25 tips that work – to save money on your next vacation
- 1. Compare prices
- 2. Make a budget
- 3. Book your flights ahead of time
- 4. Pack smart
- 5. Choose the road less traveled
- 6. Consider visiting during the off-season
- 7. Fly earlier in the week
- 8. Pack food and drinks for long trips
- 9. Minimize the holiday shopping
- 10. Have an exclusive bank account for your travel expenses
- 11. Check if your credit card has travel rewards
- 12. Rent out your place
- 13. Consider homestays for accommodation
- 14. Use public transportation
- 15. Walk
- 16. Visit and shop in the local supermarkets
- 17. Enjoy a Picnic
- 18. Try the local dishes
- 19. Make lunch your big meal
- 20. Avoid the minibar
- 21. Look for free days at tourist spots that charge an entry fee
- 22. Talk to the locals
- 23. Plan a road trip
- 24. Use Free Wi-Fi
- 25. Carry your own water bottle
As travel opens up worldwide, most people are busy planning trips and exploring destinations. If you are, too, I am sure you are naturally looking for ways to save money on your next vacation, am I right?
According to a survey, 74% of American tourists admit accruing more than $1,100 debt from their holiday. Overspending on holiday is not just a US problem. It is a global issue experienced by many travelers all around the world. Financial advisors agree that even people who have no money problems in normal times are prone to overspending during their vacations.
Why do we lose control of money when we travel? There are many reasons for our holiday debt. Indeed, first of all, it is fair to say that traveling is expensive, even if you are careful with your money. You have to consider flight tickets, accommodation, and visits, which are exceptional expenses compared to your day-to-day routine.
Additionally, traveling is a luxury. So, most people are unwilling to restrict themselves. It doesn’t feel like a real holiday if you can’t afford to indulge a little. Yet, more often than not, holidaymakers find themselves spending blindly without getting more enjoyment from their money.
So, how to save money on your next vacation without sacrificing the fun?
Here are 25 ways we’ve learned, through experience, to save money when we travel. Use these to save money on your next vacation.
25 tips that work – to save money on your next vacation
1. Compare prices
Take the time to shop around when you are planning your vacation. It can be a good idea to check for discounts and voucher codes on a site such as Netvouchercodes.co.uk, where you can find fantastic offers at an attractive price. Contrary to common belief, travel prices don’t necessarily go up the longer you wait.
In fact, it is definitely worth investigating some of the best discounts and offers available from renowned companies before making your purchase. From 25% off your hotel costs to 15% off in your dream resort, there are many ways to make it cheaper without compromising quality and services!
Also, we have found that with accommodations, browsing around to get the details off aggregator sites and then, approaching the hotel directly often works out to be more economical.
2. Make a budget
This should probably have been the first tip—but you know how it is. We enjoy diving into the costs and then arrive at an estimate to set aside for our travel. So, to save money on your next vacation, make a budget. When you do this, decide on a final upper limit that you will not exceed. This excludes emergencies that you cannot avoid.
This will help you a great deal when you are making your broad itinerary and estimating airfare, transportation, stay, getting around your destination, food, shopping, and other expenses you might have. When you make a budget, you become conscious of your spending even as you stay within your plan.
As you work on your budget, research your destination and list your major expenses such as airfare if you are planning to fly, accommodation, eating out vs cooking, renting a taxi vs using public transportation, and so on. Once you have some figures down on paper, add a 15% buffer to this to take care of cost fluctuations.
3. Book your flights ahead of time
To get the best cost benefits off your airfares, book as far ahead as you can. As you must have probably experienced, the earlier you book your flight, the better your chances of getting a cheaper fare.
Why is that? Airlines have an algorithm that sets the pricing based on demand. As your date of departure draws closer, the prices shoot up. Waiting too long to book your tickets can end in disappointment as all the low-cost fares will be grabbed up and you’ll have no choice but to pay through your nose. So, the sooner the better if you have decided on your vacation dates so that you can save money on your next vacation.
4. Pack smart
If you plan to fly to your vacation destination, pack smart to avoid excess baggage costs. While it feels good to think that you’ve got yourself covered for emergencies, being faced with extra baggage costs can come as a rude shock.
