Money-Saving Tips for Travel: Stretch Your Dollar, Euro, Peso, or Yen!
At PassportInfo.com, we believe that travel is one of the best things you can spend your money on. Cars break, clothes go out of fashion, but travel creates incredible memories that you can enjoy for the rest of your life! We don’t want limited funds to keep you at home, so today we’re going to share some of our favorite money-saving tips for travelers. Even if you are a well-heeled luxury traveler, check this out — many of the ways you can save money while traveling are also ways to enhance your experience of your destination!
Tip 1: Travel Off-Season
Almost every destination has a “high season” when it seems like everyone wants to visit. Sometimes those peak times are based on the weather. For instance, most tourists prefer to visit Russia in the spring and summer, rather than the cold and snowy winter. Other high seasons are based on holidays and events, like the flood of travelers who flock to Brazil for Carnaval, or to Mexico for spring break. During those popular times of the year, you can expect airfares and hotel prices to be at a maximum.
You can save a lot of money by choosing to travel off-season. You’ll be able to snag a lower price on your airfare. If you’re lucky, you might even hit a big off-season sale on your air ticket! You’ll also find that hotels and resorts charge less for their rooms during the low season.
Benefits beyond saving money: Traveling off-season means that you aren’t going to be fighting through crowds at every attraction. You’ll get a more authentic experience of your destination since it won’t be full of other tourists. And we hear that Russia is beautiful in the winter!
Tip 2: Avoid Airline Add-On Fees
We’ve already looked at one of the ways you can save money on your air ticket, by flying with a low-cost airline. But what you see as the price when you book your ticket might not be the final price you wind up paying! Airlines make a lot of money in what they call “ancillary revenue” and we call fees. It pays to read the fine print before you book your ticket so you will understand exactly what your flight will really cost you.
One of the most important things to check is what you will be charged for luggage. Airline fees for luggage range wildly. Some airlines allow you free checked bags, and others will charge you even for your carry-ons! Whether you have to pay for your bag or not, don’t overstuff it. Every airline has weight limits for baggage. If your bag is too heavy, you will wind up paying an extra fee at the airport. (Bonus money saving tip: keep your bag light by wearing your heaviest items of clothing. Even if you just have your thick sweater tied over your shoulders, it won’t count toward your baggage weight!)
Keep your eyes open for other possible fees, such as:
- Phone purchase fees. If you book your ticket over the phone with the airline, you might get dinged with a fee you could avoid if you book online on the airline’s website.
- Desk check-in or boarding pass fees. Print your boarding pass at home to save yourself a fee for having your pass printed at the check-in desk.
- Seat selection fee. On some airlines, you are given the choice to pay extra for a preferred seat, such as a bulkhead seat or a seat in an exit row. On other airlines, you’ll pay a fee just to pick out any seat! You can bypass this fee by rolling the dice and allowing the airline to choose your seat.
- Onboard snack charges. $5 for a 2-inch high can of Pringles? No thanks. Bring your own snacks from home to avoid getting gouged for food in the air. You might even find it less expensive to buy a meal from an airport restaurant and carry it on board than to pay airline prices.
Benefits beyond saving money: Packing lightly to avoid being charged for a checked bag means that you won’t have to struggle with heavy suitcases during your trip. You might make a new friend if you accept a random seat selection on the plane, and we can guarantee that any snacks or carry-out meals you bring on the flight will be tastier than anything that comes out of the galley kitchen.
Tip 3: Ride Public Transport
If you’ve got the means to book a limousine to chauffeur you around during your vacation, more power to you! But for most of us, that kind of expense is way beyond our travel budget. Even rental cars (and gasoline!) and taxis can add up to a huge chunk of your vacation funds.
That’s why one of our favorite money saving tips is to ride public transport! You will save a ton of money by riding local buses, trains, trams, and subways instead of using cabs or renting a car. Do some research on public transport in your destination before your trip. You may be able to save even more money by buying a pass rather than purchasing individual tickets.
Benefit beyond saving money: Riding urban public transport really lets you experience the city like a local. It also frees you up from the stress that comes with dealing with a rental car in a foreign country, and having to navigate traffic, find parking, and read road signs that might be in a foreign language. Using trains and buses to travel between cities also gives you the chance to relax and take in the scenery, and time to chat with your fellow passengers.
Tip 4: Eat Like a Local
Even if your travel plans include reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants, we’d encourage you to eat some of your meals outside of a dining room!
Don’t get us wrong, we love eating at restaurants, and exploring local restaurants is one of our favorite things to do when we travel. But three meals a day at a restaurant can get to be expensive, especially if you are traveling with a family! One great money saving tip for travel is to eat the way that local people do, instead of going to restaurants for every single meal.
- Shop for food at local grocery stores. If you are staying at a place with a full kitchen, like an Airbnb apartment, you’ll be able to shop at supermarkets to make meals at your home-away-from-home. But even if you are staying at a hotel, you can use local groceries to stock up on bottled water and snacks to avoid paying tourist-trap prices when you are out and about.
- Explore local markets. Street markets are a vibrant, exciting way to shop for food the way that locals do. There’s no better way to discover local ingredients and flavors! They can also be a great place to pick up souvenirs at much lower prices than you’ll find in shops.
- Eat street food. From New York hot dogs to Mexico City tacos to Shanghai dumplings, some of the most iconic food experiences can be found on the street! Look for stalls or carts that have a line of locals, and you’ll be sure to find something tasty, authentic, and inexpensive.
Benefits beyond saving money: Shopping at local groceries, bakeries, and street markets is a fun way to explore the local culture. Getting meals from street vendors is not just inexpensive and (most likely) delicious, but is a time-saver, too. If you are trying to cram a lot of sightseeing into a few days, you can grab something awesome to eat on the go.
Originally published at passportinfo.com on May 1, 2017.