How to Save Money While Traveling? (10+ Important Tips)

Traveling is a fantastic way to see the world and gain memorable experiences, but it can get pricey.

But, if you want to travel without breaking the bank, there are ways to do so on a budget, such as not eating out and foregoing the rental car. 

Below, we’ve compiled some exclusive travel tips so you can figure out the best way to save money while traveling. Thus, you can start living your own life instead of binging travel shows. 

10 Money-Saving Travel Tips to Make a Big Difference on Your Trip

1. Travel Off-Season

One of the best budget travel tips for saving money while traveling is to plan your trip when most people don’t travel. So, do your research and figure out the prime travel seasons where you’re going, so you know what times to avoid.

The most popular and expensive travel times are when the weather is best and during school breaks like summer vacation, Christmas, and Spring Break. Prices are usually highest, and crowds are busiest during these times of the year. 

Thus, if you aren’t planning a trip with school-aged children and don’t have any restrictions on when you go, try to plan your trip outside of those busy times to save the most money. Often you can still capitalize on nice weather if you go at the end or beginning of peak season.

2. Sign Up for Flight Alerts

As soon as you start planning your trip, sign up for flight alerts on a website like Skyscanner or Airfarewatchdog to find cheaper flights. You should sign-up several weeks before you need to book your airfare so you can start to compare prices and look for flight deals.  

Watch the trends to notice what an average round-trip flight is for your destination. This information should help you get a baseline idea of what you will spend so you can budget for the cost. 

These sites will also help you keep an eye on rates and availability and make predictions on whether the flight prices are likely to rise, drop, or stay the same. Check your alerts daily and be ready to make a move so you can get cheap flights. 

You can also use these tools to take a look at budget airlines. 

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3. Make a Daily Trip Budget

Once you’ve planned your trip and your departure day is near, it’s time to create a trip budget, so you don’t blow through your saved money. This step isn’t always fun, but a little financial planning will keep you from spending too much money. 

So, go ahead and determine how much spending money you are comfortable setting aside for your trip (excluding your hotel room cost) and divide it across the days you are traveling. This money is your daily “allowance.” 

Just make sure to consider the exchange rate and the average cost for food and souvenirs in the country you are visiting so you can make sure you have enough money set aside.

Also, when budgeting, you can move some money into a different bank account before you leave, so you aren’t tempted to overspend on your trip. 

4. Avoid Eating Out

Food and drinks are one of the easiest places to spend money quickly while traveling. Since you’re not at home, it’s easy to eat out for all three meals each day and get cocktails and snacks on the go. 

Plus, restaurants and bars in tourist towns are notoriously expensive, so you could easily blow your entire daily budget just eating out. Thus, to make sure you continue saving money, find ways to avoid eating out whenever possible. 

For example, if you’re staying in an Airbnb or a rental home with a full kitchen, take advantage. You can make your own meals to eat at the hotel to save cash. 

Also, google local grocery stores or local markets at your final destination and pick up essentials to make at least breakfast, lunch, and snacks. However, you should plan to splurge on dinners out to make evenings a fun time to experience local fare. 

Or, you can grab some cheap vendor food. Eating street food allows you to sample the local cuisine when traveling abroad without spending too much. 

And, if your accommodations don’t have a kitchen, there are still ways to avoid eating out. You can pick up your own food to snack on, like granola bars, chips, crackers, fresh fruit, and drinks for days you will be out exploring. 

Even if you have to rely on takeout or restaurants for main meals, you can save money on snacks and expensive single-serve beverages. 

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5. Skip the Rental Car

Rental cars are often a big vacation expense. Daily rates are high in addition to add-ons like insurance and the price of gas. 

So, consider other options to cut this expense out of your travel budget to save money while traveling. 

The best way to ax the rental car is to choose your travel destination wisely. Do your research and pick a locale where walking or taking local transportation is possible. 

Just make sure the location and public transportation are safe for tourists (especially at night). 

Additionally, when planning a vacation where you will primarily be walking to get everywhere, the location of your hotel or Airbnb matters. Thus, you should get familiar with the area by using Google Maps so you can book your accommodations close to the city center. 

If you find you do need a car, however, but you can’t stomach the cost of traditional car rentals, consider using a car share service like Turo instead. 

6. Look for Free Attractions

Admission fees and daily passes to different attractions while on vacation can get pricey. If you are traveling with many family members or a group, paying admission for everyone to get into multiple places per day will add up quickly and blow your budget. 

But, with a little prior research, you would be surprised how many free tourist attractions you can find. Whether it’s visiting historical sites or museums or partaking in free walking tours, there is plenty to do for no cost if you look hard enough. 

7. Rent Your Home to Other Travelers

A slightly unconventional way to save money (or actually earn money) if you’re going to be gone for more than a few days is for you to rent your own home on Airbnb during your trip. Renting out your home isn’t for everyone, though, especially if you have pets, but it’s something to consider.

This option works best if you live near a popular destination, so check rental rates and availability in your area to see if vacationers may want to use your home. If there’s a market for renting your home, you can make some extra cash while away to help offset your vacation costs. 

8. Connect With Locals 

One of the greatest ways to save money on vacation is to find the spots where the locals frequent. Locals know all the hidden gems where you can get the best food, see the most remarkable sights, and not spend a fortune while doing so. 

People who live in the area you are visiting have the inside scoop on everything there is to know. So, figure out where the locals eat and visit because these spots are usually less expensive and less crowded. 

So, chat up the bartender at a local bar or make conversation at a coffee shop to see if you can learn about any places to go that might not have made the top 10 travel lists you researched. Don’t be afraid to be friendly and ask, but just make sure you feel like the suggestions are safe. 

9. Use Deal Sites to Save on Experiences

Stay financially responsible on your vacation by using websites like Groupon, Living Social, or Travel Zoo to find travel deals. You can often get 50% or more off for admission to local attractions or events using these sites.

But, always check the fine print on any internet deal to ensure there aren’t any restrictions on redeeming your coupon. Some will state that you can only use the coupons on certain days of the week or during certain times, so make sure you check and plan your visit accordingly. 

10. Be Smart About Currency Exchange

Before international travel, make sure you think about things like exchange rates for foreign currency. To make travel easy, try to plan a trip in a country that accepts your home currency or at least in a place where the exchange rate is favorable to you. 

An excellent way to take some of the frustration out of exchanging currency is to use a credit card, but there are still some things to consider when using a card. 

For example, you should call your credit card companies to ensure your credit card doesn’t charge you a foreign transaction fee. These foreign transaction fees can quickly add up and cost you big. 

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A Few More Tips to Save More Money on Your Next Trip 

  • Get travel insurance so you won’t have to pay huge amounts in the case of an emergency. 
  • Consider volunteering in developing countries so you can get free accommodation. 
  • Only take carry-on bags unless your airline allows free checked bags. 
  • Check your bank balance every day to ensure you aren’t spending too much. Or, you can find an app that helps in tracking expenses. 
  • Travel to cheaper areas. For example, Central America and South America are significantly cheaper than big cities in developed countries, such as San Francisco. 
  • Look for hotels that don’t charge resort fees and airlines that don’t ask for baggage fees. 
  • Do your research because the cheapest flight may not always be the best deal. 
  • Consider staying at hostels instead of booking private rooms. 
  • Track your spending habits before you leave to build up your travel fund.  
  • Use debit instead of credit to avoid annual fees.