Money Saving Tips & Tricks for Your Travels
The Scoop on Budget Friendly Vacationing
We all know that vacations can be a lot of fun with family, friends, or even on your own. We also know the vacations can be super expensive! It's safe to say that people are probably more antsy than ever to take an exciting trip now that the global COVID-19 pandemic is improving and thousands of vaccinations are being given each day. For this reason, we will be diving into all the ways you can take your bucket-list trips without needing to splurge all that much.
Consider the Local Currency
One of the best travel tips that often gets overlooked is the consideration of your currency and the currency of the place you're traveling to. Keeping this in mind when choosing a destination can really make or break the bank. If you go somewhere where your currency goes further, you can live like a king or queen during the time that you're there. Countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Mexico can offer you a lot for a little. You can eat out more often, eat a lot for a little, stay at fancier places, and even hire private drivers to take you long distances. This wouldn't be quite as affordable if you were traveling throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, or parts of Europe. If you do decide to travel domestically or to any of those countries, be mindful of your budget and how much every dollar gets you.
Be Flexible When Planning A Getaway
As you may have guessed, weekends, summers, and holidays tend to be the most expensive times of year to travel. Kids are out of school, families are trying to plan their family vacations, and there is a higher demand for hotels, flights, amusement parks, and other excursions. Therefore, it's important to be open-minded about dates if you're on a tight budget. Websites like Skyscanner allow you to view flights, and the cost of them, for the entirety of the month. Additionally, you can even do a worldwide search for particular dates to see what the costs of flights would be for various states and countries during a given time-frame. Though traveling during less ideal times might seem like a bummer, there are a lot of unexpected perks that come with it. For example, traveling during weekdays or off-seasons allows you to explore cities when they're less congested and wait on shorter lines at amusement parks. Plus, the flights and hotel rates are usually significantly cheaper!
Cancel Your Flight if Need Be
Did you know that you can cancel or change your flight within 24 hours of booking, free of charge? If not, you do now! This is mandated by the US Department of Transportation and it applies to airlines flying in the US, as well as international ones. The caveat is that your trip must be at least a week out or more. This is useful info because if the cost of your flight drops within that 24-hour window, you can cancel it and book a new, more affordable one. We should mention this only applies to flights that were booked directly with the airline.
Don’t Check Bags!
If you're flying an airline or in a class that charges to check bags, put your things in a carry-on and within a personal item instead. This is a lot easier if you choose a backpack as your personal item. If you discover that you have too many things and that you need to check luggage, compare the price of checking it for each leg to a seat upgrade that includes baggage and see which one is cheaper.
Consider Alternate Accommodations
Hotels can be super expensive, which is especially a shame if you don't plan to spend much time in it. If you're looking for a romantic, relaxing getaway, splurging on a luxurious hotel or resort is probably worth it. However, if your idea of a fun vacation is action-packed and adventure-filled, it might make sense to forfeit the lavish, pricey hotels.
If you're adamant about hotels, a simple search on Google, Booking, Travelocity or Expedia should suffice and you can adjust the parameters so that only hotels within your budget show up as options. The cool thing about both these search options is that you can search hotels by price and must-have amenities like WIFI, laundry facilities, no-smoking rooms, etc.
Alternates to hotels that are worth considering include hostels, Airbnb's, and bed and breakfasts. Hostels have gotten a questionable reputation but the truth is that they can be a sociable and fun experiences where you could meet other travelers, or keep to yourself if you prefer to do so. Contrary to popular belief, hostels can be quite luxurious, with many receiving 5-star reviews, infinity pools, and fancy breakfasts. If you're not quite sold on this idea, Airbnb's and bed-and-breakfasts are great too, since you can sift through a variety of listings based on size, price, and preferred location.
Eat Where the Locals Eat
How many times have you went out to eat at a "touristy spot" only to find yourself unsatisfied with a hefty bill to pay? If you haven't, consider yourself lucky. Oftentimes, touristy restaurants can be more a tourist trap than anything, leaving a lot to be desired in terms of portion sizes, flavor, and pricing. Therefore, we recommend checking out the places where a lot of the local people choose to go. Not only will their prices be less inflated, but the food will most likely be a lot better too!
You can find great hole-in-the-wall spots by reviewing restaurant reviews on
Yelp! and TripAdvisor or by simply working up the courage to ask a local on the street where they’d recommend eating for lunch.
Stop Eating Out
If your budget is very tight, you might want to forfeit going out to eat all together. Though local meals can save you a pretty penny, grabbing your own food can save you tons more. Let's start with the airport! It's essentially a monopoly, since you really can't go anywhere else once you've checked in and went through security, however you can bring food and drinks to the airport prior to having your bags checked. If you're open to doing this, make sure you get there extra early so you have enough time to get through check-in, boarding, and security if there does happen to be a hold-up.
Once you're at your destination, you can consider going shopping at one of the local grocery stores instead of eating at restaurants. This can actually add a lot of value and excitement to the trip! You can pack a picnic basket with your favorites and head to a local park or beach to eat, or if your accommodation has a grill, such as a rental from Airbnb or VRBO, you can grill up some burgers or chicken and relax in the yard or by the pool.
Beyond just bringing food and cooking your own meals, you can do away with desserts, drinks, and snacks while on your trip. Going out for ice cream or a few beers can add up quickly! Beyond just costs being a concern, you'll be a lot healthier and probably feel a lot better without them during your adventuring! As far as water goes, opt for bringing your own bottle and filling it instead of purchasing bottled water. It's better for the environment and better for your wallet!
Get a Travel-Friendly Credit Card and Be Mindful of Conversions
There is really no excuse to pay foreign transaction fees when there are so many credit cards on the market that don't have any. Using a credit card with these fees can cost you 3% or more on top of the cost of purchases. Also, when you have the option to charge your credit card in your home currency or the local one - choose the local one NOT your home currency. This is because those stores normally charge a higher exchange rate than your bank at home does. Same rule applies to ATM transactions.
Speaking of which, you can even put this strategy in practice when you're booking flights! You'll find that sometimes flights are cheaper when you book in the local currency as opposed to your home currency.
We hope these tips and tricks come in handy as you plan your next trip. We wish you the utmost comfort, safety and a ton of fun on your next adventure!
If you find that your Internet isn't quite cutting it during your travel research, just know we've got you covered! If you find yourself in need of an Internet speed upgrade so that you can research more efficiently, you know where to find us!