It’s no surprise traveling can be very expensive but it’s also true that traveling is one of the most rewarding, life enhancing activities one can spend money on. It’s a great way to be inspired, recharge and grow. Anyone can travel and everyone deserves to!
Regardless of whether our budget is large or small, we all want to a good value! Here are 10 easy ways to save money while you travel.
1. Plan in advance. While it’s not necessary to plan ahead to get a good deal, it certainly helps to start looking at airfares early. This allows for time to watch market trends and spot a good deal instantly when they become available. Subscribe to travel news outlets to get alerts on sales. Or if you have a good travel agent have them keep an eye out for you. Usually 3 to 6 months in advance is a good time to start pricing.
2. Skip baggage fees—don’t check in luggage. Say what? Yes, I said it! Baggage fees generally start at a minimum of $25 per bag and up for each consecutive bag in each direction. For some people the concept of packing one bag may seem impossible but with the right packing strategy and selection of items it is definitely possible to travel light, even if traveling for longer than a week. Not only will you save money—you will save time!!
3. Eat local. Sure, resorts and hotels have great restaurants but they can be very pricey (and not always good). When possible, get familiar with the surrounding neighborhood and check out local restaurants, bars and cafés. One can often find great local restaurants around with authentic local specialties and local prices just steps away!
4. Find the local grocery store. With many hotels charging $5 and up for a bottle of water staying hydrated can get pretty expensive. Make a quick trip to the local grocery or corner shop for bottled water, snacks and munchies to keep in your room and while on the go.
5. Take local transportation. Local trams, trolleys, buses and metros are not only less expensive than taxis but also an exciting way to explore a city and meet new people!
6. If your hotel offers continental breakfast, take advantage. Some shy away from these offerings but even just a coffee and small bite in the morning is enough to get you going and certainly better than starting a day of sight-seeing with an empty stomach.
7. Research local museums for special hours and rates. Many offer students, seniors and children discounts and most offer free entry on certain days of the week.
8. Check out local happy hours. Have an aperitif on the cheap at a local bar or pub and while you’re at it have a chat with the bartender for tips on local favorite spots. Local recommendations are invaluable!
9. Take a walk and try street vendor food. If you really want to get to know a place you must try the local food. Street vendors offer cultural and culinary reflections of their local community, adventures for the senses. Of course, ask around or survey which ones are more popular and use common sense.
10. Make friends. Meeting new people on the road, especially locals, makes for a most rewarding experience. If you’re open to it, you will find people are very friendly and generous, perhaps offering advice or a visit to a local sight, or if you’re lucky, inviting you into their home.