How to Save Money on Travel: Anyone that likes to travel or anyone that wants to travel more is always on the look-out for a bargain. With the rising cost of EVERYTHING, sometimes saving money on travel isn’t easy.
Here are some of my favorite tips for saving some money the next time you are planning a vacation:
No. 1 – Be a Local Tourist
Look for vacation inspiration closer to home and in your own backyard. Explore your own city.
No. 2- Combination Trips
The travel industry calls these “jump off” trips. Perfect example of a jump off trip ~ if you are going to Las Vegas, go during low season and then jump over to the Grand Canyon for a couple of days by car. Visiting San Francisco – combine it with a trip to wine country. Combine a trip to Washington DC with a trip to Baltimore’s Harbor. Get the most out of your flying costs by combining two trips in one.
Travel during the low-peak season and avoid traveling during the summer and around holidays.
No. 3 – Don’t Always Think Hotel/Resort
Condo/Villa/House rental for larger groups or larger families instead of several hotel rooms is a huge money saver. Some house rentals seem expensive when you look at the weekly cost but when you consider that home that costs for example $1600 for the week and sleeps 12 versus 3 or 4 hotel rooms to accommodate 12 for a week at approx. $100 (or more) each per night – you do the math. Vacation with family and/or friends and split the cost.
No. 4 – Stop Thinking Deluxe!
Moderate resorts today are fabulous and offer great amenities. Hilton Homewood Suites and Hampton Inns both offer suites with kitchenettes, sitting rooms and full separate bedrooms. They also offer free daily breakfast and Wi-Fi.
Be sure to look at all “add on” fees associated with your costs. A per night rate can look really reasonable and low until you get your bill and you see a long list of add-ons like: daily parking fee, sales tax, occupancy/tourism tax, city local tax, internet service, newspaper fee!
When making your reservation or at check-in be sure to ask for all associated fees that will be added to your bill so you have no surprises at the end of your trip. Most add-on fees are somewhere small (hidden) when you book your reservation. There is nothing you can do about taxes but tell them you don’t want the newspaper or anything else that you can won’t be using during your stay.
No. 5 – Take a Road Trip
A family of 4 can travel by car much much cheaper than a family of 4 can travel by air.
No. 6 – Make Lunch Your Main Meal
Did you know that the same entree at lunch costs on average 25 to 30% less then eating it at dinner time?
Take advantage of complimentary breakfasts to get as much food as possible and save some for snacks later.
If you aren’t a big eater, many restaurants will let you order from the children’s menu at lunch. Most times it’s more then enough food at a fraction of the cost.
No. 7 – Eat Where the Locals Eat
Ask the hotel receptionist or concierge about local spots for a great meal. Dining locations away from the heart of any resort offer lower costs great meals.
No. 8 – Be Flexible with Travel Days
Prices are based on supply and demand, so it’s often cheaper to leave the day before (or after). Check to see if there is enough of a price difference in flights versus an extra night hotel stay.
When you book matters. Usually Tuesday through Thursday is generally when airfares are at their lowest. Specifically, Tuesdays at 3 p.m. EST is when you’ll see the best rates.
Fly into regional airports instead of larger city international airports. Flight costs are much cheaper and usually far out-weigh the cost of transportation to your final destination.
No. 9 – Travel Light
Airlines charge for everything now. The luggage you have, the more you will be charged. Keep it light – You CAN pack for a week in a carry-on (see How to Pack for a Week in a Carry-On). Don’t use over-sized bags and keep it all within one bag per person.
No. 10 – Ask for Discounts at Any Attraction You Visit
Seniors discounts are everywhere and can sometimes be substantial.