With two young children, a mortgage, and school loans up the wazoo, we don’t get to take many vacations. They are a luxury that we do not take for granted. Because of that, I have learned the ins and outs of saving as much money as possible when we do get to sneak away to check out new places.
Since I am such a giver (you’re welcome, you’re welcome), I am going to share some of my most used budget travel tips with you today. You may not be able to use every single one on every single trip, but you will be able to utilize what works best for you, your situation, and your destination.
20 Budget Travel Tips
- Be flexible with your dates when looking at flights and hotels. You will find drastic increases and decreases in price, just days apart.
- Follow airline, train, destination, and travel sites on social media and watch for deals.
- Always shop for airfare in a Chrome incognito window to avoid price surges. Those wonderful cookies track your search habits and tend to cause your prices to raise the more you search for a specific flight or destination.
- Travel overnight to avoid accommodation costs.
- Figure out the cheapest way to/from the airport BEFORE you arrive to avoid overspending.
- Pack in a carry on only. Fees for checked bags on airplanes have grown out of control!
- Pack snacks. Snack costs at airports and attractions are outrageous.
- Stay with a friend whenever possible. Many of us, especially here in the Midwest, seem to have a complex about inconveniencing others. If you’re traveling to a city where you know someone, and they have room for guests, save money and ask to stay with them.
- Stay at an AirBnB. You can get access to fabulous accommodations at lower prices than your typical stodgy hotel room. Bonus points for renting a house with a group to save loads of money!
- Forget to pack something? Always check with your hotel’s front desk before shopping. You’d be surprised what they have available!
- Always search for available discount codes before booking anything. My favorite site is retailmenot.com, but you can find hundreds with a simple Google search.
- Take advantage of discounts available to students, military members, and seniors (if you qualify, of course)
- Use public transportation instead of paying for taxi cabs. They are soooo expensive.
- Bring a water bottle and find filler stations in airports and other places you visit.
- Go to the local grocery store instead of eating out every meal.
- Learn to haggle like a boss, especially when traveling internationally.
- Check your destination city for museum and attraction free admission days. And take advantage!
- Plan around major sporting events and festivals. Prices skyrocket when mass crowds are expected at your destination.
- Pre-drink whenever possible. Booze are expensive! You can drink a $10 bottle of wine in your hotel room and then nurse your $20 cocktail at the bar or restaurant.
- Use cash back rewards credit cards for all of your spending. Just make sure to pay it off before being charged interest, or it’s not worth it!