Nobody wants to cut their options or limit their activities to save a few dollars. However, with all the options and tools at your disposition today, it is possible to find great accommodation, flights and activities on a limited budget. Here are seven easy tips everybody can use to save on travel.
Book Outside the High Season
One of the easiest things you can do to save on your vacation is to book at the right time. There are certain periods that should be completely avoided when booking flights and others that are more favorable. But did you know that there are particular times during the day when flights are cheaper? Sites like Skyscanner allow you to check peak times during the day and which periods have the cheapest flights. For instance, you could decide to book a Wednesday to Wednesday flight instead of Friday to Friday. Friday to Friday flights are usually much more expensive due to their popularity.
Also, make sure that you avoid the high season at all costs. The high season may vary depending on the destination too. For instance, you should avoid London during the holidays and Spain when the school summer holidays begin.
Sign Up for a Travel Credit Card
Many credit card companies are banking on the recent frequent flyer trend and are releasing credit cards made specifically for these types of users. There are many credit cards that will give you an instant 30k to 50k bonus miles after your first purchase. That’s a free economy round trip right there. Make sure that you check the fees associated with the cards, how many purchases you have to make in order to get rewards, and use comparison sites to see which ones offer the best deals.
Be More Flexible with Your Destinations
A lot of people tend to be rigid with their destination choices for a variety of reasons. But more often than not, it is because of ignorance. Many people tend to stick to popular destinations, without considering the fact that there may be destinations nearby that offer the same advantages for a fraction of the price.
For instance, Costa Rica tends to be a very popular destination during the winter. But did you know that you could enjoy basically the same amenities, climate and ambiance in nearby Nicaragua. Or, when most people book a trip to the Caribbean, they usually think about Jamaica or the Barbados, right? Well, the Caribbean is full of great hidden gems like Tobago, Belize and St Kitts, which offer the same advantages without the high prices.
Forget Chain Hotels
With all the options at your disposition today, there is absolutely no need for you to go to a major chain for lodging if you’re on a tight budget.
For instance, you could opt to a small family owned hotel instead. Small mom and pop hotels and guesthouses often offer much better service than bigger chains and the service is usually more personalized. You can find tons of them on sites like TripAdvisor and hotels.com, make sure that you check second opinions from previous guest to get an idea of the level of service you can expect.
Another option that a lot of people overlook, or are simply not aware of, is house sitting. Yes, you could actually get paid to stay in an exotic locale. In some cases, owners will offer free lodging in exchange for services. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty during your vacation, this could be a great option. Sites like House Carers, Mind My House and Luxury House Sitting are great places to start checking for house sitting gigs.
Renting an apartment or condo is another great way to save money if you’re traveling with a group of friends. However, you shouldn’t expect things like a concierge or maid service if you’re trying to cut on costs. Furnished apartment rentals are very popular at the moment and you shouldn’t have difficulty finding good rental apartments. And, what’s great about them is that they often cost half the price of hotel rooms, but offer much more privacy and pretty much all the perks like high speed internet and pools in many cases. You also get the chance to cook your own food, which will further cut your costs.
Bid for Deals
However, if you absolutely want to stay at an hotel, you can always bid for deals. You can go to a site like BetterBiding.com to get a sense of how much other travelers paid for rooms through services like Hotwire, Opaque and Priceline. Then, simply enter a similar bid and hope it gets accepted. This is a great way to get deals even on very popular destinations. Or, you could always on a coupon site like GoGoShopper.com and search for deals.
Go on Free Tours
When it comes to activities, there are plenty of free things that you can do on your trip to further cut costs. Most destinations offer free tours and they can be a great way to get to know the local culture without spending a dime. It is also a great way to make new acquaintances. You could also go on hospitality websites like Couchsurfing and find people who will be more than happy to show you around.
Book at the Last Minute
While it doesn’t work all the time with flights, booking at the last minute can save you tons of money on cruises and tours. By booking at the last minute, you could save up to 25% on cruises, which is a pretty penny when you think about it. Cruise lines don’t want to send out half empty ships and will do everything in their power to book every ship to its full capacity, which is a great opportunity for bargains.
As you can see, saving on travel is pretty simple when you know how to go about it. Be flexible with your destination choices and make sure that you book at the right time of the day and during off season. Also, make sure that you consider alternative lodging options such as mom and pop lodges and hotels, apartments and even house sitting if you have to. Last, but not least, consider hopping on a free tour once you get there and also consider booking a last minute cruise or tour to further cut on costs.