“Save some money? Nah, I’m good”, said no one ever. Vacations are fun. It’s your chance to see places and things that you’ve never seen before and have experiences you’ve never had before. But you still want to get the most bang for your buck, right? I thought so. So what are some things to keep in mind when trying to keep your travel costs down? Glad you asked! I have 11 tips. You’re welcome.
Buses are bestest!
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it once. Ok, maybe more than once but I’m going to say it again (you will deal): Buses are generally cheaper! I have a friend who lives in Houston and almost always travels by bus when she comes to Dallas because it doesn’t cost as much as flying. This is especially true for groups. Chartering through a company like Preferred Motorcoach Transportation *wink, wink* will save everyone in the party a lot on getting to their destination.
Do what you can before hand.
Scar and the hyenas said it best, “Be prepared!” While this seems pretty obvious, you’d be surprised. Obviously, it is going to be a good idea to start saving up your spending money before you go. It’s also a good idea to look for online deals on some of the fun things you want to do and see while on your trip. Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer lots of deals on some fun stuff.
Don’t forget anything and prepare for EVERYTHING.
Again, I’m sure this seems self-explanatory. But again, you’d be surprised. Don’t forget something that you’ll end up having to buy when you get to where you’re going. And prepare for all kinds of weather anomalies to occur. When I went to New York with a friend last year, it rained the first day we were there. It continued to rain for a majority of our stay. And guess what? She forgot to bring an umbrella. So guess what happened? She had to buy one! I always travel with an umbrella, a jacket, and both open and closed toe shoes. Even in the summer. Because you never know.
Travel during off-peak times.
This is something my mom taught me a long time ago because, you know, moms know everything. Traveling during the week instead of on weekends tends to be cheaper. This includes hotel rooms, tickets for things, etc. If you do want to travel on the weekend, hotels that typically cater to weekday business travelers are usually a lot less expensive on weekends. More money in your pocket, boo. Make it rain.
Sharing is Caring!
My friends and I did this once on a trip to New Orleans. This was a good idea for two reasons. 1) We got to sample more things by sharing, which is great in a food rich city like NOLA and 2) We spent less on our meals.This is also true for hotel and everything. Basically, the more people who share the cost, the less money you each pay. Because math.
Use public transportation. Or your feets.
Remember that NOLA trip I was talking about above? We call this trip our “Struggle Trip” because we each had less money than we thought we would. The reason is because we didn’t take into account that we’d have to pay to park the car for three days. THREE. DAYS. THREE! It was parked. Not moving. Not one time did we get into that car until it was time to go. Most big cities have great public transportation systems that are very user-friendly. Don’t count out walking. Walking is how you stumble upon those little gems that you might have missed otherwise. Don’t make the same mistake we did. We were so upset. Smh.
Talk to a human person.
I know this might seem archaic. Or even like a foreign concept all together. But when booking things like hotels, if you don’t see any good deals online, try calling and talking to a human. The optimist in me believes that humans are generally nice. And helpful. Speaking to a live human on the phone can save you a lot more than if you’d just booked online.
Give the local food & libation a chance.
Let me tell you something: those sketchy looking hole-in-the-wall spots are probably going to be better on your wallet than those tourist-trap spots. Most times, the food is a WHOLE lot better, too.
Swap lunch and dinner.
Fun fact: Americans tend to be the only people who save their largest meal of the day for the end of the day. Most everywhere else in the world reserves lunch for the largest meal. Doing this while on vacation can be a real money saver. Lunch is typically a cheaper meal than dinner. You can also take it a step further and do a late lunch. A late lunch during happy hour times when meals are cheaper AND free food is often included? Winning!
Stay in smaller, independent hotels.
Smaller, independent, boutique type hotels are usually cheaper than their larger chain hotel counterparts. I love these kinds of hotels because aside from their lower cost, they tend to have a lot of character and are a lot more charming. The hotel shouldn’t be where all of your money goes. Besides, you probably won’t be spending much time in there anyway. This is a hotel my friends and I stayed in New York last year. It was adorable! The best part was it was about $100 less per night than some of the larger hotels in the area.
Do not, under any circumstances, eat those hotel room snacks.
I know. I know that basket is just set up so pretty and what not. And you need a little midnight snack and they won’t notice that small bag of pretzels missing, right? Wrong. I used to work in a hotel. I worked in the food and beverage department and part of my job was stocking the mini bar and snack basket. Guess what? They know EXACTLY what is in that basket. And they will find out and charge you. If you want some snacks in your room, get them from a drug store. Your wallet will thank you.
So. Do you have any tips to save money on vacay while still being able to enjoy yourself? Let me know in the comments!
Preferred Motorcoach Transportation