Traveling is one of the best ways to relax and reenergize.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the best ways to drain your bank account. Everything from food to flights has gotten more expensive.
Thankfully you can cut your travel costs substantially if you plan it right.
Here are some of the best cheap travel tips to follow to help you save money while planning your dream trip.
For those of you with fixed schedules, we’re sorry. Traveling during the low season is the easiest way to save substantially during your trip.
Almost everything you can think of, from airfare to tour prices, will be less expensive than during the season. You can often find flights for 50% or less the cost of a high season weekend-to-weekend ticket.
One bit of good news is that the high season happens at different times in different places. For Europe, it’s the spring-to-summer period. A good rule of thumb is that when the weather is consistently nice you should expect higher prices.
We know, we know, Disney World is awesome. If you’re looking to have the best vacation on a budget don’t be afraid to try out a new place.
One of the best ways to do this is to search for all destinations from your point of departure. This lets you see the cheapest flights going out to all points.
You can set it to your planned vacation time and figure out where you can go at the best price. It will surprise you how inexpensive some really cool sounding locales will be.
Everyone loves a sale, and the hospitality industry knows it. If you’re flexible with where you stay and how you get there you can often score a great deal on a limited sale.
Many low-cost carriers love to do this with their flights. If you bookmark their websites and check back, there’s a great chance you can score some discount tickets.
Hotels do this too. Lots of beautiful and exotic properties nonetheless have unsold rooms. If they’re looking at a large projected shortfall they might put some gorgeous rooms up at steep discounts.
Check out different hotel chains and be ready to pounce at a moments notice. One thing about flash sales is they disappear quick.
Big sales days like Black Friday also attract airline and hotel specials. It’s important you actually compare the prices though. Brands know people are in a buying mood at those times.
Sometimes those ‘great bargains’ aren’t much below retail pricing.
We’ll be honest, timeshare presentations are annoying at best and torturous at worst. For a few hours of your day though, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars on hotels and entertainment.
Only do this if you’re able to say no, then say it about a hundred more times. Buying a timeshare is one of the worst possible investments you can make.
Timeshare companies know this and offer pretty great compensation to sit through their sales talks. You can get multiple nights accommodation, tickets to a hot show or a free tour pass in exchange for 90 minutes to 3 hours of your time.
Credit card points and loyalty club miles are one of the best ways to cut the cost of travel. Even if you only travel for pleasure you can harness your everyday spending to pay for a big chunk of your trip.
Different credit cards accrue points at different rates. Find out which cards fit your lifestyle and maximize your points.
If you’re planning to travel internationally don’t forget to ask about foreign transaction fees. These are usually only 2-3% but it adds up over the total cost of a vacation.
Airlines have been tightening up their freebies. Gone are the days when every economy ticket came with a free checked bag slot.
Learn to love the carry-on and you can save potentially hundreds of dollars per person in checked bag fees. It’s usually not too expensive for a domestic flight but international baggage fees are highway robbery.
Embrace the reusable outfit, fold like a champ, and pick up a few packing cubes. You’ll save money and be able to slide through the airport faster than those waiting at the baggage carousel.
If you’re traveling outside Western Europe or America one of the best tips for traveling cheap is to eat like a local. Avoid big chains, ‘Western’ style restaurants, and international grocery stores.
They import most of their products and their pricing is set at tourist levels. If you’re adventurous, you can try out the local street food.
Asia, South America, and Africa have a robust culture of street vendors and markets. You can find some of the best food in the world at local street cart vendors.
It might shock you to discover how affordable a great meal is.
If you’re flying to your next vacation spot you may have considered renting a car. Unless it’s necessary, we recommend you think again.
You have to pay for the car itself, gas, insurance, and parking. The cost of parking for only a few hours will astound you in many cities.
By taking advantage of local train and bus routes you can save a serious amount of money over the course of your trip. Even if you’re going somewhere without great public transit you can use services like Lyft or Uber.
These will usually still be cheaper than renting a car or taking a taxi.
If you follow our cheap travel tips right you can not only save money but have a better vacation. If you budget out your trip at the start any savings you get equals better quality rooms, food, and fun.
Don’t forget to check out our main travel tips section for other easy to follow methods to have the best trip possible.