Travel often seems to be an unattainable goal. We always say that we’re going to leave home, explore the world, and have adventures. But when it comes down to it, many of us never travel. Or if we do, we do it rarely. The biggest reason for this is because traveling is perceived as an incredibly expensive activity. A luxury. But… it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips that can save you thousands when you’re traveling.
Travel during the off-season
Probably the easiest way to cut down on costs when you’re traveling, is to travel when no one else is. During the peak season, generally over the summer, flights are more expensive, hotels are more expensive, and even some attractions will have higher prices because they’re busier and have raised their prices to keep up with the demand.
Not only will everything be less expensive, but your travel destination will probably be less crowded, giving you the chance to explore without feeling rushed by all of the tourists around you.
Use a travel rewards card
By using points based rewards credit card, you can often get discounts on flights or hotels, but you can also gain points towards future trips and excursions. Make you sure you select a card with good benefits that fits your needs, and also doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. Evaluate your credit cards carefully. A lot of people are great at gaming the system and getting maximum rewards for minimal benefits, even opening a lot of accounts. However, as this article states, if extra credit cards are complicating your life and stacking up fees, they’re really not worth it.
Use less popular airlines
This is an especially helpful tip if you’re only traveling across one region. For example, there are discount airlines within the continental United States that would be cheaper than taking a more commercial airline. The same goes with European and Asian airlines. If you’re traveling to Paris, for example, don’t search for just a round trip ticket from your hometown to Paris. You can probably get a cheap national flight to NYC, and then a ticket from there to Paris, and it will end up costing much less than one ticket. The only downside to this is having to change planes often. But if it’s worth it to you to save a few hundred dollars, it’s best to go this unconventional route.
Explore options besides hotels
Airbnb, couch surfing, or hostels, are a great alternative to hotels. They’re less expensive, and in the case of an Airbnb, usually gives you more privacy. In addition, you also get to feel like you’re really living there, rather than just visiting. It gives you the opportunity to explore the neighborhood that you’re staying in, rather than just the busy area where a hotel would normally be located. You can usually save a bulk of your travel expenses just by switching to a non-traditional hotel option.
Set a daily budget
Just because you’re on vacation, which in itself is a splurge, doesn’t mean that you should blow all of your savings just because you have the opportunity presented to you. Before leaving your hotel every morning, only bring enough money with you to do the things you’ve planned. Whether this includes specific attractions (you can generally look up the exact prices online) or just money for food, don’t bring too much extra. This way you won’t be tempted to do extra things when you really can’t afford it. If you see something that you really want to do, but don’t have the budget for it that day, come back and do it another day, when you can plan for it. This also gives you a chance to think about whether or not you actually really want to do it, or if it just sounded like fun during the spur of the moment.
Bring a friend
Most people prefer to not travel alone. Besides this being great because it gives you someone to enjoy these new experiences with, it also gives you the chance to split the cost. With the cost of your hotel cut in half, you’ll be saving half of that money, that can be used on additional attractions, additional nights, or just saved for a future trip. Although you won’t really save any money on food or airline tickets, the money you’ll save on your sleeping accommodations is a good enough reason to invite a friend to tag along.
Traveling doesn’t have to be unattainable! Even with a very small budget, it can be done, with careful planning. Don’t let your financial situation hold you back.
Aurora McCausland is a professional writer and blogger enjoying life in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although she spends the majority of her time writing, when she’s not, you can find her cuddling her dog, hiking with her husband, or trying to find the perfect coffee shop. You can see more of her writing on her website www.auroramccausland.com or check her out on Instagram, @auroramccausland.
By Aurora M.