Traveling can be a costly affair. Between booking flights, accommodation and eating out, it’s pretty easy to blow the budget. Instead of worrying about your wallet on your next holiday, consider the following tips for your next trip to save money without making any compromises.
1. Fly on a weekday or during non peak hours
Flight costs are notoriously variable, so when booking your flight, take the time to determine the cost savings of flying on a weekday opposed to a weekend or during non peak hours. Often times, shifting your travel dates by just a few days (or even hours) can lead to significant cost savings.
2. Keep an eye on money exchange rates
While it may seem convenient to exchange money at the airport or train station, these places rarely offer the best exchange rates and often charge extra fees. In order to avoid this, plan your trip in advance and exchange your money ahead of time at your bank, where you’re more likely to get a more favorable exchange rate. If you’re planning an extended holiday or will be abroad for a while, keep an eye on the exchange rate in the months and weeks ahead of your trip. Making an exchange when it best suits your currency combination can lead to hefty savings.
3. Avoid using ATMs/cash machines
Using ATMs abroad is an easy way to lose money. Most ATMs will charge an exchange fee and/or service fee when processing foreign transactions. These fees can often add up over time and can be avoided by bringing enough cash with you on your trip. If you’re on an extended trip or just need extra cash, plan ahead and withdraw larger amounts of money during each transaction to reduce the frequency of being charged costly fees.
4. Look for hotels that include extras
In an effort to attract more business, many hotels now offer free breakfast, wireless internet and other perks to their guests. Paying a little extra for a room that offers these types of benefits can often save you in the long run. Think about the average daily costs for breakfast and internet access in your destination city and do the math.
5. Take advantage of tourist attraction and travel cards
Most major tourist cities offer all kinds of preferred rates to visitors. These cards are typically sold at tourist information centers, airports, train stations and even hotels. Most include discounted admission to museums, attraction and public transportation as well as coupons for restaurants, souvenirs and more. If you’re in town to see the sights, purchasing these types of cards instead of buying individual tickets can save a lot.
6. Indulge in lunch specials
Eating out can be a major expense when traveling, but trying local dishes is a large part of the whole travel experience. In order to still indulge for foodie side while saving money, opt for local lunch specials instead of splurging on pricey dinners. Weekday lunch specials are often well priced and are catered to local business people. Many restaurants will include many of the same options available on their dinner menus, but in smaller portions and with bigger discounts.
7. Avoid ‘tourist areas’ when eating or shopping
Each city has its own set of tourist traps. While its convenient and easy to pick up souvenirs or grab a lunch right next to a major tourist attractions, you’ll probably be on the receiving end of inflated prices. Retail establishments have to pay higher rents near well trodden areas and pass these costs down to their customers. Instead, head outside of the main tourist haunts to do your shopping or grab a bite to eat.
8. Take advantage of daily deals
Many people utilize daily deals from a number of popular websites to indulge in great restaurants, spa packages and experiences in their hometown. However, few people use them when traveling. If you’re planning a holiday and the language barrier is not an issue, check out the daily deals available in your destination city a few weeks ahead of time. These types of deals are available in major cities throughout the world and can purchased ahead of time online.
9. Travel light
Traveling light saves on money and is also much more convenient. With airlines desperate to increase their profits, many are now charging extra for check in baggage. If you’re traveling with extra bags you also might find yourself renting pricey lockers and tipping the hotel valet for carrying your bags up to your room. These sorts of charges, fees and tips can all be avoided by traveling with a backpack and a small personal bag. While it’s always tough to pair down your wardrobe, your back and your wallet will thank you for it.
10. Consider apartment stay accommodation
Sometimes, a hotel stay just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. During peak travel periods, conventions and other events, hotels hike up their prices to the point where they’re out of reach to many of us. As an alternative, search for apartment stay accommodation online. Often much cheaper than hotels, most apartments also come with a kitchen and other home y conveniences. Apartment stays are also a great choice for families traveling with children as they tend to offer more space than traditional hotel rooms.