I am a firm believer in the idea that anyone can travel if they make it a priority. People will spend money on what they think is important – whether its a nice dinner out, new clothes, a piece of furniture, or a plane ticket. That being said, I totally get that travel can be super expensive. No one wants to blow their savings on a trip (even if it is a once in a lifetime opportunity!) Over the years, I have found a few ways to make travel more affordable. By adhering to these methods, I am able to minimize spending while traveling – making it much more affordable. Check out my tips here:
- Don’t eat out every meal. The cost of food can add up quickly while traveling. People don’t really like the idea of cooking while on vacation. However, it can be super fun! Take a trip to the local grocery or even better – the local outdoor market. You really don’t need to get fancy either. Grab local, fresh bread and some butter/jam to eat every morning and you just saved yourself a good amount of money! If eating out on vacation is a priority to you, I totally get it. Try to eat simply at home the month before you leave. This way, you can have the extra cash to splurge once you arrive at your destination.
- Use public transportation. Whenever I travel, the first thing I do is grab a metro map. I think I knew the bus routes in Rome better than I knew the DC metro back home. Sometimes it can be intimidating thinking about using public transportation in a foreign country or city. After studying the map for a few minutes, they are usually pretty easy to figure out. If you have questions, simply ask the attendant at the station. It’s okay to be confused! This method will save you TONS in cab fares.
- Stay at AirBnB or hostels. I am a huge fan of AirBnB and use it whenever I can! It is incredibly less expensive than hotels. Usually, you can get your own apartment with much more space than a small hotel room. Hostels are also an excellent way to save money on accommodations. While hostels are known for shared rooms, many have private rooms as well! Whenever I am traveling, I am there to see the sites and don’t spend much time in my room anyways. Here is a $40 off coupon for AirBnB!
- Use rewards points. The value of travel credit cards and loyalty programs are insane. I pretty much never pay for flights anymore because of my travel rewards card. Guys, if you aren’t using these methods, you are passing up some great opportunities for cheap travel! The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you 50,000 points as a sign-up bonus if you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months. That is enough points to get you a round trip flight to anywhere in the world! Just make sure you pay off the card every month and don’t overspend! If you can properly manage a credit card, this is a great way to get discounted travel. Check out my post about how I use rewards points here!
- Be flexible with travel dates. Traveling during off season times can be a huge money saver. It can also lead to fun, unique adventures. Ever seen Iceland during winter? It’s much cheaper than the summer and you get the chance to see the northern lights! Traveling in the middle of the week, instead of the weekends, is proven to be more cost efficient as well. Sometimes, airfare on a Wednesday is half the price of airfare on a Saturday!
- Eat where the locals eat. I have always heard the “six block rule”. Always walk six blocks away from tourist attractions to find the real local, cheap food! Try to avoid eating in tourist areas because prices will be hiked up. Avoid food courts at all costs! You will get a more enjoyable, more authentic experience eating like a local!
- Withdraw money from ATMs instead of exchanging at the airport. Withdrawing money at an ATM is cheaper, and more convenient. I never understood why people would use the currency exchanges. They have huge fees and are basically stealing your money! Just let your bank know you will be traveling and use your bank card at any ATM. There are ATMs at basically every corner no matter where you go, so cash will never be too far away, if needed.
- Free walking tours. This is one of my favorites! Usually, every major city across the world has some free walking tours. Now, they aren’t exactly free because you are expected to tip th guide. However, you can decide what you think the tour was worth. It’s an excellent way to do some sightseeing for cheap and you still get a guide to give you the inside scoop. I usually try to do a tour like this near the very beginning of my trip since it helps me get my bearings in a new place!
- Stop buying souvenirs. I cant remember the last time I actually bought a souvenir on vacation. I like to make GoPro videos, so I focus on that for my memories instead of a shot glass with the Eiffel Tower on it. Seriously though, those little knick knacks can add up – especially if you buy gifts for people. There is no need to buy gifts for family and friends back home. Your luggage space and wallet will thank you! Enjoy your trip clutter free.
- Research discounts beforehand. You will be amazed at the discounts available at most tourist attractions around the world. I got into the 9/11 memorial in NYC for half price because I still carry my old student ID in my wallet. I also got into the Eiffel Tower at a discounted rate because I was under the age of 25. Do a little research before heading out and you could save some money! There is almost always a discount for kids, so if you are traveling with minors, you need to check it out beforehand!
Do you have any methods to help minimize spending while on vacation? I would love to know some more ideas! Let me know in the comments!
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