Traveling can get SUPER expensive. Expenses like food, fees, and transportation add up fast. I always leave a little extra wiggle room in my budget when I travel, but I have been focusing on cutting costs and finding cheaper ways to do things (aren’t we all?). Before you book your next trip, make sure to check out the ways I save money on travel.
1. Use a Travel Credit Card
I know some people do not use credit cards but I have the Capital One Venture card and I absolutely love it. I love that it is not tied to a specific airline or hotel so I can use the points for any travel expense. I currently have $1,400 in travel rewards (I have been saving for a while) and I haven’t decided yet how I will use them. I will keep you posted! For more information on how to choose a travel credit card check out my guest post on The Eclectic Voyager. There are some great options for travel hacking that I will definitely look into soon. My friend Ellie Mondelli has a great post on what credit card she is using for travel hacking.
2. Track Flights
When we were booking our flight for Australia we tracked flights for a few weeks using two different apps (hopper and skyscanner). You can set parameters and it will alert you when a flight is available within the parameters you set. This is how we found our great deal for Australia (decently cheap and #1 airline).
3. Check Out Getaway Deals
You can also check out Groupon or Expedia for getaway deals. Expedia has bundle deals for flight and hotels as well as cruises and vacation rentals. Groupon has a section for domestic and international getaways. I know multiple people who have booked trips through both Expedia and Groupon and saved hundreds.
EXTRA TIP: Use your Ebates account before booking on Groupon or Expedia and save even more! Currently, Expedia is up to 10% cash back and Groupon is 6% cash back if you go through Ebates. Click here and get $25 for FREE once you shop using Ebates.
What to Bring
You might not be able to bring liquids through but you can bring whatever food. I usually pack a PB&J or protein bars so I don’t spend $20 on a snack at the airport (why is airport food SO expensive?!) You can pack snacks/food in anything. I’ve flown with pizza from NY to SC before (there is nothing like NY pizza). If you forget snacks at home stop at the gas station before you get to the airport. It will still be a lot cheaper than buying it there. Snacks are also important on road trips so you don’t need to stop every single time someone is hungry. You will also be able to choose healthier snacks instead of just whatever is available at the rest stop.
5. Empty Water Bottle
I cannot honestly say I do this all the time (sometimes I need coffee) but I try to always carry an empty water bottle. This is especially important for longer flights. You might get a drink on the plane but while you are waiting in the airport or if you have multiple flights you will probably need a drink at some point. Most airports have refill stations (or at the very least a water fountain) that you can fill your water bottle once you are through security. This way you can stay hydrated without spending any money.
Whether you are traveling by plane, bus, train, or car you need something to keep you occupied during the trip. If I forget a book or magazine I ALWAYS end up buying one at the airport. PSA: books at the airport are NOT cheap. They are full price aka more expensive than Amazon. I try to always make sure I pack either a book, a few magazines, or my iPad to watch movies. Did you know you can now DOWNLOAD from Netflix so you can watch when you don’t have the internet?! Maybe everyone knew that for a while except for me but I just started doing that and it is amazing!
When You Are There
7. Public Transportation
Subways, trains, and buses are A LOT cheaper than taxis. You can save a ton of money by using public transportation. If you are going to be in the same city for a few days I definitely recommend using public transportation. It might be difficult to navigate for the first day, but by the second you’ll be traveling like the locals! You can look up the best (and cheapest) way to get around a city before you go so you can be prepared.
8. Getting Cash
If you are traveling internationally, try to avoid the exchange centers. They usually have a lot of fees and bad exchange rates. If you are going for a short period of time you can get cash in that currency before you go from your bank (check the fees first). You can also get money out of the ATM when you are there but watch out for foreign transaction fees from your bank. You can try to find a sister bank in that country before you go which would have no extra fees.
Instead of staying at the Hilton or Marriott check out Airbnb. You might get a full house/apartment for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. You can use Airbnb for international travel as well. You will also save money because you will have kitchen access and will be able to cook meals. Some hosts even leave some snacks and drinks for you so I definitely recommend checking it out. If you use my Airbnb code you get $40 off your first trip of $75 or more. No strings attached!
What to Look Out For
10. Extra Fees
Airlines are starting to charge for EVERYTHING. Make sure before you book a flight you check any extra fees you might pay. Some budget airlines even charge for carry-on bags. The flight may seem cheap but when you add up extra fees it might end up more expensive.
11. Car Rental Coverage
Some credit cards (especially travel cards) cover car rental insurance. Make sure to check this if you are planning on renting a car and you could save yourself some money! All you have to do is pay with that credit card when paying for the rental car and decline the insurance when they offer it to you.
EXTRA TIP: fill up the rental car yourself. The gas is cheaper 99% of the time. The prepaid gas is usually a lot more expensive than if you just filled the car up yourself.
What other travel tips do you have? I am always looking for more ways to save money on traveling!
For more money saving and money making resources, check out my recommendations page!