Although some vacations are inevitably expensive at the purchase point, there are loads of ways to save money once you’re there enjoying the beach, exhibits, or local culture.Here are our top 9 ways to save money while you’re on vacation or taking your next trip.
If you’re heading out of town for more than three days, consider renting an apartment or home instead of spending the money on a hotel. Hotels can cost upwards of $400 per night, where you might be able to get a week’s stay at $500 in total. You’ll also have access to a kitchen, which can save on eating out, as well as parking and often free Internet. Check out sites like vrbo.com, homeaway.com, and flipkey.com.
2. Bring food
You don’t have to pack full meals, but consider bringing some snacks along. If you’re doing the tourist thing, chances are the places you’re visiting have jacked-up prices… and you’ll be paying ridiculous amounts of money for drinks and snack items. If you don’t want to pack it, visit a local grocer once you’re there, and pick out some snacks that will keep you satisfied while you hit the hot spots. We love Sensible Foods snacks, and some of our favourite cookies and bars come from Raw for Dessert, all of which are easily transportable.
3. Take public transport
If you’re going to an easily accessible city, consider public transportation instead of renting a car. You can purchase a weekly pass, which is often cheaper than pulling out the stops for an economy car… and, you don’t have to worry about parking.
4. Check credit card fees
If you’re going to a different country, you should contact your credit card provider and see what the fee is for transactions. Usually there is a cost in addition to the exchange rate, and it might be more worth your while to use local ATMs and pay the service charge.
5. Start saving early
Each day, cut a corner to save a little cash (in addition to what you already do). Go for a medium coffee instead of a large, dine in at a cheaper take-away than going out for dinner, look for groceries on sale, borrow a movie from a friend instead of renting, and go an extra couple weeks without getting your hair cut. Each time you cut a corner, put the cash aside… then put that toward trip spending money.
6. Move your travel dates
If you’re flexible, consider moving your travel dates, just by a little. Often, even a day or two can make a huge difference in price.
7. Ask for discounts
There are loads of places we get discounts where we might not know it. AAA and CAA, for example, offer discounts on car rentals, vacation insurance, and hotel stays. Senior discounts can apply earlier than we think (even at age 55). There may also be a student rate. Some hotels give discounts booking and paying ahead of time, so seek out those, too.
8. Check out what’s free
If your itinerary is filled with expensive outings, do a search to see what else is free in the area. Often museums and galleries charge no admission. You can also see what packages are available for the city… Just Google their local tourist Website and see what’s available.
9. Consider volunteering
There are many organizations that connect folks who want to give back while they travel, and the people that’ll host them. In turn, you end up having a great trip while giving back to the communities, wildlife, and environments at their destination. We’ve outlined a load of them in our articles Global Eco-Volunteerism with GoEco and Other Eco-volunteer Opportunities.