Going on vacation, whether alone or with our family and friends, is something we dream about all year. We finally have some time to relax, the reward for all our hard work. We know that the last thing you want to think about is your budget, but if you’re reading this article, you know just as well as we do that traveling can be very expensive.
Most likely, you’ve also been saving all year, and you want to get the most for your hard-earned cash. So how do you go about it? We’re here to help with our list of the top four money-saving travel tips.
How to Save on Accommodation
Accommodation can take up a big chunk of your budget, so this is another important area where you can cut costs. You’ll want to start by deciding what your needs are. How much space do you need? Are you traveling with kids? How close do you want to be to tourist attractions? What amenities do you want? Do you want a free breakfast? Do you want to be able to cook?
The traditional choice is to stay at a hotel. If this is what you want to do, prices will vary depending on the location and time of the year. Again, you’ll want to do some research and find special offers and discounts such as Expedia promo codes. If you’re traveling with your kids, don’t forget to inquire about family deals, room upgrades, and discounted meals for children. You’ll also want to read reviews on important amenities like parking and Wi-Fi connection.
Although hotels are the traditional option, they’re not the only one. Depending on your needs, you can also try staying in hostels, renting an apartment, or house-swapping. If you’re traveling alone and like making friends from all over the world, hostels might be a great choice. You’ll meet a lot of interesting people and go on adventures together. Another benefit of staying in a hostel is that you can get significant discounts on lodging and food if you’re willing to help out. For example, you can tend to the reception desk or help out in the kitchen.
Learn How to Look for the Best Deals on Airline Tickets
When you’re trying to figure out how to travel on a budget, the first logical step is to learn how to get cheaper airline tickets. Start scouring websites like skyscanner.net, kayak.com, and expedia.com. You’ll be able to compare prices and find the best rates. A bit of flexibility in your travel plans will save you a lot of money. To get the best prices, you’ll want to avoid traveling during the peak seasons. Just before and after the peak seasons will give you much lower prices, and the weather will still be nice. Besides, it won’t be as crowded, and the locals will be happy to do business with you.
Ideally, you should pick a two-week timeframe for your vacation and start looking for airline tickets somewhere between three weeks and four months before your departure date. The cheapest days to travel are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Keep in mind that ticket prices also vary depending on your IP address. The website will use the IP address to determine what country you’re searching from and will display prices according to the level of income and how much people from that country are willing to pay. You can use a VPN to change your IP address and try searching from different locations until you find the best price. You can also set price alerts, so you’re notified whenever there’s a significant price drop.
Save on Food
Another area where you can save money is food. Yes, we know, trying local cuisine is part of the experience of visiting. Still, if you’re not careful, it can get really pricey, especially if you’re traveling with your entire family. There are some strategies to cut back without feeling like you sacrificed your vacation for the sake of your budget. We’ll start with snacks. You could go to a supermarket and pick up some water bottles and snacks. You’ll be spending a lot of time walking around and visiting various attractions. You’re bound to get thirsty and hungry. Unfortunately, since you’re in a touristy area, the prices will reflect it. You’ll be paying three or four times what that bottle of water is worth.
Another tip is to eat at restaurants a bit further away from the main tourist attractions. Sometimes you just have to walk a couple of blocks away to find much cheaper places. The restaurants close to tourist attractions are not just overpriced. They also tend to serve dishes that have been modified to be more palatable to tourists. If you really want to have an authentic dining experience, you’ll want to find out where the locals eat. Nowadays, that’s easy to do with just a quick search on your smartphone. Keep in mind that most restaurants tend to give special offers for lunch and not for dinner. So if you want to try more expensive dishes, it’s better to have them for lunch.
Most people really don’t like cooking while they’re on vacation, but if you’re staying in a rented apartment where you have access to a fully equipped kitchen, you could save a bit of money by making your own breakfast. Then you can use that money for more elaborate dining experiences later in the day.
Connect with Locals
Locals, by definition, will know the area better than you. They can help you explore the non-touristy attraction. They’ll also know where you can find the best deals. What hotels to book, which restaurant to eat at, how to get discounts etc. Before your departure date, see if you know anyone at your destination. This could mean distant relatives or friends of friends. Ask around on social media and see if any of your connections have other connections where you’re headed.
You can also make friends with locals on online language exchange platforms. It’s useful to learn a few words and phrases before going to another country, and you might even make a few friends that will give you inside knowledge on how to make the best of your trip. Another option is to join groups on social media platforms. You’ll get to join free walking tours and get invited to parties.