13 Insider Tips to Save Money on Travel

  • Use charter airlines and secondary airports: charter airlines (EasyJet, Ryan Air, Jet Blue Airways, USA 3000 Airlines, Air Transat, WestJet) are generally significantly cheaper than scheduled flights. Here is a list of low-cost airlines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_low-cost_airlines
  • Haggle: Haggling can sometimes help you save money, especially if you are traveling off-season. Call hotels directly and ask if they offer special discounts. Some hotels may be willing to offer you great deals if they have extra capacity.
  • Book in advance: You have probably heard that a thousand times but booking in advance really helps you save money. Book your accommodation and plane tickets well in advance to get discounts.  Some airlines/hotels also offer discounts for online booking.
  • Plan your budget: Look for information about your destination online and plan a budget. Planning a budget will help you know exactly how much money you can spend during your trip. When you are traveling, try to stick to your budget as much as possible.


Mexico's Lake Chapala
Mexico’s Lake Chapala (image by travelandtransitions)
  • Pack light: Only pack essential things when you are going on vacation. Do not bring what you can buy at your destination (soap, shampoo, etc.). This will help you avoid extra charges at the airport. Also make sure to leave room in your suitcase if you are planning on bringing back a lot of souvenirs and items bought during your vacation.
  • Consider money exchange rates: If you are traveling to a foreign country, you should consider money exchange rates. Always try to get the best currency exchange rate you can by buying currencies at the right moment. Check out what the current rates are at http://www.xe.com/.
  • Go grocery shopping instead of eating out: Eating out can be really expensive. Restaurants usually imply spending big amounts of money, especially when you are not traveling alone. To save that money, go to local supermarkets and buy your own food instead of eating out every day. However, if you do decide to eat out, ask local people about cheap restaurants and try to avoid restaurants that are listed in travel books, as they usually attract more tourists and are more expensive because of the high traffic they get from those books.
  • Save money on attractions: A lot of museums and other attractions offer discounts/are free on specific days of the week/month. For example, the Louvre museum in Paris is free every Sunday of the month and on the French national day (July 14). Before going on vacation, visit the websites of the attractions you are planning to visit, look for free hours or special discounts and make sure to plan your trip accordingly. If you are short of money, you should also look for free things to do: visit free gardens, attend free concerts, visit the city’s neighborhoods, etc. Finally, consider self-guided tours (stop at your destination’s visitor center and grab a map of the city. Visitor centers are a great way to get tips about your destination) and buying passes (most large cities offer passes and discounts to access famous attractions. Check out http://www.citypass.com/).
Berlin's East Side Gallery
Berlin’s East Side Gallery (image by travelandtransitions)
  • Use public transportation instead of taxis: The best way to save money on vacation is to live as local people do. This includes using the public transportation system instead of taking a taxi. In most countries, taxis are expensive, whereas taking a bus never costs a lot of money. Go to the bus/train/subway station and ask the officer about discounts and transportation passes.
  • Share: Travel with friends and you’ll be able to save on fixed costs such a accommodation and car rentals. Split a hotel room or share an apartment. Buy a cheap all-inclusive vacation package and save yourself the single’s surcharge. And you’ll have a travel partner to share your great experiences with.
  • Use all-inclusive vacation packages: Often, when you add up a flight, accommodation and meals, an all-inclusive vacation package will come out less expensive than the individual costs for each of these items by themselves. Even if you prefer adventurous individual travel and are not the type to roast on a beach for a week, book a package deal to cover your basics and head out on your adventures from your affordable home base. You’ll save a ton of money and you’ll still have an exciting trip.
  • Spoil yourself selectively: If you are going away for a longer period of time, travel cheaply for 80 or 90 % of the time, and spoil yourself the rest of the time. That luxury hotel room or that scrumptious upscale restaurant dinner will mean even more to you if it’s a special treat. Adjust your indulgences based on your budget, and really savour the opulent moments on special occasions. You will appreciate them more!
"The Bean" in Chicago
“The Bean” in Chicago (image by travelandtransitions)

We hope you have enjoyed our special budget travel tips. Here are some more useful articles for you about affordable and unconventional travel:

Have a look at our article about couch-surfing: a great money-saving idea.
Money-saving tips for travel to Europe – part 1
Money-saving tips for travel to Europe – part 2
RV-ing: travelling with a recreational vehicle can be another affordable travel option
Houseboating – another create way to save money on travel
Get your accommodation for free: caretaking for global rent-free living
Visit our website for additional travel advice, first-person travel stories and interviews with interesting people.


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