Published on March 11th, 2014 | by Andrew Garcia


12 Tips to Save Money on Travel 

Travelling is one of the greatest rewards in life. To break out of the ordinary everyday to explore new places, people, cuisines and cultures is truly a gift. It also just happens to be a very expensive gift. Here are some quick tips on how to save a little bit of money on travelling.


1. Avoid baggage fees

The best way to avoid baggage fees is by choosing an airliner that allows you to check one item of luggage for free. In the case your airline doesn’t have free baggage-check, consider trying to just taking a carry-on. It may be a bit of a tight squeeze, but if you whittle down your packing to just the basics most people can manage.


2. Renting a Car vs Not Renting a Car

The savings on this one can go either way depending on your plans for travel. If you plan to go to different sites, explore the area and such, you may be better off renting a car rather than bothering with the cost and time consuming endeavours of taking a tour bus. If you plan to stay put around the general area then public transportation can be significantly cheaper than splurging for a car.


If you do plan to rent a car, make sure to try to surf for coupons and different prices. Frequently, car rental place will give great last minute deals to customers or sometimes if you reserve well in advanced you can get a deal. Also, a lot of the time you can skip the insurance the car rental place has to offer if your own insurance will cover you.


3. Snacks

If you have ever travelled for a significant amount of time, you know that the food budget can quickly add up. One way to cut down on this cost is by either packing or buying snacks to have in your room. I especially like having snacks around for breakfast since that is generally an overpriced meal that is a throw away item anyways. It also is great for when you get hunger pangs after restaurants are open, so you can avoid any horrendous room service bills. Granola bars, cookies, chips and all that sort of stuff works great.


4. Grocery stores

No matter where you travel, it is a good idea to hit up the local market for some basic supplies. Bottled water is especially a great thing to invest in at the grocery store, if you don’t like the taste of hotel tap. Getting some fresh, non-perishable fruit can be a good idea to have around as a snack, and it also to fortify the body with Vitamin-C to avoid getting sick.

If you are travelling in the U.S. Whole Foods and Wegman’s do offer cheap dining option in-sort if you want to grab a quick and hearty meal while you are out at the market anyway. Also, markets abroad will frequently have outstanding bakeries, so don’t be afraid to adventure with this element of the local cuisine.


5. Don’t eat and/or drink on Resort Grounds

Unless there it is a happy hour or you have an all inclusive resort deal, resorts over charge tremendously for the quality of food and drink they offer. They want to charge you as much as they can get away with, because they know how convenient it is to have close-by dining option when travelling. If you know you tend to get tired/frustrated with searching for dining off of the ground, do some research beforehand for dining via Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc.

I usually allot myself one time to eat and/or drink at the hotel per trip by the way. I usually do it upon arriving at the hotel, because I find air travel to be semi-traumatizing and tiring. The last thing I want to do when I arrive at a hotel is turn around to go seek out dining in a new place when I am hungry, exhausted and still getting adjusted to my surroundings.


6. Travel Shoulder Season

Everyone wants to go to Florida in January, Seattle in the summer, Appalachia in the fall, etc. That is why the prices of everything from hotels to air travel go up astronomically during peak season in these places. Not to mention they are absolutely swamped with people. If you want to save some money, and you are willing to risk some variable weather, travelling shoulder season is a great way to save literally hundreds of dollars for having a nearly identical vacation.


7. Groupon/Living Social

Many of us take advantages of these websites at home, but it also can be a great way to save money when we travel. Be wary not to buy too many of these deals though, because you may run out of time to use them. It isn’t as problematic for a coupon to expire at home since the initial value is at least still intact, but when it happens in a different country that money is probably gone forever unless you plan to re-visit the destination soon.


8. Happy Hours

This is another fantastic way to save a bunch of money on food and beverages. If you really want to get a bang for your buck, try getting your entire dinner during happy hour. This may mean dining on cheap booze and appetizers, but it is a fun, vacation indulgence. Besides, you’re doing it in the name of having a sane travel budget!


9. Eat Early

Many of us are geared towards having our biggest meal the last meal of the day despite doctor’s warning us that this is an unhealthy lifestyle choice. The main reason to eat early during the day during vacation is that lunch is infinitely cheaper for the pretty much the same exact food. While it may seem odd try to have a huge meal for lunch, it can save you a lot of money on travel. For dinner you can just have a light/cheap snack.


10. Accommodations with Fridges and other kitchen supplies

For people who like to cook, this can be a great option to whip up some grub. You can buy some of the local produce and meats to create something that you might not be as easily to make at home. For example, if you are visiting a coastal area fish is infinitely cheaper to buy than most other inland locations. It also may be a good idea to pack some spices to add seasoning to your dishes.

Even if you don’t like to cook, you can pick up basic things like frozen foods, sandwiches, etc. that are entirely over priced when you have them out. In addition, having an accessible fridge allows you to save leftovers when you do eat out.


11. Avoid Touristy Locations

A tourist trap is called a tourist trap for a reason. Basically these locations will be built up with over-priced food, shops, services, etc to accommodate all of us tourists. One way to save a lot of money is to try to go where the locals go. Usually the locals will appreciate you venturing off the main tourist strip as well as getting some business from the tourist industry that is thriving in their vicinity. It also will give you a more authentic experience of what it would be like to grow up and live in the area you found interesting enough to come all this way to travel to.


12. Take Advantage of Freebies that Don’t Come with a Sales Pitch

A lot of resorts and hotels will offer free meals, drinks, etc. to try to trick customers into sitting through a sales pitch. Learning to identify these “quick talks” as a waste of time is important, so you don’t end up wasting valuable vacation time listening to a sales person. I’ve never heard a time share spiel that was worth the disgusting food they usually serve at these events.

However, there are some freebies that are really, really free. For example, free coffee, free internet, free gym access, free water, etc., are all perks that one should take advantage of. Also, looking for hotels that offer these freebies can help you narrow down which hotel you select to stay at.

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