21 Helpful Money Saving Tips for Travelers
People with a lot of resources don't mind overspending on travel rather than putting a little effort into saving money. The rest of us who can't afford that need to be smart about our travel choices. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to save hundreds and even thousands of dollars while traveling. We’ve compiled a list of 21 money saving tips for travelers that are well worth your time:
- Avoid Weekend Travel - You’ll generally save yourself time, money and headaches if you try to do the bulk of your traveling during the week, and not the weekend.
- Travel in The Off-Season - Traveling during your destination’s peak season follows the same basic principle as traveling on the weekend, avoid it when you can. If you do travel during the peak season, basically everything you do, from flights to lodging, is going to cost a little more.
- Flexible Travel Schedule - You may find an opportunity to save money on airfare or lodging if you can stay flexible with your travel dates. Airline and lodging prices often vary by day of the week. Sometimes shifting your trip schedule a day or two can save a significant amount of money. Flying at unpopular hours can save money as well.
- Discount programs - Use Groupon, Costco, AAA or other discount programs to find cheap vacation packages, dining credit, memberships, train rides, hotel suites, promo codes you name it. Before you book anything, compare prices with one of these programs.
- Research cheap flights – Flights can be one of the most expensive parts to travel, but they don’t have to be. Check out the airfare at some budget airlines first. Then use cheap flight tools like Google Flights, Priceline, Momondo, Skyscanner or Hopper. Watch for deals for months in advance of your trip and consider taking non-direct flights.
- Hostels and Guesthouses - Check out alternative lodging options at Airbnb, VRBO or Hostel World. Although they won’t match the inclusive services of the hotel industry, they are a great way to save money on lodging. You could also consider camping if it fits well with your trip. Why overspend on lodging when you plan to spend most of your time outside of your room?
- Ride service - Instead of renting a car, use a ride service like Uber, Lyft, Didi, or the local equivalent. They are affordable, quick, easy, trusted and you don’t have to be over 25 to use them like you do when renting a car. Plus you don’t have to worry about navigating a strange city.
- Public transportation - When you are visiting a major city, it’s worth the time to research the available public transportation options. Light rail, underground and bus systems are often less expensive than ride services or renting a car.
- Rent a bike - Check out available bike rentals. Although bicycling through a new city isn’t always the best idea if you’re not a seasoned cyclist who has plenty of experience dodging rogue vehicles and pedestrians.
- Walk as much as you can - Finding lodging near the areas you want to visit opens up the option of walking to them. It’s not only great exercise, it’s free! You can also experience more of the local culture by wandering around a city, exploring local markets, talking with locals and just watching people.
- Eat smart - Eat at restaurants for breakfast or lunch to avoid the expensive dinner menu. Stay away from the tourist streets. Check out the street food when it’s available. If your lodging has a kitchen, buy groceries and cook some of your own meals. A stash of healthy snacks can help you get by with fewer meals.
- Drink smart - Drink plenty of water. Not only is it healthy, it can save money if you carry a reusable water bottle.
- Live like a local - When operating on limited resources the best thing to do is spend your time living like the locals. Ask advice from locals whenever you get the chance. Whether you’re short on time or money, spending your days doing what the locals do is the best way to absorb as much of a new culture as you can with the time you have. Bypassing the tourist trap activities will free up time and funds to discover what the city is really about.
- Skip guided tours – guided tours can deplete your budget and dictate your time. Instead, do your own thorough research, build an itinerary, and embark on your vacation with a customized plan you designed. Remember to visit the little places as well as the big places.
- Do the free stuff - Every destination offers places to visit that are free or inexpensive. Talk to the locals about free concerts, fairs, museums, walking tours or cultural events. Visit a local market. Do outside activities like swimming, climbing a mountain, playing in a park or taking a bike ride.
- Bring friends - Traveling in a pack is not only a good way to stay safer abroad, it’s also a great way to cut costs. Group rates often save a dime or two, but splitting the cost of travel or large meals will save as well.
- Negotiate - Other parts of the world are more willing to negotiate when it comes to price than we are here in the states. So remember, as you are skimping and saving to make every dollar count, don’t be shy about haggling.
- Steer clear of currency exchange fees - Don’t accept merchant offers to charge your credit card in your home currency. That’s a green light for them to charge exchange fees up to 5%. Airports and shopping malls charge up to 8%, so always get foreign currency at an ATM or local bank.
- Sidestep foreign transaction fees - Some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees of 1 - 3 % for transactions outside your home country. Make sure to bring credit cards that waive foreign transaction fees.
- Free phone calls - There is no reason to pay for phone calls, texting, video conferencing or photo sharing while overseas. Internet access opens you up to free phone services such as Skype, Vonage and WhatsApp. Research the best service for your trip and download the app onto your phone before you leave.
- Buy travel insurance that will cover medical expenses, trip cancellation, travel accidents, lost luggage, etc.. Unexpected events often happen while traveling, whether by illness, accident, weather or human error. Nothing ruins a dream vacation faster than a large, unexpected expense. Traveling with insurance puts your mind at ease and allows you to relax and enjoy your trip.
Travel insurance saves you money in the event that the unexpected happens. Good Neighbor offers great travel health insurance and trip cancellation insurance plans so you can rest assured you will receive proper medical treatment or change your travel plans without a major financial loss. Find your plan today!
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