Itching to travel and go on vacation? You don’t have to break the bank to make your dream come true. Here are useful tips to help you make the most out of your holiday without skimping on the fun:
- Travel off-season
If you are flexible with your travel dates, it is best to avoid peak seasons. That’s because airfare would be at its highest during these months. Do your homework and find out when the non-peak seasons are for your dream destinations. It is different per continent, depending on when their summer months are.
- Check fares regularly
As airlines would rather profit less than fly with a lot of empty seats, price cutting is more common than you think. It is best to check for airfares regularly. Kayak.com does a good job of predicting when it’s a good time to buy or wait. You can also use other fare comparison sites such as farecast.com or Travelocity.com to notify you if your selected fare has dropped.
- Watch out for extra costs
Be wary of budget airlines. While their flights may look cheap at first glance, their baggage restrictions may be very tight and they may charge more for better seats. It is best to check to pack light to avoid any additional costs.
- Consider going for a road trip
If a flight ticket is way out of your budget, a road trip makes for the best next thing. Apart from being cost-efficient, you have the freedom to stop by as many attractions, routes and food along the way!
- Stay in a hostel
If you’re trying to save on accommodations, hostels are still some of the cheapest beds in town. There are plenty of boutique hotels nowadays that offer private rooms and high standard, making them more interesting and fun. Check out Hostelworld.com for a wide selection to choose from.
- Live like a local with Airbnb
Another way to save on accommodations is to rent someone else’s bed or apartment. Use Airbnb.com to find cheap accommodations, ranging from futons to a penthouse. Amenities vary depending on the owner, and you can check on the listings carefully to see if they provide fresh towels, free Wi-Fi or a parking lot for your rental car.
- Choose boutique or independent hotels
If you are not up for sharing bathroom with strangers, you can always opt for smaller-scale hotels that provide the same level of amenities and customer service with larger chain hotels. They often offer better rates too, as they would like to remain competitive in a very cut-throat market.
- Do your homework
While traveling in a new country, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of trying out the local cuisine. However, it is best to avoid touristy restaurants, as they are usually overpriced. Instead, use the Internet or speak with locals to ask about hole-in-the-wall restaurants that provide value for money.
- Cook for yourself
Not a lot of people cook for themselves while on vacation, but it’s the most economical way to go about it. Plus, it is an experience in itself to go shopping at the local markets and supermarkets.
- Bring snacks
A lot of the times, while waiting in queue or walking around, it is inevitable to get hungry. It is wise to take along some nuts, fruits or cookies with you to avoid those impulse purchases that add up to a lot of money.
- Use public transportation
If you are using a rental car to get to your destination, leave it in an inexpensive parking lot and use public transportation to get around. This can save you tons of money and time compared to gassing up all the time and worrying about finding a parking spot. Just make sure to learn the route and pricing systems to find the best deal for the duration of your stay. There may be multi-day discounts or unlimited travel passes, which might come out cheaper than buying single-ride tickets.
- Rent a bike
Especially if you’re staying in a metropolitan city like New York or London, bike rentals are scattered all over. You can pick up one for rent, depending on how many days you plan to use it. It’s a good way to go around and get your exercise on.
- Join walking tours
If you’d like to see popular tourist attractions for cheap, look for donation-based tours that you can sign up for. Apart from it being inexpensive, it offers you a good introduction of the city.
- Check out free museum days
For history buffs and art lovers, make sure to browse through the websites of the different museums you want to check out. They may waive the entrance fee on certain hours of the week to invite tourists to check out their permanent collections for free. Some may even provide discounts for students and foreign travelers, as long as you show your student card or passport as proof.
- Ask about tax refunds
If shopping is on your itinerary, make sure to ask about tax refunds for tourists. Some countries allow you to get part or all of the retail sales back, so it’s best to check at the airport or the store itself to find out how you can be eligible for this.
- Research for the best exchange rates
Do your homework in advance to find out where you can get money exchanged at the best rate. Sometimes you can get it at the airport, or by using ATMs. Just be mindful about ATM transaction fees. The best way to go about it is to make fewer and larger withdrawals.
- Know the tipping culture
Even if you are used to tipping in your home country, it may not be customary in your destination of choice to tip. Some countries require their restaurants and hotels to include service fees, and that already covers for what normally constitutes as tip.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy traveling. What matters is how well you manage your travel budget. Just always be on the lookout for deals, even if you have plans set, to minimize your expenses and make room for more savings!