If you like to travel to faraway places and like to save money, we’ve got some terrific budget travel hacks for you to help you get the most out of your travel dollars.
Travel during the off season. Off season travel is one thing in the United States, but when that off season occurs can vary from country to country. If you enjoy international travel, you may need to do a little research to discover when the off peak travel times are for your destination of choice. Different destinations have different tourist seasons, but a little planning can help you avoid price increases and crowds, enjoy discount airfare, more availability for rental cars, and more vacancies at hotels, motels, hostels, and bed-and-breakfasts.
Focus on the experience. Snow globes are great, but instead of adding to a collection of things you must dust every day, why not collect experiences, photographs, and memories instead of souvenirs? Center your plans around the kind of experiences you want to enjoy with loved ones instead of shopping for things that only make your suitcase heavier when it’s time to go back home.
Join a frequent flyer program. If you travel a lot, racking up miles and/or points can add up to a significant discount on your next flight, or get you some airline upgrades for free. Every major airline has their own discount flyer program, so be sure to take advantage of them. Major credit cards and travel services also offer discount flyer or frequent flyer programs, and can help you save money on airfare, hotels, and rental cars.
Travel off the beaten path. One way to avoid large crowds and pricey activities is to travel off the beaten path and experience life the way the locals do. If you’re in another country and don’t speak the language, a translation app or pocket dictionary is a smart purchase to include on your list of things to bring. By avoiding tourist traps you can discover hidden gems and meet people you wouldn’t encounter otherwise.
Look for seasonal sales. Many airlines offer seasonal discounts and sales events, so planning can help you take advantage of special pricing on Black Friday and at other slow travel times throughout the year. Booking a discount trip can end up adding much more to your life than a big screen TV or that cute pair of boots ever could.
Don’t bring more than you need. Packing light can make traveling so much more enjoyable, not to mention making it less likely that your suitcase ends up in Liverpool when your flight lands in London. If you can manage to pack everything you need in a carryon piece of luggage, you’ll never have to worry about being separated from your belongings. As a bonus, you won’t have to pay checked bag fees or stand in line at the baggage claim to collect your checked luggage.
Research local events. If you know someone who has recently traveled to your intended vacation spot, or better yet you know someone who lives there, ask about local events you might enjoy for less than the price of a tourist attraction. Enjoy annual festivals and free events like outdoor concerts, parades, seasonal celebrations, and local attractions. City websites often have activity calendars with lists of area events that are open to the public.
Search for discounts and free days. When you’re doing your research of local events, also check out free museums, art galleries, and libraries with interactive displays or free classes. These places can be a great way to get in out of the weather and experience fine art collections and discover local history that can enhance your experience.
Walk instead of driving. Break out your best walking shoes and take to the streets. Whether you go for it on your own or sign up for a walking tour, you’ll save money, get exercise, and get to know the city much better if you do it on foot. These tours are often led by experienced residents, who can offer up historical details and interesting back stories you’d never hear otherwise.
Opt for non-traditional lodging and transportation. Why pay top dollar for a hotel room you’re not going to be spending much time in, anyway? Book a bed in a hostel or rent a room in an Airbnb instead, and meet the people you’d never see if you stayed in a pricey hotel. If your room rental includes the use of a kitchen, all the better. Buying food locally and preparing it yourself can help save a bundle in restaurant bills. Use public transportation instead of renting a car or paying for a taxi or consider renting a bicycle to find your way around.
We hope these ten budget travel hacks help you enjoy your next adventure and keep more of your money in your pocket to spend on things that will make your next trip a memorable one. Don’t forget, Current has a full line of helpful travel accessories including personalized luggage straps and RFID wallets.