Even in a poor economy in which discounts may abound, traveling can still be a costly venture. Depending on where you are going, how long you are staying, whom you are taking with you, and how you are planning to get there, a trip can easily run into the thousands of dollars just for travel costs, not even factoring in food and entertainment. If you plan ahead however, and follow certain travel tips, you may be able to significantly reduce your travel expenses.
1. Become a Hotel Rewards Member
Just about every major hotel chain these days offers its guests the ability to become a member of some type of rewards program. While signing up for such a program may not seem worth your time, even for occasional travelers, it might provide discounts, rewards and other benefits such as preferential treatment, or room upgrades.
2. Snacks and Food
Food costs can add up significantly over the course of your travels. Packing snacks for your journey to satisfy short-term cravings can save you having to purchase price-inflated food items in places like airports, hotels, and theme parks.
3. Pick a Meal
Depending on where you are staying, you might find the price of a meal is exorbitantly high. And if options are limited, you may not have much of a choice as to whether or not you can avoid paying such astronomical prices. This is where having your own supply of snacks and food on hand can come in real handy. If you can choose one meal per day on which to splurge and indulge, and supplement this meal with your own food, your savings could really add up.
4. Free Meals Add Up
Some hotels offer complimentary breakfasts or snacks and drinks at night. If you are staying in such accommodations, consider eating larger meals when they are free. You may also be able to take advantage of prepackaged snacks that are offered such as those little boxes of cereal, granola bars, bottled water or juice, and other pre-packaged treats or fruit, which can make great freebies for snacking on later.
5. Bottled Water Budget Buster
The cost of buying bottled water can really add up over the course of your travels. By refilling your own bottles (as long as you trust the water source), you may find some surprising travel savings.
6. Travel List
Okay, so enough about food and drink savings already. What else can you do to save money when traveling? Sometimes your ability to save money can start before you ever begin your adventure. Making a travel list of items you’ll need for your trip can keep you from forgetting important things that could be expensive to buy when you’re on the road. Especially when it comes to traveling with kids or a baby, there are often so many extras involved that a list can be helpful in remembering what you need.
7. Don’t Force It
By not having to travel at certain times, you may better be able to choose discount options. By doing your traveling in off seasons, or when deals arise, you could find significant savings.
8. Search for Discounts
There is typically a ton of discounts out there if you take time to search the internet before you book your travel arrangement. Whether you’re renting a car, going to a theme park, or looking for lodging or airfare, utilizing discounts can save you big as long as you make sure they are valid and reputable.
9. Planned Activities
Impulse buys when it comes to your travel activities can shoot your costs through the roof. By planning your activities in advance, setting aside money or having a budget for activities, and looking for cheap or free attractions, you can make the most of your travel money.
10. Consider Vehicular Needs in Advance
Deciding upon your vehicular needs in advance could save money on gas, a rental car, extra insurance, wear and tear on your vehicle, and related costs. Figuring out the costs of renting a car, flying to your destination, or driving your own car, could mean hundreds of dollars in savings depending upon your decision.
While you may not want to sacrifice safety, comfort, or having a good time on your travels just to save money, sometimes making minor adjustments to your travel plans or habits can make for significant savings. It’s important to remember however, while saving money is nice, not every discount or cheap travel option is safe or reliable, and using common sense and doing your due diligence could save you more money than a shady discount ever could.