need more energy. It can be very easy to spend a lot on bottled water and little snacks all the time out of bodily necessity, so it is recommended to bring your own instead.
If applicable and doable, travel during off-season to save expenses, especially on hotels and fares. When you go against the grain by traveling on nonpeak times, there is more availability for everything.
Furthermore, you won’t have to deal with large crowds and contending with others for a lot of stuff, like waiting in line for admission. You only have to make sure that the places you intend to go to are open during that season.
Before you go…
The things mentioned above barely scratch the surface. There are so many ways you can save money while traveling. Remember that traveling shouldn’t have to be expensive unless you want it to be. Researching and planning should be at the forefront of any trip on a budget.
Do you have favorite money-saving tips you want to share? Share your thoughts in the comments section.