Here are some tips on traveling on a budget:
1) Miles and Rewards: I can never understate the benefit that credit card Miles and Rewards programs are. We have taken numerous trips where we have traveled strictly on miles and/or rewards. The best part is, it only takes you paying the things you already pay with a credit card that offers you rewards. There are numerous websites out there that provide comparisons for rewards programs. Some will even offer you a large quantity of miles and rewards just for signing up. We have calculated that even the annual fee is worth paying, since the miles collected are equivalent to a much greater monetary value. Its free money!
2) Blind Booking: I have found this option to be useful in areas where hotels can be prohibitively expensive. We found a hotel that is normally $369 a night for $119 per night. Some sites offer you deep discounts on hotels, but you will not know what hotel you booked until you have booked. Beware of extra fees though. Some hotels will charge an additional booking fee or parking fee. Our hotel offered parking at $54 a night!
3) Flexibility: Having flexible travel dates can save you money. Sometimes travel on a Thursday or a Tuesday can be cheaper. When booking, select the flexible dates option and you may find a much better rate a few dates before or after your originally selected dates. I once traveled to Philadelphia and found that it would be cheaper to stay two extra nights with a rental car included than to leave on a Sunday. So, I got two extra travel days for less money!
4) Deals: If you don’t have a particular location you are considering. Look for deals. There are plenty of travel sites out there that have weekly and daily offers. You never know what you will find on there. If you do know where you want to go, sign up for alerts. Rates are sometimes offered for last minute travel or slow travel periods. Keep an eye out for these deals.
5) Breakfast Included: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Staying at a hotel that includes breakfast can be equally as important. This will save you valuable time and cut your meal budget. If you are really lucky, you will find a hotel that offers snacks or dinner in the afternoon as well, although these are becoming harder to find.
6) Packed Lunch: You have saved money on breakfast, why not do the same on lunch. My family used to pack sandwiches, we used to call “Squishies”. We would make sandwiches with cold cuts in for the day and pack them in a lunch box with some chips.
7) Grocery: Buying drinks and snacks can become pricey. Something we like to do is visit a grocery store the first day of our trip. We buy bottled water and snacks for the trip. Paying $5.00 for a 24 pack of bottled water vs. $3.00 per bottle, will save you money!
8) Apps and Tours: Taking a tour or hop on hop off bus can be expensive. There are many free apps for major cities and locations worldwide that provide you with free information on the destination and in some cases even provide audio tours.
9) Location: Getting around can sometimes become expensive. Cabs are more and more expensive every day. You can look for a hotel that offers a free airport shuttle and is near the public transportation system. This will reduce your transportation cost.
10) Free To See: You don’t need to go to pay-to-view attractions to make the most of a trip. There are many free attractions that you can enjoy without having to pay a penny. You don’t have to stick to the free attractions only, but when planning your trip, make a list of the attractions you want to see, rank them and make a budget of what you can spend. Based on the ranking and your budget, you can plan your trip itinerary.