Trying to save on travel so you can do more with your money?
Girl, I don’t blame you. If I had a limitless budget, I would be traveling like maniac. But everyone has limits. So how do you get the most out of your travel dollar? Here are my top tips:
1) Travel During Shoulder Season
I’m a big fan of traveling during shoulder season. Off-season is good too – but it usually means the rainy season or unpredictable weather. Savings can still be found during shoulder season. My favourite times? The week before American Thanksgiving and in June, right before school ends.
I always avoid travel in July and August, when things are the most expensive. I chose to stay home those months and find events and cool things to do in my own city. Shoulder season is awesome because not only are you saving, you’ll also be avoiding the crowds.
2) Get a Credit Card That Earns Points
If you’ve been dragging your feet on this – don’t! I have a credit card that earns me 1-3 times the points on every purchase. I put everything on my credit card where I can earn points and then trade them for multiple airline partners for loyalty points.
Let’s be real. The flight is always one of the most expensive parts to traveling. If you can get your flight for free, you’re not just going to save on travel – you’ll also remove the biggest barrier most people have to traveling.
3) Airbnb is Your Friend
If you’re staying somewhere for a week, then an airbnb is totally worth it once you factor in the cleaning fee. The biggest savings here is having a kitchen where you can make your own breakfast and lunch – I usually like to go out for dinner. If you’re trying to cut costs, an airbnb might be cheaper and more spacious.
4) Check the Exchange Rate
Need a cheap vacation? Check your home country’s exchange rate against the exchange rate of the country that you want to visit. South America, Southeast Asia are incredible destinations where you can save on travel instantly with a favourable exchange rate. While we were in Costa Rica a beer was a $1 and a taco was $2. Accomodations started from $80 USD a night!
For my Canadian readers – are there any destinations currently accepting Canadian dollars at par? This is a great way to save 20% instantly!
5) Skip the Fine Dining
I like to eat where the locals eat. Instead of asking my concierge for restaurant recommendations – I like to ask the valets for the hidden gems of the city I’m visiting. Check local sites like Yelp, Eater or Lonely Planet for great local spots and avoid the tourist traps. You’ll get a more authentic experience in your destination.
6) Fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday
I don’t know about you, but I usually find the best rates if I opt to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday instead of a Friday or Monday. Flights are usually less crowded and you might get lucky and score an empty seat next to you.
7) Book Your Flight Early
The earlier you book your flight, the cheaper it’s going to be. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to save money on travel. If you book at least 2 months out – you should be ok. Kayak.com has a really great price prediction tool that can show you whether they think a price will go up or down and suggest to you whether to buy or wait.
8) What About the Train?
Can you save money by taking the train instead of a plane? This is sometimes the case when you are traveling short distances in Europe. You’re better off taking a high-speed train and skipping all that airport hassle at the same time.
9) Free Admission Nights
Museums and galleries usually offer a free admission night. Sometimes it’s once a month, sometimes it’s once a week. It’s worth looking into if you have a lot of museums and galleries on your trip itinerary as admissions can be as high as $20 a person.
So what are your tricks on how to save money on travel?