5 Ways to Save Money When Traveling


5 Ways to Save Money When Traveling

Travel can sooth the soul, open ones' eyes to a new culture or way of life, and create memories and experiences that last a lifetime. Even so, many people think that travel is expensive and out of reach. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive to be memorable. There are many things you can do to save money while traveling and bring down the overall cost of your trip; without jeopardizing the experience. Here are 5 great ways to save money while traveling.


1. Be Flexible

Being able to be flexible is by far the most important factor when you are trying to save money while traveling. Being flexible crosses all areas of traveling, from preparation and planning to in travel changes.


Planning and preparation for a trip is great, but things will happen along the way, and you need to be flexible to changes and be able to go with the flow. Don’t feel like your trip needs to be perfect. Often, it is when things don’t go exactly as planned that you have the best or most memorable experiences when traveling.


2. Travel Like a Local


Traveling like a local is by far the easiest way to save money when traveling. This can range anywhere from accommodations to food and even transportation. When it comes to hotels, I always stay in cheaper hotels. I don’t need all the lavish furnishings when traveling because I am only in the hotel to sleep. Cheap hotels are just as safe as the more expensive ones, they have a comfy bed, and a clean shower; what else do you need. Guesthouses and homestays are also a great option and I highly recommend them. These are usually fairly cheap, but they also come with the added experience of staying in a more traditional home and conversing with the family that owns it. If neither of these options are within your comfort zone, then an Airbnb is also worth looking into. Getting an Airbnb can be a mixed bag when it comes to price, but what you get is the option to cook your own food. When I travel, I really enjoy eating local food, but cooking your own dinners can save you a lot of money.


Food costs add up quickly and can easily be a substantial portion of your travel budget. To save on food costs it is best to stay away from eating in the touristy areas. A general guideline to follow is, if you see a lot of other tourists at a restaurant, keep walking to another place. Eating where the locals eat will not only save you money, but the food is often far better as well. I highly suggest going a step further and eating at street food vendors. This is by far the cheapest option and, in my opinion, also the best tasting.


Lastly, transportation around and between towns can get costly as well. Although renting a car is often the most time sensitive option, it can get very expensive. Tourist buses, tours, and even taxis can be expensive and add up quickly if you do them a lot. The best way to save money in the transportation sector is to travel on public transportation. Often the local buses are very efficient and with just a little investigative work you can easily navigate the system.


3. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons


Traveling during off-peak seasons can save you a lot of money. Off-peak seasons mean low demand on the travel industry which can bring prices down. Plane tickets, hotels, and rental car prices can be a lot cheaper when the demand is low; even some tours and excursions can have deals during off seasons. Most travel location seasons follow school calendars, so if you want the best deals, travel when students are in school. This means not traveling during the summer or holidays. Even traveling during the week instead of weekends can see lower prices. If you really want to save money, travel to locations on the complete opposite of their peak-season; think hiking a ski mountain in the summer or visiting a tropical island in the winter.


3. Buy Airfare ‘Early’


Buy your tickets early, but not too early. The airline industry publishes their travel dates and fares early in the year, but the fares are speculation and almost always drop as the date gets closer. Due to this, you should never buy your plane tickets further than 3 months out. The best time to buy your tickets is in the 2 – 1 month range before your flight date. Once the date gets within one month the flight prices begin to increase with demand. It is true that you can sometimes find great fares last minute, but you are more likely to find yourself with an exorbitantly expensive ticket or without a ticket at all.


4. Mind the Fees and Extras


When you’re traveling, every little thing adds up. Small fees might not seem like a lot at the time, but by the end of your trip they can make up a good chunk of your budget. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid many of them. When it comes to fees, we usually think of credit card and ATM fees. Before you travel, make sure that your credit card doesn’t have exchange fees. Likewise, see if your bank will refund ATM fees or if they have a friendly ATM in the location you are going. There are many countries where many of the services are cash only and ATM fees can add up quickly.


Extra fees on budget airlines can get expensive as well. Many have great rates but will charge you to check a bag, so try to pack lighter than you normally would. You really don’t need as many clothes to travel as you think you do. If you plan to rent a car, check to see if your credit card covers the rental insurance. Many do and the avoidance of that extra fee will save you a lot.


Lastly, bring a refillable water bottle when you travel. It might not seem like a big deal to buy a cheap water at meals or when you get thirsty, but you drink a lot of water. Taking a refillable water bottle will allow you to save on buying multiple bottles of water a day and the savings will add up quick.


5. Get Off the Beaten Path


Some of my most memorable experience has been when I have ventured of the beaten tourist path. Not only is it more memorable, but it can be much cheaper as well. This could mean anything from eating street food or at local restaurants to seeing sites not visited by most tourists. Try visiting sites that don’t have a cost to tour them or investigate a different way to visit a location than through a paid tour. Try camping in dispersed camping areas rather than paying to camp in a park. Be adventurous, make your own path, create an experience for yourself.


 What are some ways that you have saved money while traveling?


5 Ways to Save Money When Traveling

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