10 Ways to Save Money While Traveling

Take a quick look at your bucket list. If you’re anything like me, the list grows every year. I start the year with grand ambitions to travel and explore. Unfortunately, there is a very distinct limiting factor: my wallet.

Travelling can be expensive, especially when airfare is involved. Here are some tips and tricks to reduce the cost.

  • Grocery stores and picnics are wonderful. When you travel, limit how often you eat out. Instead, grab supplies from local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. If you are someplace new, like Hawaii or abroad, grocery stores can be a lot of fun! What’s more, if you have your meals with you, you don’t have to interrupt your activities to find a place to eat.
Hostels are a great way to meet people and save money, such as the Waikiki Beachside Hostel (now sadly closed due to COVID).
  • Research your housing options before you go. Hotels can really increase the cost of a trip. Take the time to research before you go. Prioritize what it is you need in your accommodations. Is this just a base camp while you explore, or will you be spending extended time there? Do you need to be in city central, or can you commute a little bit for your adventures? Research across different websites to find the best deal. I’ve found some incredible options through AirBnB and VRBO. Don’t count out hostels, either. If you don’t mind sharing a room, you can get some wonderful deals and meet fascinating people from around the world.
  • Pack light. I’ve discussed packing light before. Not only is it easier to navigate, but you’ll be saving bag check costs. If you will be returning home with souvenirs, bring a collapsible duffle bag to check on the plane ride home. That way you only need to check a bag one way.
  • Go in the off season. This is a big one. If your job and life allows it, going in the off season will save you a lot of money. Not only will accommodations and plane tickets be less expensive, but there’ll be fewer tourists at your destination.
  • Fly in an off time. The bulk of travelers book their plane tickets to leave Thursday, Friday, or Sunday. If you fly early in the week, you’ll be able to score cheaper plane tickets.
  • Check out Wifi-To-Go. Are you traveling abroad? Kelly Lack, the content and community lead at Spot suggests Wifi-To-Go. “Little, rentable mobile routers — nicknamed ‘pocket WiFi’ — are becoming more available in places like Europe and Japan. Typically you reserve one, then pick it up at the airport or have it delivered to your hotel. They cost a low per-day fee, and will save you from international roaming charges, paying for hotel WiFi if it’s not gratis, or having to buy a coffee every time you want to use a cafe’s WiFi but you realize that it’s password protected so you can’t ‘borrow’ it from outside.
I usually budget for one or two special drinks per trip, such as this Mai Tai from Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • Drink responsibly. Alcoholic drinks are expensive everywhere. If you are in a high-tourist area, the alcoholic drinks will be even more expensive. Go easy on the drinks!
  • Leverage Free Admission Days. Most museums and attractions have free admission days, usually on Sunday or Monday. If there is a particular site you want to see, plan ahead to schedule your trip when there is free admission.
  • Chat up the locals. From accommodation hosts to baristas and farmers market vendors, locals are a wealth of knowledge. They are usually more than happy to give advice and recommendations. Not only will this give you info about local treasures, but it saves money on booking tours.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. Before you go, take a good look at your finances. After paying for your big expenses like accommodations and transportation, how much is in your food budget? How about your souvenir budget? Write some splurge money into your budget. A lot of people like using the envelope system to help keep themselves on track. Whichever budget method works for you, stick to it. Future you will thank you.

Happy Adventuring!

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