I get asked “how do you travel so much?” all the time. And while I am extremely lucky to have family and a boyfriend that love to travel, most of the time when I do embark on a trip, I take all of the steps I can to save some money, even if it’s a little. So I wanted to share my tips on how I make the most of my money while traveling.
Consider making a budget and itinerary before you go
As nice as it is to go with the flow once you get somewhere, in order to stay on budget, it might be easier to create an itinerary. I know that when I go on trips, I look up free things to do while I’m there and include these in my itinerary. There are always going to be things that are worth spending the money on but there are also amazing free options no matter where you go. Planning this out ahead of time helps avoid spending extra money.
Stay in an airbnb or use a third party site
If you’ve read my previous posts about airbnbs (here and here) you know that I’m an avid airbnb fan. One of the main reasons I love it is the price. Not only can you find amazing homes to stay in but you can find them for a reasonable price. Airbnb allows you to customize how much you’re looking to spend a night, whether or not you want a private room or entire house, and more. I know there have been instances where I wanted to save money so we decided to stay in a private room which tends to be much cheaper than having an entire home to yourselves.
If you prefer hotels, I tend to steer clear from booking on the hotels site and opt for third party sites. My go to has always been hotels.com just because I find that their prices tend to be the best deals and if you create an account, you will be added to the rewards system. For every 10 nights that you stay, you will get 1 night free. Not too shabby if you’re traveling often enough.
Search for cheaper flights
One of the best ways to do this is to be flexible with the dates of your trip. However, for most people this isn’t an option. Usually when I’m booking my trips, I have dates in mind. That’s where I start to look at my options of flight times and airlines. I’ve become a big fan of budget airlines such as Frontier and Allegiant. The only caveat with these airlines is the extra charges for your seat and bags. However, even with these, I’ve found that they end up being cheaper than most other airlines.
This fall I’m looking at going to Europe and I’ve looked into using WOW air or Norwegian which are budget airlines for international flights. Another thing I’m going to look into is connections. For example, if I go to Paris, it is most likely going to make more sense to stop in New York rather than look for a direct flight which is most likely going to be more expensive. Hell, why not make a trip out of it while I can?
Use a travel credit card
Let’s be honest, most people have at least one credit card at this point. You’re probably reading this thinking, “yeah, I’ve got 3..” And that’s exactly my point. If you’re going to use a credit card, why not use a travel card? Most cards allow you to earn miles or points for every dollar that you spend. If you’re going to spend money regardless, why not use those points towards your next trip? I know that most cards have a bonus for signing up as well. For example the Bank of America travel card has a 20,000 point bonus if you spend $1000 in the first 90 days. If you’ve got bills, this is pretty easy to hit.
Grocery shop before you go
If you’re road-tripping it, throw a cooler in your car and go grocery shopping the day before. Now, I’m not saying you have to eat every single meal at your airbnb. Half of traveling is trying incredible new food. I like to get breakfast, lunch, and snack items such as protein bars, fruit, tail mix, and sandwich makings. This helps save money while driving (rather than stopping and eating fast food) and while you’re out on the trip. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a peanut butter sandwich while you’re driving on an open road.
Walk, use public transportation, or use sites like Turo
Depending on where you’re going, walking or using public transportation is going to be your best bet. For example, in places like New York or London, a lot of things are walking distance from hotels (also something to consider when booking where you stay) or a short metro ride away. If you’re somewhere where things are a bit more spread out and you feel the need for a car, try out Turo.
Turo is an app/site that allows you to rent other people’s cars for as low as $25 a day. That’s a hell of a lot cheaper than most car rental places that I’ve seen. On top of renting a car, using apps like GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest place to get gas. This can be extremely useful in places like California where gas definitely ain’t cheap.
Look into Groupon getaways
So this isn’t actually something I’ve done but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Not only does Groupon have deals on hotels, but you can also find deals on cruises and trip packages that include hotel, airfare, and tours. From places like the Dominican Republic to Greece, to Rome and Paris, the options are truly limitless.
These are just a few things that I do when traveling and it has really saved me a lot of money. What are some things that you do that saves you money while you travel?
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