Summer is the peak season for traveling, as schools are out and the weather is nice. Unfortunately, companies take advantage of raising costs, making it much more expensive to travel. Here are a few money saving tips to make traveling more affordable.
1. Consider other places to stay
Hotel costs vary. However, generally speaking, they make up a significant portion of travel expenses. Hotel rooms tend to be more expensive when the hotel is located within the city, so look for other options in surrounding towns—traveling back and forth between the city and hotel will be worth the money you save.
Alternatively, consider staying at a hostel, especially if you are on a road trip. Hostels are inexpensive and provide both lodging and food. Meanwhile, if you are planning on staying in the same location for an extended period, renting an apartment or home will be the superior option. Airbnb is an increasingly popular site that allows travelers to rent homes in line with their needs and budgets.
2. Be flexible about transportation
Transportation makes up another significant portion of traveling expenses, especially when flying. Flights from international airports tend to be much more expensive; look into flights from regional airports to find cheaper alternatives. It’s also worth considering a road trip that allows you to stop at more locations and save airplane costs. Once you’re at your destination, live like a local by taking public transportation or renting a bike. Find locations that provide hourly car rentals if you plan on making a quick trip to another location.
3. Talk to others
Use your own experience, but also draw on the experiences of others. Ask family and friends to help you make the best of your tie and money by avoiding tacky tourist traps and discovering hidden attractions. You can even read online reviews on attractions, products, airlines, and restaurants to ensure a quality investment.
4. Avoid excess fees
Extraneous costs may arise, and it’s important to do research ahead of time in order to avoid them. For example, driving on major highways on the East Coast guarantees tolls. Purchasing or borrowing an E-Z Pass may potentially save you money, depending on how far and how often you drive. Research ticket packages as well, especially if you plan on going to an attraction for more than one day. The National Parks offer an annual pass for $80 while access for one day costs about $30. A road trip to three parks, such as Zion, Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon (all located in the same proximity), will cost less using a seasonal pass. Another way to avoid miscellaneous costs is to avoid in-room amenities at hotels. The minibar, pay per view, and room service are not always necessary and cost exorbitant amounts.
5. Travel with others
Splitting costs on meals/room fees and sharing products (such as a GPS) are additional benefits of traveling with family or friends. In addition to saving gas costs, carpooling at certain attractions save ticket costs. Passes to the National Parks are based on each car; carpooling will decrease the cost for everyone and allows for the cost to be split among several people. Also, take advantage of group discounts with attractions or tour companies.
6. Plan meals
Planning meals is crucial when traveling. Read reviews of restaurants to find out which ones to splurge on and what to order. Additionally, talk to locals for recommendations; locals will know where to get authentic, inexpensive meals that are worth experiencing. Avoid Western or American brand-name restaurants in other countries, as they are typically more expensive than their equivalents in America. If you have the opportunity, go grocery shopping and cook a few of your meals or buy snacks. You will be more likely to eat healthily and save money.
7. Take advantage of discounts and rewards
Plan ahead by booking hotels or tickets using discount search engines like Expedia and Priceline. You may even find coupons for attractions and restaurants online or in travel brochures. Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of your age or use your student ID to get discounted tickets, and utilize credit card and airline mileage points to get free hotel stays. You may be able to avoid spending any money on lodging if you use your points wisely.