If you think that inflation may have put a damper on some people’s travel plans, think again. After two years in a pandemic, revenge travel is on the rise this summer. But that doesn’t mean that exploring new places, seeing new sights, and tasting new delicacies is going to be cheap. So, if you’re headed out for some traveling fun—across the state or across the pond—here are some prime money saving travel tips that will have you saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
1. Set Flight Alerts Using Flight Tracking Tools
If you haven’t booked your airfare, we recommend setting up Google travel alerts for the flights you have your eye on. Each time the price of the flight changes, you’ll be alerted of the price change and can book when the rates are low. You can set alerts for as many flights as you want and track them until the price on one is within your budget range.
Google isn’t the only business that offers this type of service. Different providers have different tools that can help. Kayak, for example, has a similar tool known as the Price Forecast tool that can help you anticipate when fares will be lower. Check whichever site you are using for booking to see if they have similar tools to help you save money on airfare.
2. Fly on an Off-Peak Day or Time
Generally speaking, travel pros recommend flying earlier in the week (Monday or Tuesday versus Thursday or Friday) for better deals. They also swear that the second flight of the day is typically cheaper than the first, so check and see if arriving to your destination just a little later could help cut the cost of the flight.
4. Join a Frequent Flyer Program
This might not come in handy right away, but you can start accumulating rewards and miles that can help you later. Depending on the program, the perks can be pretty generous and could include cheaper fares, free upgrades, free comparison tickets, a cancellation policy, free checked bags, and more!
5. Pack Light
Check with your airline carrier ahead of time to see how much it costs to check bags and how many you are allowed to check without paying a fee. Some airlines (or perks programs) offer up to one or two free checked bags per passenger, but others charge for all checked bags regardless. You’ll want to know ahead of time so you can include this in your travel budget and adjust your packing plans accordingly.
Additionally, make sure not to overstuff one bag in hopes of getting away with packing only one. Oversized bags (usually over fifty or sixty pounds) can cost as much as $100 to check, so be sure to pack only what you know you’ll need. Keep in mind, if you forget something important, you’ll likely be able to find at your final destination.
1. Consider Hotel Alternatives
You may be able to take advantage of lower-cost lodging options (with amenities and privacy you can’t get at a hotel) by booking an AirBnB or vacation rental. Watch out for those extra fees, though. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for before you sign your entire brewery budget away in exorbitant cleaning fees!
Food and Dining
1. Cook (Even Just a Little)
Ok, ok. We know that you’re going on vacation to get away from daily responsibilities, but cooking just a few meals out of the day can really help you save for the other activities you want to do. This is also one of the benefits of staying in an AirBnB or vacation rental—you typically have access to a kitchen where you can keep, store, and cook some of your food so you aren’t dropping a small fortune every few hours on meals.
2. “Pre-Game” It
Alcohol is often what really drives up a tab at a restaurant, so if you’re someone who knows they are going to be out for a while drinking, then consider getting the party started early (before you go out). Have a couple drinks at home to avoid a financial hangover from your bar tab the next day!
1. Is there an App for That?
There are tons of money-saving apps out there that you can potentially sign up for to earn rewards, get free upgrades, receive access to exclusive offers and discounts, and be alerted of upcoming price changes. Most hotels, airlines, and even some restaurant groups have apps you can download for access to these perks.
2. Plan Activities Ahead
Some people think that waiting until the last minute will help them nab the greatest deals on experiences, but travel experts say planning ahead is really the way to go. Europeans are especially keen on planning, so you can typically get cheaper prices by booking well in advance of the trip. Cruise ships often have deals on excursions that are booked ahead of time, as well. You get a little expense break for helping them plan in advance!
3. Open a Travel-Friendly Bank Account
Whether you’re going on a big trip or a small one, it’s likely you’ve been putting money away to make the trip happen for some time. It’s often helpful to keep this money in a separate account so you can see how much you’ve accumulated in advance and track spending more easily while on the trip. It’s hard to see what you’ve blown through on a trip so far when you’re looking at your everyday bank account with bills and other reoccurring charges coming out.
Plus, you’ll want an account for traveling that allows for unlimited ATM withdrawals abroad and won’t charge you transaction fees. This is huge and can easily save you hundreds of dollars!
Most Importantly, Have Fun
We all love to travel, and we all love to save money. Unfortunately, the two don’t always go hand in hand. But, with these tips in your back pocket, you might just be able to stretch your travel dollar a little further this summer. Your wallet with thank you later!