Travel is amazing but it can also be expensive. Using travel hacks to save money will enable you to travel without breaking the bank. You don’t have to be frugal to save money. You can still stay in nice places, eat nice meals and not miss out on experiences because of the cost. I’ve switched my mentality to “this may be the only time I’m ever able to go to this destination” and every time I go somewhere, I try to take full advantage. I’ve realized there are too many great places to go and too little time to see them all so I make sure when I travel, I do it right. Below are 5 travel hacks to save money.
Save Money on Transportation To and From Your Destination
If I can only get away for a few days, I look at where there are nice places to go within driving distance. Driving is cheaper than flying, but at a certain point if you only have a certain amount of time for vacation and a flight can get you there in two hours compared to ten hours of driving, take the flight.
Waiting to buy airfare can end up costing you hundreds of dollars. Don’t waste your time continuously checking sites though – automate it! Set alerts on Hopper if you know exactly what destination you’re going to and when. Don’t know where or when you want to go somewhere yet? Use Google Flights. Pick the time you want to travel and Google Flights will show you how much airfare will cost to a variety of places for that time period. You can also pick flexible schedules and Google will show you the cheapest time to travel.
There has also been research done to help you find the perfect booking window based on where you’re traveling to save the most amount of money on your flight.
Save Money on Ground Transportation At Your Destination
When you get to your destination, know your local transportation options. Getting a hotel in close proximity of everything may be cheaper than renting a car or getting a taxi / Uber as you can walk everywhere. Many hotels also charge fees to park. If you do have to rent a car, does your company offer a discount code for personal travel? Are there local buses and trains that don’t add too much extra time to get from point A to point B?
Save Money on Lodging
Staying with family and friends will always be the cheapest. Staying at a hostel is a close second. If you don’t want to impose or you’d like a nicer option there are still ways to save on lodging. If you’re going with a group, renting a house will be the cheapest. You’ll get the personal space you want and you’ll be able to split the house multiple ways. If you’d like to stay at a hotel or resort, don’t fret. Do you have friends or family that work at a hotel? Some hotels offer friends and family discounts as one of their employee benefits. Have you ever looked into whether your company offers discounts on personal travel? Some companies have offer codes you can use to get a corporate discount for your personal travel.
Save Money By Using Credit Card, Hotel and Flight Points
There are loyalty programs where you can earn points and redeem them for travel. Most airlines, hotels and car rental companies have loyalty programs where you can sign up for free. Usually you have to have some activity in a certain time period or else you lose the points. Where you can, try to standardize on a one hotel chain, one airline and one car rental company so you can get status and get additional perks. However, if this is the more expensive option or increases inconvenience choose what is best. I usually buy airline tickets until I get status for the year and then I redeem my points for travel after I hit that.
Another way to pay for travel with points is to get a travel friendly credit card. You’re always going to have bills to pay and expenses, why not put it on a credit card which will give you points to redeem on travel?
Save Time Planning Travel
Planning a trip can take hours over the course of weeks. You always have the option to pay a travel agent. If you don’t want to pay anyone, ask on social media if anyone has recommendations for where you are going. Reach out to friends that have been to that destination before and ask for their itinerary. If your friends have very similar taste, you’ll be able to copy the majority of their trip and have a great time.
Learn about more ways to save time and money in 5 Ways You’re Wasting Money And How To Fix It.
I echo that transportation comment. When I went to Nashville, I opted for a $2 bus ticket to downtown from the airport, rather than a $20 Uber. And then I hopped off the bus one stop early so I could walk about a half-mile past some of the destinations I wanted to check out later and familiarize myself with the area.
I made the mistake of getting Ubers/Lyfts/taxis in Vegas in February and that cost me almost $100 to get around. The next morning I learned about the buses ($2!) and took one down the Strip and another for $2 to the airport. WIN!
I can never believe how much transportation adds up, but I echo the comment about Vegas. It can end up being over $100 easily to get around the strip! Great find on the $2 buses in Vegas, I will definitely take advantage of that next time (whatever year that may be at this rate.. lol)
Baby Boomer Super Saver says
Great tips, especially about transportation options close to the attractions you’ll be visiting. We just visited Barcelona and our hotel was right next to the famous Sagrada Familia – there were lots of other cool things to see within walking distance.
Usually I like to book a place to stay through Airbnb, so we can save money by cooking some of our meals, and it also gives us a chance to do laundry.
That sounds amazing! Great point on booking Airbnb to allow for cooking at home and also laundry!
The transportation point was such a great idea as I usually opt for getting a taxi to the hotel as oppose to public transport which would be cheaper most times.
Nicholas Nalbach says
Great tips! I travel quite a bit, but I always seem to find myself booking at the last minute (I know, poor planning /laziness on my part lol).
I’ve never heard of Hopper though! I might have to give that one a try.
Thanks for the tips!
I’ve been guilty of that myself- sometimes it is really hard to plan if you don’t know work / personal commitments around the travel! If you do book last minute, but aren’t tied to a location, you can still use Hopper and Google Flights to find where there are great last minute flight deals.