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There are numerous ways to save money on travel expenses. While I talk about them a lot and it’s the main topic of Travel Freedom, points and miles are not the only way to save massive amounts of money while on vacation. In fact, points and miles can’t always be used, so it pays to understand where you can save money on paid travel as well. There are six valuable ways to decrease your costs and save money on travel, without downgrading. I’ll explain each of them to you.
RENTING A CONDO OR HOUSE
Most people only think of staying in hotels when they book their vacation. What if I were to tell you that by instead booking a condo or house, you could save money and have more amenities. You won’t have a buffet breakfast, and you won’t have a concierge desk, but do those things actually bring you any value? What’s great about having your condo or house while on vacation is that it feels more like a home. From my experience, it usually also saves you money compared to a hotel. The best part of having a condo is that the condo has both laundry and a kitchen.
There are many resources for booking condos and homes to rent, but I’ve used both airbnb and vrbo with nothing but success. They are both very easy and have many options, everywhere that I’ve taken advantage of them. I also try to find a property that waives their cleaning fee for a week or more stay to save even more money.
PREPARE YOUR OWN MEALS
If you’re staying at a hotel with a kitchenette, or a condo with a full kitchen, you can save a bunch of money by preparing some or all of your meals. Eating meals out, really adds to the travel bill. Let’s just imagine a week vacation for two where you eat out for every meal. If the average bill is $40, that ends up being $120 a day and $840 a week. The way I like to save on food is to prepare most of our breakfasts and lunches, and prepare one or two dinners each week. This alone can save you and your family hundreds of dollars, plus you’ll probably be eating healthier if you make it yourself.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR TRAVEL DATES
Can you fly on Friday instead of Saturday? Can you take your vacation the week after popular spring break dates? Being just a little bit flexible in the dates you travel can save you quite a bit of money. If you’re paying for your flights, many of the travel search engines like Sky Scanner, will tell you if it is cheaper to fly the day before or the day after. Also, hotel room prices fluctuate depending on the dates you want to book, so one day may be half the price of the next. It’s not always possible to be flexible on your dates, but when you can be, there is an opportunity to save money on travel.
FIND FREE ACTIVITIES
There are so many fun activities and beautiful sites to be seen in any city or region that don’t cost a penny. Just go search on google “Things to do in (vacation destination)” and you will find an abundance of places to visit that either cost nothing or are very affordable. Often times these places are the most memorable activities from your vacation too! Hikes, snorkeling destinations, architecture, museums, parks… There are so many possibilities for your vacation. Don’t only stick to the touristy activities. Venture out and I can guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun.
USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Depending on your travel destination, public transportation may be a viable option to get around. It doesn’t work everywhere, but a lot of larger cities have very good public transportation. You can take light rails, subways, trains, buses. Uber or Lyft are other options to save money if you won’t be driving enough to warrant a rental car. It’s available almost every now and continues to grow rapidly. Rental cars can be very expensive depending on the location and dates of your travel, so it makes sense to look into alternative options.
USE MILES INSTEAD OF MONEY
The biggest way of saving money while traveling, and the whole reason I started Travel Freedom, is the use of miles and points instead of your hard earned money. As shown in almost every blog post of Travel Freedom, you can earn miles and points without actually traveling to earn them. Banks are willing to give out huge introductory bonuses for having one of their branded credit cards, which can lead to thousands upon thousands of dollars saved for you.
Imagine using 50,000 points instead of $1,600 for your honeymoon flights, or staying for free with credited nights at a five-star resort for 3 nights instead of paying their typical cost of $500 per night… You can absolutely travel abundantly without having to spend much money at all. Points and miles are the number one way to achieve this.
Now that you know of these six ways to save some money on travel, get started on booking your next trip. You know you need it! If you have any tips on how to save money on travel, please share with everyone in the comments!