Let’s face the truth: Travel can be expensive. If you are looking to travel more, especially when all these Covid restrictions are over, you may want to consider the best way to save money on every part of the trip, from transportation to lodging to entertainment. Travel and lifestyle blog JenaMaen presents some tested travel tips that can help you get the best deal and store some money away for a rainy day — or better yet, another trip!
Choose Lodging Wisely
When you are planning your trip, consider the pros and cons of booking a hotel versus a short-term rental. Hotels are generally located close to prime attractions. If you are a member of a loyalty program like Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy, try to cash in points for a few free nights. Another benefit is that hotel reservations will not be canceled or changed. If you don’t have any rewards points to spare, however, hotels can be quite pricey and don’t generally offer amenities such as kitchens.
Short-term rentals through sites like VRBO or Airbnb allow you to choose the type of rental that works best for your group. You could opt for a studio in the heart of a city if you are traveling solo or a house with plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen if you are traveling with a larger group. This can make them very cost-efficient. Short-term rentals might not be as conveniently located, however, and owners are more easily able to cancel reservations.
Focus on Flight Deals
If your trip requires a flight, shop smart. Keep in mind that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days of the week to purchase your flights, offering the best deals. Also, simply flying out on a Wednesday can save you almost $100. Additionally, credit cards can help you rack up airline miles that will eventually qualify you for a free flight. Even if you don’t have enough frequent flyer miles for a free ticket, you may be able to use miles to offset your ticket cost. In addition to the tips above, remember to use travel websites to ensure you are getting the best price. If you have decided to stay in a hotel, these sites will also give you options for bundling your hotel stay with your flight to save money.
Tricks to Transportation
If you don’t plan ahead for transportation, you could find yourself shelling out tons of money for taxis to get around town. You and your pocketbook are better off renting a car. Rental cars can give you greater flexibility and save you money in a few less obvious ways. For example, they allow you to book a hotel a bit farther out from your vacation destination (hotels based farther from major attractions will cost much less). Booking a rental car also makes unexpected day trips and exploration possible. You don’t need to worry about expensive shuttles or figuring out transportation when you’ve got your own vehicle on hand.
The Smaller Details
Ideally, find creative ways to pack what you truly need to avoid paying for overpriced toiletries in the hotel or nearby drugstore. You’ll also want to pack according to the weather forecast so that you’re not stuck running to supplement your travel wardrobe. Throw in a few snacks (TSA-approved, of course) so that you always have something on hand if you get hungry.
Consider your destination when planning your trip too. Determine whether you need a certain vaccine (like yellow fever for Colombia), travel insurance (this is worth it for overseas trips), rain gear (for a rainy season in London) or anything else that can make your trip more enjoyable and safe. When traveling abroad, it’s always wise to have a contingency plan too. Make copies of your passport and credit cards, and safely stash some emergency cash. You can also talk to family and friends about the possibility of sending money via a digital remittance service. This is cheaper and faster than using a bank wire. So, say you’re in the Dominican Republic, and you lose your wallet and need more cash. A site like Remitly can quickly and safely deliver the funds you need across several locations, and your family won’t have to worry about paying high fees.
Remember: It’s always better to have a plan for worst-case scenarios. This ensures you have some coverage if anything goes awry.
Travel doesn’t have to break the bank or destroy your household budget. Using these tips on lodging, flights, and rental cars will help you maximize your travel at the lowest cost. The key is to plan smart and think ahead. Time to get planning!