How can you save money when you travel without having to live in super cheap accommodations and skimping too much?
Well, there are a few travel hacks that people who travel for a living do that many people don’t know. And, this allows them to enjoy going from city to city without spending a ton of money.
By using their tips you’ll be able to enjoy your dream vacation without spending a fortune. All it takes is some research, preparation, a little flexibility, and knowing what to look for.
Let’s get started.
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Travel in the Off-Season
This is one of the biggest travel money savers you’ll ever find. By traveling in the off-season, you’re going to see much lower prices on airfare and hotel accommodations. That’s because, during peak seasons, tourists and travelers are on the go. As such, demand goes up and the prices go up with it.
Thus, it’s a good idea to wait until after the rush is gone. This means going after holidays like Christmas and Easter. It also means you’ll get much better rates if you don’t vacation during the summer.
The one catch here is the kids. It gets a little trickier to get around the peak seasons because those are the times they’ll be off from school.
Book Your Trips During Afternoons
You’re probably aware that airline prices fluctuate during the week. They also change significantly depending on what time of year it is. But, did you know that the prices also vary during the day?
If you check your favorite airlines and note down their airfare prices from morning to evening, you’ll likely notice that prices tend to go down in the afternoon. That’s because many businesses and business travelers book their flights in the morning.
Compare Prices on Different Travel Booking Sites
Thanks to online booking, you can now compare prices of different flights and accommodations to help you save money. Here are the best places to check when looking for the best airlines and hotel rates.
Pro Tip: to get the most out of your research, make sure to look at the fine print for each of the offers. Often, there are steep discounts. But, at times, there are terms included in some offers. Also, always check whether you can cancel your booking later on and if there’s a fee for doing so.
Set Up Flight Alerts
These are very useful especially if you have a specific trip you want to go to. It’s likewise very efficient if you’re travel regularly and want to get notified when there are great deals.
Flight alerts are basically email alerts. Thus, you’ll want to redirect all these emails to a folder if you’re using Gmail. This keeps your inbox from getting stuffed with messages which can make you miss your important personal ones.
When it comes to deal alerts, we like AirfareWatchDog. Upon signing up, you’ll get emails for the locations you set any time there are price drops. You can likewise sign up directly with airlines, which also let you know when they’re having discounts.
While it does take some sifting through, it’s well worth it because you can save anywhere from 40% to 90% just by doing this.
Make Extra Cash as You Travel
Most of the items on this list involve ways to save money while you travel by reducing the cost. But, if you’ve traveled enough, you probably know that discounts, promos, cashback, and miles points only go so far.
So, one way to help reduce the overall cost of your vacation is to make extra cash while you’re abroad. A popular way to do so is to teach English, especially if you’re going to a non-English speaking nation.
Alternatively, you can earn extra cash by answering surveys. You can do these in your spare time and it takes between 10 to 25 minutes for each survey. In a month’s time, you can earn between $100 to $500 if you’re consistent.
Here, our favorites are Swagbucks and Survey Junkie. Although there are many other legit, high paying survey for cash sites you can join as well. What’s great about them is that you can start months ahead before you travel. That way, you would’ve made a few hundred bucks extra for your trip.
Use the Air Miles You’ve Accumulated
if you travel a lot, it’s well worth it to get a credit card with travel rewards or travel points. This allows you to earn points that you can use to get free trips.
While you’ll still need to pay for the taxes, it’s a great feeling to know that you don’t have to pay for your next trip because you’re using the right credit card.
Use Cashback When You Book
Airfare and hotel accommodations are the two most expensive things you’ll be paying for when you travel. So, it’s a good idea to use a cashback site or app when purchasing these high ticket items.
By joining Rakuten, which was formerly Ebates, you’ll be able to earn some of the cash you paid for your trip back. This lets you save quite a bit of cash. A few of Rakuten’s travel partners you can check out are Hotesl.com, Booking.com, and Expedia.
In addition, you can likewise use Rakuten when buying other costly items you might need for your trip. By doing so you’ll be able to save when you buy luggage, cold-weather clothing or anything travel related.
Pick the Best Accommodation for Your Needs
How much you end up spending for accommodations can vary significantly. If you’re on a backpacker’s budget, cheap hostels will allow you to save a pretty penny. But, if you’re with the kids, then it’s a good idea to find somewhere that’s more kid-friendly.
What’s great about traveling nowadays is you have a lot of options. You have hotels, bed and breakfasts, motels, and rentals.
This allows you to choose the best affordable accommodation depending on what kind of lodging you want and how many people are in your group. For big families, hotels are costly because they limit how many people can stay in one room. Thus, going to an Airbnb will be much more cost-effective.
And, speaking of Airbnb, gaps in the calendars of properties allow you to get a discount. Often, these spaces can be hard to fill because of the date they’re in or the time period of the gap. So, if you’re flexible with when you check in and check out, you’ll be able to save money by filling the gaps.
Use Debit & Credit Cards That are Travel Friendly
Some credit cards are notorious for tacking on high currency exchange rates. So, while they’re very convenient to use when you’re abroad, they’re a headache to deal with when you get home and have to pay the bills.
One way to get around this is to use travel-friendly debit and credit cards. This allows you to get competitive exchange rates when you use their cards.
Another option is to get up accounts with online banking services like TransferWise or Monzo.
- Transferwise allows you to transfer funds from your local bank account to a borderless account. And, they charge you a small percentage of your transaction instead of the wire or bank transfer fees.
- Monzo is used like a Mastercard credit card. And, all you get charged for is the exchange rate. There are no hidden fees or added card transaction fees. You can likewise withdraw from ATMs up to 200 pounds a month without being charged a withdrawal fee.
Use Local Sim Cards to Cut on Roaming Fees
Odds are, you’ll be using your cellphone quite a bit while you’re abroad. If you’re planning to many calls between travel buddies, it’s a good idea to get a local SIM card.
This allows you to avoid roaming fees that your carrier will charge for international calls. Another option is to purchase an international package with your existing carrier before you leave home. Most companies will have some kind of international plan (including data) that’s much more affordable.
This allows you to skip the unpleasantly large phone bill when you get home.
Skip the Airport Currency Changer
Airport money changers are convenient. But, they come at a steep price. That’s because they charge the highest exchange rates you’ll find. So, it’s a good idea to avoid this tourist trap.
Instead, make sure to allocate some time before you leave home to exchange your currency at your local bank. This lets you get a good rate and save a bunch of money as well.
While you’re at it, do research online to see where to get the best rates in your destination. Forums and other travel guides will often tell you which banks and money changers offer the best currency rates. This lets you know where to go in case you need to get more local currency when you get there.
Know How Much Your Luggage Weighs
All airlines have luggage weight restrictions. And, if you go past beyond that weight, they’ll charge you for it. This is why it’s a good idea to know how much your check-in luggage weighs before going to the counter.
And, if you’re not sure, stuff the extra items in your carry on. Airlines allow you to have one hand-carry bag with you. As long as that carry-on fits their required dimensions, you’re good to go. Thus, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it.
Hopefully, the travel hacks above have given you some ways you can use to save money the next time you travel. They’re amazingly easy to implement and all it takes is a little getting used to. Once you know the routine, you’ll be able to keep saving money every time you travel.