If you’re like most people, you want to see as much of the world as you can within your lifetime. However, the ever increasing cost of travel and exploration likely inhibits your inner nomad. Fortunately, you don’t have to be exceedingly wealthy to travel the globe. Frugal travel just requires a mindful plan of attack–and the help of these money-saving tips.
1. Look For Deals
It seems obvious, but one of the biggest money-saving tips for travel is to look outside of mainstream travel company websites and hunt for opportunities to save some of your hard-earned dollars when booking some of the bigger travel expenses. You’d be surprised at how much you can save on hotels, flights, rental cars and even an extravagant all inclusive cruise when you steer off the beaten path. Look to sites that compare prices across several platforms to get the best chance at a great deal.
2. Cash in Rewards
If you have credit card points, loyalty rewards or belong to any discount organizations like AARP or AAA, you may be able to apply some of your earned dividends to your overall costs. Don’t overlook any of your reward programs, as sometimes chances for savings are found in unexpected places due to partnerships with travel companies, so scour any grocery store points, clothing company reward systems and even employment or other club benefits.
3. Book in Advance
Last minute travel deals often help you to save money, but as a rule, it’s better to take advantage of early price fluctuations. Travel prices rise and fall based on different travel trends, days of the weeks, company sales and industry competition. The closer your travel dates become, the fewer opportunities to take advantage of lower prices.
4. Choose Accommodations Wisely
Hotels and short-term rentals are one of the primary expenses when it comes to booking your vacation, especially when you mostly plan to use your room as a home base intended mainly for sleeping while you spend your waking hours out and about. It may seem like a good idea to find cheap lodgings to try to save money, but opting for some inexpensive accommodation options can actually have an indirect impact on your total spending. However, you may be able to save money in the long-run if you book a stay that is closer to public transportation, has a kitchen or kitchenette so you can prepare meals or includes free amenities that could cut costs down.
5. Travel in the Off Season
It may come as no surprise that tropical destinations are more popular in the summer months, while wintry vacations see an upswing when it gets chilly. Try to take advantage of off-season prices and avoid booking a trip around popular holidays and vacation times. Instead, take advantage of times when airlines and hotels lower their prices in an effort to entice tourists to travel.
6. Rethink Excursions
In nearly any destination, there are plenty of free or inexpensive ways to see the sights. From self-guided walking tours you can find online to free or reduced museum days, try to find ways to cut down the cost of exploration. Most destinations have botanical gardens, art walks, historic churches, discounted gallery days or free cultural experiences and festivals you can attend. Just make sure to plan ahead of time to take advantage of these deals, as they’re sometimes only available certain days of the week.
7. Skip Souvenirs
There are plenty of ways to bring home mementos and memories from your trip that don’t involve spending any money at all. Bottle a little bit of sand, bring home a ticket stub or put a unique rock in your pocket to place on a shelf at home. The best way to preserve vacation memories, however, is to take as many pictures as you can while you’re away. Most cell phones have exceptional cameras, but it’s also fun to bring along a nicer camera, or even a disposable one to be developed when you get home.