Everybody likes to travel, right? Well, maybe not everybody. I’ve met a few folks over the years who expressly stated that they didn’t like to travel and would like to stay at home instead. But for most of us, traveling has some value. For some, it’s a huge pastime.
Personally, at one time I traveled a ton. Been all over the US and Canada, as well as through Europe and a few countries in Asia. These days, I very rarely travel and simply do not have the time to do so. Also, I watch my money a LOT more, and have a lot more necessary expenses than in the past, given that I have kids. Until you have them, you don’t appreciate A) what an incredible blessing they are, and B) how much it really costs to raise them.
Back to traveling though – it’s often an expensive endeavor. This is why I really try to save money on traveling if I ever choose to do it these days. Along those lines, here are 5 Ways to Save on Travel Expenses:
This isn’t always the most fun option, as it’s nice to travel during certain times the year that are convenient, or offer the best weather. However, if you travel during times that aren’t the most popular, you just might be able to save money. For example, let’s say you’re in a cold weather locale. Traveling to a very warm climate around the winter holidays, or around Spring Break, might be more difficult in terms of finding flights and accommodations at a price that fits your budget. Simply traveling at different times that don’t have the same rush, or general appeal, would be a way to cut the costs while enjoying a visit to the same place.
For some years now, I’ve had a credit card with no annual fee which has given me airline miles. Now, I pretty much never think about the rewards when I’m considering making purchases, and often forget that I even earn miles. Literally, I’m only reminded of it when I get a periodic email giving me a summary of miles earned. Thankfully they send those Anyway, this has helped me with travel costs. For example, in the last trip I took, I used mileage to book 2 round trip tickets for us for free! That made the trip much more manageable from a cost perspective.
Shopping Online for The Best Deals
There are so many sites out there to search for the best flights and hotel deals, that it can be dizzying. You can simply google the terms and find a variety of options. The thing is, it’s worth taking a little bit of time to look for great deals. They can be found.
I’ve enjoyed getting hotel room through Priceline that have been incredible deals. I’ve done this on a few trips, and came away really glad I took that approach. The hotel rooms ended up being at a big, big discount from the listed rates. Which is great since I don’t want to pay listed, full price – and with some searching, we don’t always have to.
Use Alternate Airports
This may not be an option where you live – but if it is, you should consider looking at alternate airports. For example, I’ve booked a few flights that were at an airport about an extra 1 hour further away than the major hub I would normally fly out of. This smaller airport didn’t offer the direct flight I wanted, but through connections I was able to get to the destination cheaper. Just one stop, flying from the smaller, alternate airport, and I save some decent money. Not to mention that parking was less too!
By this I mean, keep in mind the checked bag fees that have become normal in recent years. It really pays to travel light, and really analyze whether or not it’s worth paying more to take more. Often, you can get away with taking less than you might think you can. Backups and alternate outfits aren’t always necessary.
Also, packing food for the airport or road trips is a good idea too. I once had to pay over $12 for a sub sandwich at a regular, U.S. airport! Now, I was traveling on business so I didn’t care as much as I would have otherwise. After all, they made me travel! However, imagine a family of 4 doing that. It would be almost $50. Simply packing food from home can save a TON of money.
Readers, what are your tips for saving money on travel? Have you used any of these? Any others?