We love to travel, but to travel more, we had to learn how to save money when traveling. We love to explore new destinations, to meet locals, to take a lot of photos. But, it doesn’t mean we have to spend a fortune while traveling.
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Here are some tips on saving some money while traveling and having a great time. We have already covered how to find the best flight deals on a previous article. We also included how to score the best cruise deals. In this article, we want to give you some tips on how to save money when you are at your destination.
Save Money By Traveling Off-Peak
The peak season for a destination is the time when everybody wants to visit. Maybe because the weather is the best, or perhaps because there is something special happening at the destination you choose. It also means it is the time of the year when you’ll find the most amount of people visiting. Hotels sell out quickly, and room prices are the highest. For these reasons, if you have the opportunity to visit the destination just off-season, you’ll be able to save some money and to visit with way more tourists around.
For example, cities in Europe are at the peak season between June and September. Reasons why most kids are off school, cruise ships are visiting Europe, and the weather is dryer. It also means long lines to get into museums and sites. Sold out restaurants and hotels and streets get crowded with tourists.
If you have the opportunity to visit in May or October, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and have much more reasonable prices at hotels.
If you are traveling to a destination for a particular event, this tip will not apply.
Start Planning Early Or, At The Very Last Minute
If you want to save money traveling, I saw, the sooner you start planning, the better. Many hotel booking sites nowadays let you book your stay without having to pay, or they offer fully refundable and cancellable reservations until a few days before departure. Take advantage of this great opportunity. If you see a particular hotel you like at a high price, why not making a reservation. At the same time, you can make a calendar not on when the final payment is due, and if you decide not to go, cancel before that date. You have nothing to lose.
Similarly, if you are flexible with your travel, you can sign up for last-minute deals. Many websites offer last minutes deals for hotels unsold rooms. The key to taking advantage of the previous minutes is flexibility. As long as you can leave with a few day’s notices, you can score some incredible hotel prices.
Travel Around Like a Local and Save!
If you are visiting a new city, traveling like a local is a great way to save money. For example, you can take advantage of public transit. Indeed, most modern cities have a subway system that allows you to travel conveniently and efficiently.
Do a little research before you starting your trip and read about pubic transit in the particular city you are going to visit. Then, make sure that it is safe to travel by public transportation and check if the public transit offer daily passes for tourists.
For example, when we visited Tokyo, we were able to buy a daily pass for the subway and use it quite a bit. It was the only way to visit such a popular city in a short period without having to waste precious time in traffic. It was also really cost-efficient because Taxis in Tokyo are costly.
Sadly, in some areas of the world, it is not very safe to travel by subway. If this is the case, a great alternative to traveling around and saving money is to use the Hop-Hop Hop-Off buses. These buses usually cover the most essential tourist attraction routes of a city, allowing passengers to get off any time they are interested in a particular site.
If you are planning on traveling in between cities, especially in Europe, consider using the trains. The European trains system is incredibly efficient. Train stations are usually very close to downtown. Just check online for rates and schedules before departing.
You can even consider traveling to some very exotic destinations, like the Maldives on a budget, you just need to do a bit of planning in advance and you will be able to do it.
Avoid Tourist Traps
Every major tourist destination is filled with “Tourist Traps.” Most of the time, those places are costly and do not offer you the authentic experience of the destination you are visiting. For instance, the “Believe it or Not Museum” will be the same in San Francisco as in London, England. The same idea works for some chain restaurants that you can find all over the world. If you are traveling thousands of kilometers away from home, try some of the local food, not the same theme restaurant you can find around the corner from where you live.
Do some online research before your trip, check what is worth visiting, where the locals eat, etc. You’ll have a more authentic experience, and you will save a lot of money.
Save Money and Resist the Souvenir Frenzy
I know this is very difficult for a lot of people. But if you can try to avoid gift shops and souvenir stores. If you want to save money traveling, ask yourself, will I need this tomorrow? Indeed, you can bring back something for your family and friends. But don’t stop at the store right by the main tourist attraction. Walk a few steps away, and you’ll usually find the same fridge magnets for a much better price. Even better take some great photos, when you are home you can print them and frame them. Use those as a give away for friends and family. They will be much more authentic and personal.
Ask the Locals How to Save Money When Traveling
Social media is a formidable source of travel information. Join some travel groups on Facebook and ask for recommendations on how to save money when traveling. Local will be more than happy to give you tips about their city. We used this tip several times while traveling, and we had amazing experiences. In some cities, you can also find locals that offer free tours. You just have to tip them at the end if you liked the tour.
Sign-up for last minutes deals
Nowadays there are many website that keep track of last minutes deals. When you sign-up for these sites you will receive email offers with the latest deals. We used these kind of service several times and we had a wonderful experience. The only downside about using these sites is that you need to be very flexible with your traveling dates.
I hope you enjoyed these few simple tips to optimize your travel experience and save a few dollars.
If you have something to add or a question, please leave a comment.
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30, he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America, and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising, and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.