Overpacking may make you feel more confident, but it can end up denting your holiday budget. So, it’s important to pack smartly and not fill up your case with things you will never need. Start your packing routine with a few checks regarding your destination climate and the activities ahead of you. It’s a great way of figuring out what you really need. Keep a list of clothes and other items so you can make sure you’re not packing too much or too little.
Make a list. Then pack the essentials. I used to add all kinds of extras “just in case”. The truth is, it is easy to recycle clothes when we are on a trip. Anything we have forgotten can usually easily be purchased wherever we are. Also, it definitely helps to travel light, as I’ve discovered—I enjoy the feeling of not having to wait hours for my check-in luggage to arrive.
5. Choose the road less traveled
Some holiday destinations are more expensive than others. While it doesn’t mean you can’t visit these places, you need to be a little creative. For instance, cities such as Seoul are popular for their historic sites and nightlife. Tourists spend on average $181 per day in Seoul. The truth is that some of these expenses are unavoidable.
However, you can avoid the high tourist season where accommodation and travel costs are likely to increase. Additionally, you can also consider staying outside of big cities to save costs.
If you are looking for a relaxing vacation with no visit activities, you can avoid expenses more easily. Are you looking for a beach holiday? Places such as the French Riviera are typically on the extreme side when it comes to costs. But, if you look for less popular regions, such as Varna in Bulgaria or the Aran Islands in Ireland, you could be getting a lot more for your money.
6. Consider visiting during the off-season
Just as stay, food, and other activities are at their most expensive during the high season, the opposite is true for the off-season. When you plan your vacation during the off-season, there are fewer tourists around, hotels offer great discounted rates.
When we visited the Andaman Islands during the off-season, our trip was infinitely better and cheaper than it would have been if we had gone during the “best season to visit”.
7. Fly earlier in the week
Interestingly enough, booking your flights for the first half of the week means better pricing and deals. Choose to fly later in the day. It works out to be less expensive. This is probably because the weekend commuters are higher, therefore taking the fares up from Thursday to Sunday. I have personally experienced this.
8. Pack food and drinks for long trips
The average traveler starts their holiday debt even before they reach their destination. Indeed, long trips such as long-haul flights or road journeys need frequent food and drink breaks. But if you don’t pack food for the journey, you are more likely to pay a high price for unhealthy options, such as chocolate biscuits and crisps.
So, you may want to prepare a few simple and cost-effective options that will keep you full and healthy. Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein that will keep you satisfied for longer. The same goes for nuts and trail mixes that keep for longer. Fresh fruit and vegetable, such as apples, carrots, or grapes, are another fantastic option on the road or on a plane.
Don’t forget to carry food for your airport waits! Once you get through security and have to wait on delayed flights, you will feel hungry. We know how expensive airport food is—so think ahead and pack yourself a box.
Additionally, it can also be a great idea to consider rentals instead of hotel rooms for a prolonged stay. While a holiday home may appear expensive at first, you could save a lot of money on food by cooking rather than eating out. Besides, you’re in control of what you eat, which will avoid any unpleasant surprises! Eating out every day for a family of four could easily spend your usual monthly budget in under a week!
9. Minimize the holiday shopping
This sounds obvious but do focus on buying less and exploring more. Use that money to travel, and gather experiences and memories. I used to imagine that I need to bring back a memento from every place I visited. I no longer do that because so much has piled up that I resent the dusting. I also realized that I enjoy looking through the photos more, and hardly ever look at the things I bought.
10. Have an exclusive bank account for your travel expenses
Open a bank account that you can use only for your travel expenses. Look for one that offers unlimited ATM withdrawals and no transaction fees and other benefits. Using this account when you travel also helps you control your spending and keep track.
11. Check if your credit card has travel rewards
If not, apply for one that does. These days you can get lifetime-free credit cards with sign-up offers against travel shopping that add up to pretty decent benefits that could help you save money on your vacation.
Each time you use your card, you also earn cashback and points that can be redeemed for exciting savings on flight fares, hotel bookings, restaurants, and more.
12. Rent out your place
If feasible and if you plan to be away for a length of time, you may want to consider renting your place out or even subletting your extra bedroom. This will help you save money on your next vacation. Some of my friends host visitors and travelers in exchange for a fee and it helps them save money while helping others do it too.
13. Consider homestays for accommodation
Sure, hotels are wonderful but depending on your destination and location, the prices can be exorbitant. Why not consider homestays that can give you the comfort and all the amenities you need? You may also be able to cook your own food enabling you to save more.
