Anyone who has been around here for awhile knows how much Dane and I love to travel. Big trips, small trips – any kind of trips, to be honest! Of course, there are places we have gone, loved and have re-visited and also places we went once, were happy to enjoy the experience, but won’t make plans to return. I think it’s true what they say about travel – leaving parts of your heart all around the world and learning so much about yourself and other cultures in the process. Though I love luxury trips from time to time, there’s a lot to be said about being able to travel on a budget and still have a completely amazing time. Once you have your flights booked (tips for saving money on airfare here and here), there are still ways save! Today I’m sharing 10 ways to save money while traveling, so if vacations are your love language, today’s post is for you 🙂
1. Use your age and job. When booking rental cars or activities, ask about student, military or senior discounts. Sometimes companies offer teacher discounts, too!
2. Book an apartment or private home. Particularly if you are planning to visit a larger city, booking a private residence can easily save you hundreds per night. Dane and I use HomeAway, because it offers more than 2 million unique listings worldwide. And aside from getting more room than you might in a hotel, you also get a more authentic travel experience in your destination. We used HomeAway for our trip to Scottsdale over New Year’s and booked again for our trip to Italy this spring! While Dane and I normally tend to lean toward hotels when we travel just the two of us, we were shocked at how expensive hotels in Venice, Florence + Rome were over our travel dates (we’re talking up to $600/night). By booking through HomeAway, we saved almost $4,000!
3. Use those legs! If you’re visiting a walkable city, save money by nixing the rental car. Aside from saving money on the cost of actually renting the car, you’ll also save on gas and parking fees! Plus, discovering a new city on foot like a local or taking a city bus or bike often leads to fun activities you might not have found otherwise.
4. Travel at night. If you plan on moving to different places in a single trip, try to book plane or train tickets overnight. Redeye flights and overnight trains are often cheaper and you’ll save money by avoiding an additional night in a hotel, hostel or private home rental.
5. Utilize credit card rewards. One of the best things Dane and I ever did was decide which credit card offered the best rewards for our lifestyle. We ultimately landed on the Chase Blue Sapphire Preferred (use my link for a huge sign-up bonus if you’re interested!), because the rewards are incredible for people who love to travel + eat out…two of our favorite activities. We’ve cashed in points for free airfare, gift cards, cash bonuses and more.
5.1 And speaking of credit cards – if you’re traveling to a foreign country, use it as much as you can. The exchange rates for converting currency can be high and finding a good place to exchange can be tricky. When using your credit card in a new country, always be sure to pay in that country’s currency to avoid a dynamic currency conversion (this article from The Points Guy is a great breakdown) and make sure your credit card doesn’t charge an FX, or foreign transaction, fee.
6. Choose to eat only one big meal out. Eating out can get expensive and the longer your trip is, the more money you’re going to spend on food. Typically, Dane and I will choose one big meal of the day to eat out (lunch or dinner) and the rest are quick street eats or snacks. We’ve also learned that hotel breakfasts (when not included) are often super expensive, even though they can be more convenient.
7. And speaking of food – follow the six block rule when you can. There’s a theory among travelers that eateries and shops within 6 blocks of a popular tourist site (think The Louvre, David and others) gouge you in price and deliver half the quality. Venture further from popular places for better food and prices!
8. Ask the locals. When in doubt, ask around for what the prices of activities, food and souvenirs *should* cost to someone who is from the area. You’ll find that locals are the best source for finding delicious local eateries, unique souvenir finds and sometimes – they may even offer to show you around themselves!
9. Nix the cell plan. While it might give you some semblance of comfort to be able to use your cell phone while traveling, if you only plan to keep in touch with friends and family back home, skip the international plan. Communicate on social networks when you pick up a wifi signal, or use apps like Viber and WhatsApp that don’t cost a fee!
10. Plan ahead for hunger and temperatures. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable in a place that is new to you. We always pack snacks to avoid hanger and spending a load of money on food to squash a craving (read more about my favorite travel snacks) and pack in layers to avoid needing to pick up a sweatshirt or tank top if temperatures surprise us.If you liked this post, you might enjoy: