I’m a traveler at heart and have been all my life. When I was younger, I used to pack up the family car, drive for days on end, and always find something interesting to see along the way. Nowadays, I still love to explore new places and learn about different cultures. But it’s not always easy finding affordable ways to do that without spending too much money.
Over time, I’ve collected some great travel tips from friends and fellow travelers alike, and believe me when I say they’re worth their weight in gold. Here are 10 travel tips every single one of you should follow if you want to save tons of money while exploring your world.
1.Don’t Book Flights Directly Through Airlines’ Websites
If you search for flights directly through airlines’ websites (for example Kayak or Skyscanner), you’ll often find yourself paying an inflated price. The reason is that these sites take advantage of users who don’t know any better. They offer heavily discounted flight prices but hide the fact that there are other cheaper options available. You probably won’t find them on these sites.
Instead, use a third-party site like Kiwi.com which has hundreds of hidden discount codes across dozens of countries. It will help you find lower airfares than what you’d pay with airlines’ own websites.
2.Use Hotel Search Sites Instead Of Hotels.com Or Priceline
Hotel search engines like Trivago, Hipmunk, BiddingPoker, etc., tend to get overlooked by many people. While hotel booking services such as Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, etc., may seem more convenient, they also charge higher fees for the same rooms. In general, hotel search sites provide better deals and allow you to book last-minute since hotels already prepared their rates based on previous reservations.
3.Stay Close To Your Destination By Walking, Not Driving
Driving everywhere isn’t just wasteful; it’s dangerous! If you stay close to where you need to go, you’ll save plenty of gas money and avoid getting lost. Just remember to bring maps, GPS, snacks, water bottles, etc. And you might consider using public transportation.
4.Eat Local Food For Less
When you visit a country, try eating local food whenever possible. This means that instead of ordering burgers and fries, eat foods that locals would eat. Some examples include fresh fruit juices, salads, crepes, croissants, rice dishes, etc. Also, you can ask for free samples of local alcoholic drinks at bars.
5.Go Off-Season Whenever Possible
Whether you’re going abroad or staying within your city limits, you can save big bucks by avoiding peak seasons. During off-season periods, hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc., usually slash ticket prices.
6.Check Prices On Multiple Airline Websites
It’s always smart to check several airline comparison sites before making your decision. A lot of times, they give you access to special offers that aren’t listed on other sites. Plus you can compare fares between different carriers to select the cheapest option. Make sure you check out Farecompare.com, Google Flights, Skyscanner, etc.
7.Buy Domestic Flight Tickets Ahead Of Time
You can buy domestic flight tickets ahead of time from airports and airlines themselves. Sometimes they provide steep discounts on regular flight tickets right when you purchase them.
8.Shop Around Before Buying Car Rentals Online
Before renting cars online, make sure you research the company first. Ask around among your colleagues and friends to see how satisfied they were with the rental car provider. Then look into reviews from past customers. Finally, read customer comments on review sites such as Yelp and Rentalcars.com.
9.Skip Airport Lounges And Find Cheap Last Minute Deals At The Airport
Airport lounges are nice to hang out in during layovers, but they’re quite pricey. So skip unnecessary purchases at airport shops and enjoy airport meals/snacks at the airport gates instead.
Also, keep tabs on cheap last-minute deals on Facebook groups dedicated to your destination. Many times, the cheapest flights and accommodations will pop up here.
10.Get Discounts On Tours & Sightseeing
Tours and sightseeing packages can sometimes cost upwards of $100 per person. However, if you join a tour group, chances are you could receive discounts ranging anywhere from 25% – 75%.
11.Share Accommodations With Friends
Accommodation prices often fluctuate greatly according to demand. If you share accommodation with others, you’ll save even more than if you booked privately.
Couchsurfing allows you to meet locals and connect with strangers worldwide. It costs nothing and is totally free. All you need to do is post your profile and show up somewhere. People will then contact you to talk about where to go and what to do. Couchsurfing is particularly useful if you’re planning to stay in hostels.
13.Consider Using Airbnb
If you’re planning to rent a room or house, Airbnb is a fantastic alternative to traditional hotels. You can choose from thousands of listings right in your area and get extra perks like maid service, breakfast, parking, and more.
14.Take Advantage Of Free Public Transportation
Public transportation is often the safest and cheapest way to get around. Most cities will offer free rides to tourists. Look into bus schedules, subway maps, bus routes, train lines, etc.
15.Save Big Bucks On Activities Like Hiking, Cruises, And Shows
Most activities involve two things: the product itself plus a markup. Whether you’re shopping at malls, hiking on trails, swimming in pools, or snorkeling in waters, these expenses add up quickly. Try looking for coupons on Groupon, LivingSocial, etc., or joining a rewards program for savings. You can also shop around for low prices on Amazon or eBay.
16.Use Coupons Everywhere
Here are two of my favorite coupon resources: Printable Coupon Codes: Coupons.com (Free signup required) Printables.net: RetailMeNot (Free signup required).
Weighing luggage adds to your carbon footprint. If you’re flying, carry only the bare essentials. Bring clothes, toiletries, medications, etc., and leave the rest behind.
18.Be Flexible With Dates
Even though you plan months in advance, it’s okay to change plans if necessary. Nothing ruins a trip faster than being stuck in a dead-end job, so be ready to move if anything comes up.
19.Keep Cash Handy
Don’t rely solely on credit cards to pay for everything. That’s why I prefer carrying cash wherever I go.
20.Avoid Credit Card Rewards Programs
Credit card companies make a ton of money by charging high annual fees and interest rates. There are better alternatives to reward points like investing in index funds or opening an IRA account.
21.Explore Other Cultures Beyond Tourist Traps
People often think that the “tourist traps” are the only parts of a certain place. But there are actually lots of cool things happening elsewhere. For example, you can visit farmers’ markets, local fairs, art galleries, museums, concerts, festivals, etc.
Open Table allows guests to browse local restaurants and reserve tables via the app. It’s especially helpful for couples and families who want to dine together. Unlike other apps, Open Table doesn’t require you to create an account or log in.
23.Follow Social Media Groups
There are countless social media groups related to specific destinations. Join those pages and follow the community members for advice on where to go, what to do, and how to get around.
24.Plan Daytrips Instead Of Excursions
Daytrips are perfect for solo travelers and short trips. You can easily fit day trips into a packed schedule.
25.Always Carry Emergency Cash
I personally carry $50 bills in my wallet. Never count on ATM withdrawals or debit card transactions to cover emergency situations like accidents, theft, natural disasters, etc.
26.Learn How To Speak Their Language
In case you get stranded after a disaster, knowing how to speak the language will come in handy. Even if you don’t know the language, study basic phrases. This way you can order food, tell taxi drivers, etc.
27.Don’t Buy Unnecessary Items From Stores
Avoid buying souvenirs, crafts, and trinkets. Stick to your budget and buy quality gifts.
28.Walk More Often
Walking saves money on fuel costs and helps reduce emissions. It’s also good exercise.
29.Stay Healthy By Eating Locally Grown Foods
Eating locally grown fruits and vegetables ensures that fewer pesticides and chemicals are sprayed onto crops. It also reduces greenhouse gases emitted from trucks transporting produce long distances.
30.Visit Countries Based On Flavor Rather Than Politics
Some countries are politically unstable and unsafe. Yet they’re beautiful and fun to visit. My personal recommendation is to focus on Latin America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Caribbean islands, Africa, Europe, etc.
In order to save money on your next trip, you must know how to do it. There are tons of ways that you can save money when traveling and we have listed down some of the best ones here. As you go through this list, I encourage you to think about what makes sense for your situation and what works best for your budget and preferences. Which is the most effective one? Let us know in the comments below!