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Budget Travel = Carry on only!
Be Flexible About Your Trip’s Destination
The first travel hack that often goes overlooked is to be open-minded and flexible about your next travel destination. If you can have some flexibility about where you plan to spend your next adventure, you can save a ton on travel.
This is all about changing your tactic for discovering where you’d like to visit in the first place. Instead of deciding on your destination first and then figuring out how you’re going to get there, start out by looking for deals and pick from there. Google Flights is a great tool for finding the best deals on airfare.
Not only will this drastically lower your travel costs before you even start your trip, but you may just discover a new place that you never considered visiting.
Save Your Travel For The Off-Season
Another great way to save lots of money on your next vacation is to simply enjoy your traveling in the off-season. By taking the road less traveled and visiting your destination during its off-season, you will benefit in a few different ways.
The first benefit is that you’ll be cutting your traveling expenses drastically in comparison to visiting your destination during the busy season. Air-fare, hotel nightly room costs and car rentals are all generally cheaper in the off-season.
The second benefit of traveling during the off-season is that you’ll be able to take advantage of your destination without running into huge crowds of fellow travelers. Depending on your destination, this alone can make it worth saving your vacations for the slower seasons.
Take Advantage Of Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Travel rewards credit cards are a sure-fire way to cut down on your travel expenses. You can use a travel rewards credit card to make purchases that you’d be making anyway and pay off the balance each month. This way you will benefit from your regular spending by earning travel points that can pay for your flights or hotels on your next trip.
Usually rewards credit cards will have either a sign-up bonus or some type of bonus once you spend a certain amount using the card. For example, Southwest offers a travel credit card that rewards you with a 40,000 point bonus once you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. You can use these points to pay for your next few flights!
Be sure to shop around for what travel reward credit card will work best for you. You’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of each card in order to make sure that you get the best benefits. For instance, the reward cards with a higher annual fee will also give you access to more travel rewards to utilize throughout the year.
So if you travel a lot it may be worth it to you to pay the higher annual fee. Whichever card you decide on, your travels will definitely benefit from the savings and rewards.
Stay Just Outside Of Major Cities
A rule of thumb to live by is that everything is more expensive in the city compared to its surrounding areas. Everything from hotels, groceries, and gas is less expensive if you get a few miles out of the city limits. By keeping this simple fact of life in mind and preparing your trip beforehand, you will definitely save money.
For instance, if you are planning a trip to Washington D.C. plan on getting a hotel or renting a room in a surrounding area outside of the actual destination. Then you can just commute each day to the monuments, museums, and other hotspots you’d like to visit during your vacation.
You’ll spend a little more time on the road each day, but the cost of your trip will be dramatically lower than if you stayed inside the D.C. city limits.
Use Alternatives to Hotels
The benefits of a sharing economy marketplace have never been better for travelers. Why not take advantage of them? By using a service like Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway for your lodging needs, you will save a ton of money.
Along with saving money for your trip, you also have so many more options for places to stay at your fingertips. Do you need a kitchen for your trip? Want a place right on the beach? Do you need bikes for your vacation? These are all options that are easier to find and more affordable than the alternative of staying in a hotel.
Spend some time browsing these sites before your next vacation and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can save.
Another alternative to staying in a hotel is to utilize an RV or travel trailer. Depending on the type of vacation you’re planning using an RV or travel trailer instead of a hotel can save you lots of money and add tons of benefits to your travel.
For example, if you’re looking to take a cross country trip or simply get out into the wilderness away from civilization, RVs are a great solution.
If you’re new to RVs and travel trailers then your best route is to rent first before you buy to discover what you like since there are lots of different RV options. However, if you have an idea of what you want, keep an eye out for events like the Off-Grid Expo and other annual travel/outdoor gear events. These are great for finding deals and special offers that you won’t normally find at dealerships.
Be Smart About Your Meals
Have you ever noticed that the lunch menu at restaurants is always less expensive than the dinner menu? Sometimes lunch menu items are as much as 50% cheaper than the dinner servings! Sure the portions are a bit smaller, but this is a hidden way to save during your next getaway! By eating out for lunch instead of dinner, you can save quite a bit of money while still getting to experience the local food of your travel destination.
For dinner and breakfast meals, you can shop at local markets or grocery stores and prepare them yourself. If you followed our last money-saving travel tip by deciding to stay in an Airbnb, then you’ll have access to a kitchen to more easily prepare your meals.
In addition to saving money, when you prepare your own meals out of your Airbnb, you will most likely be eating much healthier food options than what restaurants offer. This will make you feel less sluggish and give you more energy for your getaway.
Need more travel tips?
Have you discovered a money-saving travel hack of your own? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments below!