How To Save Money When Traveling
I love to travel as much as the next gal, but I've done far less in the last 24 months because it's just too expensive. 9 times out of 10 traveling can be classified as an unnecessary expense even though I'm a FIRM believer that traveling is good for you. Good or not, sometimes you just don't have the cash.
When you've made up your mind to go anyway (was there really any question?), here are some simple ways to save a few bucks here and there. Those bucks add up quickly when you keep track of your savings and try to make a game out of it. You don't have to be a miser, but don't be a fool either.
- Pack your travel meals in advance.
- Buy snacks at the grocery store, not at roadside convenience stores.
- Plan trips where you have friends and family. You might be able to score free room and board.
- Go camping.
- Stay at a college dorm room when traveling. Many universities rent out dorm rooms at a decent price during the summer.
- Book your flights and cruises way in advance. You can get lower prices.
- Always negotiate hotel room prices. Hotel rooms are like highly perishable food: if they’re not used that day, they’re wasted. You can almost always get a better deal just by asking, but do it with a nice smile face-to-face when you check in, or with friendly calls direct to the hotels you’re considering. It won’t work if you just call national 800 numbers, because they can’t negotiate. If your flight is overbooked and the airline offers a voucher if you take a later flight, take it.
- When flying, bring your own snacks. Airport food is expensive.
- Avoid renting a car at the airport. You’ll find more competitive rates, plus avoid extra surcharges at car rental agencies away from the convenience of the airport.
- Time your stay for best hotel deals. Plan the timing of your stay according to the type of place you visit. Hotels in cities are usually cheaper on the weekends, when business travelers aren’t staying there, but hotels in resort areas or other places that are popular with leisure travelers are often cheaper during the week
- Tourist spots sell everything from film — to capture those special moments — to sunscreen, bottled water and aspirin for prolonging your fun, at a higher cost. Purchase these items before and save.
- Travel after peak season. This might not be an option if you have school-age children. But families with infants and toddlers can take advantage of discounted rates by traveling in the fall.
- Bring an empty water bottle with you to the airport. Bottled water at airports is expensive. While you can’t bring any liquids past security, you can bring an empty bottle. Put it in your carry on and fill it up as soon as you get past security.
- Stay in hostels when traveling overseas. While you do have to share a bathroom and a room, you can stay for as little as $5.
- If you need a quick get away with your significant other, spend a night in your local bed and breakfast.
Now, I don't practice all these money saving tips. You won't find me sharing a bathroom with strangers unless absolutely necessary. But everyone is different and you might be far more laid back and tolerant than the average bear when traveling.
I'll continue to post lists of ways to save a few bucks on all sorts of things in your life. Enjoy! - Michelle