Although not everyone likes to travel, I truly believe it can be one of the most enriching experiences of life. Many agree, saving all year just to take that coveted family trip away. Some only travel locally while others cross oceans. Some people travel for months at a time, but others just stick to that all-important one vacation a year. Whatever your traveling personality, we can all agree that there is an element of cost to every trip you want to take. With that in mind, here are five money-saving travel tips that will help, by saving you money in the long run.
1. Shop Around
Wherever one decides to travel for a vacation or a long expedition, we know that there will be a cost to travel. This is why so many bloggers (myself included) write about the importance of planning. Before your trip, spend time hunting out the best deals, browsing online travel sites that offer discounts, and exploring different ways to make your trip affordable. Maybe you drive instead of fly; choose an Airbnb over a hotel. Some people even use travel agents, instead of navigating through online (and often confusing) travel deals. Even a quick online search for cheap flight tickets can often help you to become aware of discounts or travel promotions. Never just outright pay for something; money-saving travel deals are out there! You just have to look around, compare prices, and know your options.
2. Package Deals Aren’t Always Deals
Many people think that vacation packages, which tend to include every aspect of your vacation, are cheaper. This is not always true. It’s essential to check out the individual prices and add them up to see if you are indeed, getting a good deal. Many times, there are service and/or hidden fees that you don’t see.
When you buy your lodging, transportation, and activities separately, you usually don’t have to pay in full until you arrive. However, many package deals require a deposit up front and full payment 4-8 weeks before you depart for your trip. Package deals are popular because they are easy. You don’t have to plan anything. You simply pack your bags and go. However, this is why they can be pricey. There is a steep price for convenience.
3. Travel Lightly
Another money-saving travel tip involves your luggage. If you decide to book flights on your own (not through a travel company or package deal), you need to consider the extra costs of flying. Since we now have to pay for bags on most airlines, that cost has to be factored in to the final estimated travel cost. However, if you can travel with just hand luggage, you can save quite a bit, avoiding luggage fees. Fortunately, many airlines still allow you take a small bag on board for no additional cost, although double check with your selected airline to be sure.
Also keep in mind that if you’re traveling with a family, all that luggage may have to fit in a rental car also. Will you need to rent a larger car, to accommodate all your luggage? Explore your options and see where you can save. My family is even known for sharing luggage. We’ll pack two large suitcases for four people and only have to pay the airlines for the two checked bags.
4. Plan Travel During the Off-Season
Although it’s not a popular option for families with school-aged children, traveling during the off-season can save you lots. When the demand is high, companies can charge more money for the same services that they offer in other periods for cheaper. Expect to pay more when traveling to the beach in the winter or heading to the mountains to ski in January.
Everything is pricey during peak touring seasons. You not only pay more in travel costs, but also hotels and rental cars hike their rates. Shops often hold off on sales and sell souvenir items at regular prices when tourist traffic is high. Flight rates soar around the holidays and peak travel times. And of course, traveling when it’s peak season means bigger crowds and longer lines. So, it’s beneficial to at least consider traveling in the off-season. It may not only save you money, but you may have a more enjoyable vacation!
5. Plan and Book Activities Online Before You Travel
If you are implementing money-saving travel tips, you’ll research your destination ahead of time and find out that you can often save money by booking your activities or excursions online ahead of time. Many popular tourist destinations offer tickets that you can buy online at a discounted rate. There are often family deals for multiple people with steeper discounts. This will also save you time by not having to wait in line to buy your tickets! Keep in mind, that this is only a good idea if it’s a sure thing you’ll be visiting, AND if you can buy tickets, but not for a specified day. Vacation plans change, so keep in mind that it’s only a money-saving travel tip if you absolutely plan on going and your tickets don’t have set dates.
Many people think that travel is only reserved for the wealthy. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. You just have to be money savvy and utilize money-saving travel tips to make recurring travel your reality.