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Traveling is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things to do in life.
Traveling can also be very expensive – which is why many people think they cannot afford it. However, traveling does not have to be out of your reach as long as you make smart choices, can be flexible, and use some of these money-saving tricks.
Here are 15 ways on how to save money on travel.
1. Avoid Peak Season
In the travel industry, a year is broken up into three seasons – peak season (highest travel period), shoulder season (travel period between the highest and lowest), and off-peak season (lowest travel period). The seasons are determined by several factors, such as whether there are school breaks, the local weather conditions, and any local festivals and events.
Peak season is always the most expensive since that is when those destinations get the most tourists. Prices tend to drop significantly during shoulder season and off-peak season. So by avoiding peak season and traveling during shoulder season or off-peak season, you can save some serious cash.
2. Be Flexible With Your Flight Dates
Flying a few days or weeks earlier or later can be the difference between a cheaper or more expensive flight. As flight prices tend to fluctuate, try taking a look at a few date ranges to see if you can take advantage of the cheaper flights.
I personally use these free tools to help determine which date range is the cheapest:
- Google Flights – You can see prices for your trip on every day of the month, so you would know which days would be the cheapest to fly out and return.
- ITA Software – This tool was acquired by Google in 2010 and actually powers some of the big name web travel companies.
3. Fly During the Unpopular Times
You may be able to score cheaper flights by flying during the unpopular times. Unpopular times include red-eyes (late night flight), early in the morning, and weekdays (specifically Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
4. Consider Connecting Flights
While direct flights are preferred, you can save quite a bit of money by going with connecting flights.
Just be sure to allow yourself extra time in case there are flight delays. Also, make sure to give yourself enough time to make it to the connecting airport gate.
5. Make the Most out of Connecting Flights
Whether you plan to take connecting flights to save money or because the airline requires a plane change for your selected destination, take a look at where you would be changing planes to see if it is in a city or country that you would like to visit. If so, you can check flight prices to see if it is worth staying for a few days, instead of changing planes right away.
6. Sleep While You Travel
Depending on your destination, it can take several hours just to get there.
Rather than just checking into your hotel and going right to bed after a long day of traveling, you might want to consider traveling at night instead. This way, you can save on one night’s accommodation cost by sleeping while you travel and get to your destination the next day.
Worried you will get there before the check-in time? Most hotels will allow you to leave your bags and luggage with the front desk while you go out to explore or grab a quick bite to eat.
7. Stay More Than 1 Night
Most hotels and overnight accommodations will give you better rates or deals if you stay for more than one night.
I personally recommend the following tool to search for accommodations:
- Booking.com – With over 1 million properties to choose from worldwide, you can compare prices and read reviews.
8. Sleepover Sundays
Many hotels and overnight accommodations receive Friday and Saturday night bookings from weekend travelers and Monday through Friday night bookings from business travelers. This creates a void on Sunday nights, which they try to counter by offering discounts.
9. Look for Free Breakfast
When booking your overnight accommodations, look for one that also includes breakfast as part of the package.
One less meal to pay for is more money in your pockets. Eating a nice hearty breakfast can also allow you to have a lighter lunch, which can help you keep that cost down as well.
10. Choose a Hotel Based on Convenience
It can be quite tempting to book a hotel further out or away from public transportation simply because it is cheaper. However, the cheaper cost can be negated if you need to constantly take taxi cabs or are limited by the expensive food selections near the hotel.
Try factoring in all of the costs before booking with a hotel. It is usually more cost effective staying at a hotel that is either near public transportation, provides free shuttle services, or has several dining options nearby.
11. Join Loyalty Programs
Is there a particular airline that you like to fly with or is there a certain hotel that you like to stay at?
If so, check to see if they have a loyalty program that you can join. Fly and stay with those companies enough times and they will reward you with discounted, or even free, flights and stays.
12. Shop Around for the Best Deal
With so many different airlines, hotels, and travel agencies to choose from, it is definitely worth shopping around and making sure you are getting the best deal possible.
I personally like using the following travel website to compare prices:
- Kayak – A great web travel search site that compares hundreds of sites all at once.
13. Book a Bundle
Don’t forget to take a look at vacation packages, which bundles different combinations of flights, hotels, and car rentals at a discounted price. It can be significantly cheaper than you booking each one separately.
14. Go Directly to the Companies
Even after you think you found the cheapest flights and hotels possible, try checking the companies’ websites directly as well. Some airlines and hotels have lower rates that you can only get on their website.
15. Plan and Book Ahead
If there is a specific tour, event, or excursion that you are planning as part of your trip, you should visit their websites. Some companies offer discounts to those who buy their tickets online and in advance.
Were you able to use any of these money-saving ideas or do you know of any other ones? Share them with me in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you!