Traveling is, for many people, a luxury that requires quite a bit of saving up beforehand. However, there are some secrets that seasoned travelers swear by when it comes to saving money, and they’re things anyone can do.
As long as you are organized and have a well thought-out plan, traveling can be attainable for you, too. Here are some of the best tips on how to save money and see all the places you’ve ever wanted to see.
Do some research
Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, it’s important to sit down and do some research on the area. What restaurants are available? Many establishments offer menus and pricing on their websites, so take advantage of it and map out a food plan. If you’ll be visiting museums, theme parks, or tourist locales, see if you can find a Groupon or other online deal for particular days and plan your visit around it. Having a plan before you leave will help immensely once you arrive.
Depending on where you go, making reservations for a hotel room or other accommodations may be easier on your wallet if you do it early. If your destination offers seasonal attractions that aren’t that important to you, travel during the least-busy time of year and save money.
If you’re headed to the beach or an area where you can rent a room, cabin, or condo, it may be much cheaper in the long run than plunking down cash for a hotel room. Airbnb is a great alternative, and the bonus is that you can cook meals for yourself rather than eating out.
Pack like you normally would, then take a good hard look at your bag and decide what you can afford to live without on your trip. It’s easy to overpack on the off-chance that you’ll need something later, but editing now can save you big bucks at the ticket counter. Many airlines charge extra for checked bags–up to $50–so if you can fit everything into a decently sized carry-on, do it. Your wallet will thank you later.
Fly during off-times
It’s usually cheaper to fly on a weekday than on a weekend, so plan to leave on a Tuesday or Wednesday when you can save the most money.
You might be tempted to head to the airport closest to you, but there might be one in a neighboring town offering a cheaper flight out. Do some research before you commit to booking; it might mean a little extra planning, but every little bit helps.
It pays to be flexible. If you volunteer to be bumped from a flight that is too full, the airline will give you a voucher worth $200-$800, which can be used anytime during the year and can save you quite a bit when you’re ready to travel again. One man has flown around the world using vouchers and says he racks up frequent flier miles, as well.
Bonus: the vouchers can sometimes be used for hotel rooms, too.
Buy some good walking shoes
Consider your destination; is it possible to walk everywhere? You’ll save a ton of money by not paying for taxis or shuttle services, so lace up your walking shoes and get movin’.
Buy light lunches
If you’ll be visiting a few places during your stay, consider going grocery shopping once you get there for fruit and sandwich makings, and pack your lunch rather than buying it every day. This way, you can find a bench or spot in the park to sit and enjoy your meal in the outdoors.