14. Use public transportation
Rather than rent a cab, why not use public transportation? Not only will it save you money but also provides a great way to explore your destination while keeping you connected.
Buses, trams, ferries, and trains are fun to travel in so make sure you find out what your destination offers when you plan your trip. When you opt for public transportation, many destinations offer travel cards that let you get more for your buck. These are much better than forking out change for tickets every time.
Another way to immerse yourself while experiencing your destination is to walk around. It is such a great way to get to know the place even as you save substantial money on taxis. You also get your exercise for the day, walking off those pounds. A friend of mine prefers to rent a cycle and go around. Just as good to save money on your next vacation!
16. Visit and shop in the local supermarkets
Shopping for food at the local markets is a great way to save money on your next vacation. It is wonderful to mingle with the people and get to know their cuisine. If your accommodation includes a kitchen you have the added joy of trying new recipes.
17. Enjoy a Picnic
Just as packing your own food for a flight saves big bucks, the same applies to packing your lunch when you are out sightseeing. It saves you the hassle of looking for a suitable place within your budget to eat. Instead, just carry your own lunch or shop at the local market and enjoy a delicious meal without having to settle for a pricey restaurant.
18. Try the local dishes
When you are on vacation, try the local dishes. These are cheaper and tastier than looking for expensive western food whose ingredients are not always locally available. Instead, go for what the locals eat and enjoy the experience and the hospitality.
19. Make lunch your big meal
Linger over your lunch rather than dinner—which tends to be more expensive. I remember visiting a restaurant during one of our trips where the same items cost more at dinner than at lunch. These days you can research the menus of restaurants you would like to visit and read reviews before you land there and find it is not in your budget.
20. Avoid the minibar
This is a lesson I learned the hard way. I did not realize that the well-stocked minibar in our nice hotel room was super expensive. Besides the alcohol, it had chocolates and other snacks that I did not think twice about enjoying. Imagine my shock when I found that it escalated my bill! Lesson learned. Do not touch the minibar
21. Look for free days at tourist spots that charge an entry fee
If you, like me, enjoy visiting the local museum, art galleries, and other monuments when you travel, you’ll know how much it costs to shell out the entry fee for each visit. I had no idea that many destinations had “free admission” days before I accidentally stumbled on one.
I immediately made a mental note to check before I made my itinerary. Sure there will be long queues but that has a charm all its own so long as you plan for it. Definitely, one way to save money on your next vacation!
22. Talk to the locals
The most reliable tips come from the locals because they know all the secrets! So talk to the locals. Talk to your host, if you are staying in a homestay. Talk to the staff at the hotel, talk to the staff at the coffee shop. Besides the delightful stories, you will get authentic information on where to go, and what to see.
If you already have a list, you’ll learn some great tips. They’ll tell you which areas to avoid, which ones to visit, where to eat and so much more. Far, far more fun than signing up for an official tour!
23. Plan a road trip
We once planned a trip but could not find flight bookings for the week we had planned. We then decided on going on an impromptu road trip that turned out to be far cheaper than flying out. So budget-friendly! The cost of the cab equaled one person’s airfare, to and fro. Moreover, we enjoyed the flexibility of stopping wherever we wanted.
Also, road trips are fun. The time spent together, the joy of discovering places we might never have had we been on a flight—it was amazing. So think about it.
24. Use Free Wi-Fi
During one of our trips abroad, I just dialed a phone number out of habit, only to find that after a minute of talking—my phone balance was gone. Too late I realized that I could have easily made a WhatsApp call via free wi-fi.
So next time you travel, remember this. You’ll usually find free wi-fi at airports, cafes, coffee shops, hotels, and more. When you are researching your trip, look for places that offer complimentary wi-fi.
25. Carry your own water bottle
My final tip, for now, is to carry your own water bottle. It saves you from having to buy water—some places are so expensive. Obviously, you have to stay hydrated and with your own refillable bottle, you can fill it when you come across places you can fill it for free. Added benefit? It is eco-friendly as you won’t be adding your share of plastic to the landfills.
There is no denying that holidays should be all about indulgence. Yet, you can indulge and still keep your purse strings tightly shut together! Smart research and packing tips will save you money ahead. Thinking about your food choices can also make a huge difference. Use the tips above to save money on your next vacation!
Enjoy your trip!