My husband and I have always wanted to travel more. However, travel can be very expensive. Depending on where you decide to go you could be paying for the cost of a flight, hotel, car rental, gas, luggage, food, souvenirs, and more. For the longest time we have limited our travel because we always thought it was unaffordable or that you had to be rich to travel. That is definitely not true! In doing some research we have discovered five (5) great tips that can save you money when traveling:
1. Pick a Hotel with Free Breakfast
A huge expense when it comes to traveling is the cost of food. Especially if you’re traveling to a tourist-y area! You can end up spending an arm and a leg for food alone when traveling. This can cause problems and cut into your expenses for other things on the trip. Luckily, many hotels now offer free continental breakfast! These free breakfasts aren’t like they were back in the day when all you could get was some pastries and an assortment of cereal. I’m talking about REAL breakfast. This includes stuff like eggs, bacon, pancakes, and free fruit!
Some hotels that offer this are Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and the list goes on. The best part? These types of hotels really don’t cost that much more than other hotel that don’t offer breakfast. It is well worth it to find a hotel that offers a free continental breakfast because that means you won’t have to spend money to buy breakfast elsewhere! Cutting out the cost of one of your meals for the day can make a huge difference.
2. Pack Snacks and Water
As I’ve already mentioned, food is one of the most expensive things you have to worry about when traveling. In addition, I find that traveling makes you feel awfully hungry all the time. Long flights, car rides, and visiting attractions all take a toll on you and makes you feel more hungry. I did some research to determine why traveling always makes you so hungry. What I found is that it has to do with your body being thrown out of its normal routine. It then gets confused as to when you’re supposed to be eating. This can sometimes cause you to be hungry all the time even when you don’t really need to eat.
In addition to this, airports and attractions all offer a variety of eating options. This forces you to encounter multiple temptations of food, making you want to eat more. Sitting at the airport and feeling bored can also cause you to be hungry and want to eat. However, if you fall prey to these temptations, you can end up dishing out a lot of money just to buy snacks whenever you feel hungry or are thirsty. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and buy snacks and water to carry with you. Buying snacks and drinks at the grocery store is going to be significantly cheaper than buying them at an airport or at other attractions. This way you can satisfy your hunger without breaking the bank.
3. Pick a Hotel within Walking Distance to Attractions
Picking the right hotel is going to be one of the most important things you do when you’re traveling. As I’ve already mentioned, picking a hotel that has free continental breakfast is going to save you a ton of money. But it’s also important to pick a hotel that is within walking distance or very close by to the area and attractions that you want to visit. Why? Picking a hotel that is within walking distance eliminates the need to rent a car or put wear and tear on your own personal vehicle. You also won’t have to pay for gas (which can be a lot more expensive than you are used to in your home state or country).
Walking to where you want to go also allows you to get the full experience of the city you’re visiting – and saves you from having to pay to park. You can really soak up the culture that way! If you are not within walking distance or can’t walk for health reasons, picking a hotel that is close by is still very important. It will reduce the costs associated with needing to Uber/Lyft to where you need to go. If you’re using your own car or a rental, it will also help reduce the cost of gas and/or tolls to drive around town. Choosing your hotel can be very difficult because there are so many options out there. Just make sure it is close by to attractions (or the places you’re interested in visiting) and has a free continental breakfast.
4. Take Advantage of Free Activities
You would not believe how many FREE activities there are to do no matter where you travel. We tend to focus on the big attractions that cost a lot – but the truth is they can end up being disappointing and they don’t really represent the culture or community of the place you are visiting. What you want to look for when traveling are local museums, galleries, public parks, beaches, local festivals, and street fairs. These things usually cost nothing and allow you to experience the local culture without spending a dime.
I live in Florida and naturally, everyone that comes here for vacation wants to go to Disney World, Universal Studios, or SeaWorld. I personally think they are all very expensive and overrated. You can get that experience by going to Universal City Walk or Disney Springs. These two places are just outside the attractions and FREE to go to. You can walk around and take in the sights and see the parks from afar. There are also lots of entertainment and performances that happen in these areas too.
5. Be Flexible With Your Dates
Everyone wants to travel around the holidays or in the summer. Companies know this and as a result flights, hotels and other travel related expenses tend to be at their highest. When making the decision to travel, it’s important to be flexible with the dates to get the most savings. For example, my husband and I wanted to go to Germany this October to experience Oktoberfest. However, when we started to look at booking things we realized how expensive it was to travel to Germany in October. Therefore, we changed our travel plans to the end of September. The cost was significantly cheaper and still allows us to experience the beginning of Oktoberfest.
However, September isn’t only a good month to travel to Germany – it’s a great month to travel anywhere. September is usually the end of peak travel season and when school starts again. Therefore, it’s considerably less crowded at attractions and much cheaper to travel in general. As an added bonus, the weather is usually really nice and not too cold or too hot. A few years back my husband and I visited Toronto, Canada in November because we didn’t have any set plans to dates and found a really great deal! It was really inexpensive during that time and the weather was just a little chilly, but overall not too bad. We really enjoyed our trip there and definitely plan on going back sometime.
Travel is an amazing experience. We all long to travel more but always make up excuses for why we can’t. The main excuse is that it’s too expensive and only the rich can afford to travel. While travel can be very expensive, there are things you can do to help you save money. I hope these five (5) tips prove to be helpful when you’re planning for your next vacation.
Planning a vacation and not sure where to start? Check out our post on How to Plan an Inexpensive Summer Vacation.