It’s no secret that I love to travel. I typically spend at least 50-60 days traveling each year and it’s not uncommon for me to be away from home over 100 days in a given year. With that being said, I’ve learned how to save money when I’m on the road (or on a plane or on a boat).
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, your next trip doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Regardless of your current financial situation, it’s wise to plan ahead so your travel adventures don’t derail your budget.
According to Bankrate.com, one of the most common areas that folks exceed their budgets is excessive spending on vacations and other forms of travel!
The good news is that there are several ways you can reduce your travel costs, whether you’re traveling around the world or just taking a quick trip to a nearby city!
Follow these steps to reduce your travel expenses:
1. Book early.
You can save a lot on the cost of your tickets and reservations by booking well in advance. Early planners also grab the best hotel and transportation deals by booking way ahead of time.
* It’s not uncommon to save 50% or more on the cost of your airline ticket if you can make your reservations 6 months in advance of your trip.
* You can save even more on your airline costs by using nearby regional airports rather than flying directly into a large city.
* If you’re required to travel on short notice, seek out the services of a travel club or online travel site that offers price comparisons, discounts for bundles, and special rates for members.
* If you’re traveling internationally, use the train or bus to save big. Go directly to the provider’s website at least 2 to 3 weeks in advance to save up to 50% on train and bus tickets. Also, make sure to check out these tips for Traveling Internationally with Kids.
* If you’re planning to make stops in several international cities, consider buying a rail pass for your entire route for additional savings.
* If you plan to attend a concert or theater event, get your tickets online rather than waiting. Online coupons and discounts can help you save up to 45% off the price you would pay at the box office.
2. Travel during the off season.
Hotels, hostels, and resorts offer steep discounts to travelers who visit during a specific location’s “off season.”
* Most hotels and resorts offer lower rates for rooms booked for Sunday through Wednesday nights, rather than the weekend.
3. Be selective when deciding which activities you want to do on your trip.
It’s easy to fall for local “tourist traps” when you’re on a vacation in an unfamiliar location. Entrance fees and other charges quickly add up.
* If there are attractions that you’d really like to visit on your trip, check out Groupon or Living Social look for free ways to enjoy the destination. A great way to enjoy a site for free is to picnic and play on the grounds outside rather than paying entrance fees to take an inside tour.
* Reducing the number of locations that you explore on your trip will help you preserve your energy levels as well as your wallet!
4. Buy groceries rather than dine out.
Shop at a local grocery store to provide some of your meals and snacks each day.
* Many hotels offer their guests complimentary breakfasts during their stay. Be sure to take advantage of this deal if it’s offered!
* When dining out, do so during lunch hours to receive special offers and discounts. It’s unnecessary to go into debt or exhaust your life’s savings just to have a good time when you travel. These simple, money-saving tricks will help you stick to your budget, even when you’re on vacation!
I know I said 4 Easy Ways to Travel, but I’m throwing in an extra one for free! Make sure you pack everything you need. It can get expensive to buy the things you forgot to pack! If you struggle with what to pack for a trip, you’ll want this FREE Printable Packing List!