Seven Ways to Cut Down on Travel Costs
The hustle and bustle of today’s world can wear a person down and make them dream about a vacation far away from their day-to-day obligations. In fact, traveling for pleasure is on the top of everyone’s list of enjoyable activities at one point or another. From the retiree with the RV to the young college student taking a semester off from his or her studies, travel offers a sense of adventure and excitement that is life changing. One trek around the world is enough to alter most people’s perception. The only downfall to this type of getaway is that it often costs exorbitant amounts of money to get from one location to the next.
Less expensive ways of traveling exist but are often not advertised. Simply put, tourism brings money into cities worldwide. The objective of a five star hotel is to make a profit off your stay. Airlines charge for checked baggage because they too are looking to make a fast buck. You can get around these fees by doing your homework in advance. In fact, with a little bit of research and a determined attitude, you can save yourself a bundle on travel expenses.
Compare Airlines Before You Buy a Ticket
Before hitting the submit button and buying a plane ticket, take a day to comparison shop the different airlines one by one. You will be surprised at how many charges you can accumulate on one flight when flying with certain companies. Choose the airline that provides the best bang for your buck. This can be in the form of a mid-flight meal, complimentary snacks and beverages, and free upgrades. Why fly coach when you can pay the same to fly first class?
Stay in a Hostel Instead of a Hotel
Hostels offer travelers a clean, safe place to lay their weary heads after sightseeing without the expense of a luxury hotel. Commonly referred to as “youth hostels,” most accommodate travelers of all ages and income levels. They do this by keeping costs low and providing basic amenities like furnished kitchens, common areas, and pay phones. Individuals have the option of staying one night or weeks at a time if they wish to remain in a location longer. If you plan to stay in a hotel anyway, might I suggest checking out our How to Get Cheap Hotel Deals article?
Couchsurf or Swap Houses
Couchsurfing is a popular term among long-term travelers and backpackers. It refers to a network of “hosts” willing to let visitors stay in their home for free. In exchange for their hospitality, these men and women have the luxury of meeting new people from around the world without taking a step outside their front door. Travelers get to explore different parts of the globe without incurring the costs of lodging. It is a win-win situation for both parties. In fact, the CouchSurfing.org website has over one million members in 69,000 cities.
House swapping is a fairly new phenomenon. Rather than spend money on a timeshare or renting out a condo, families make arrangements to stay in other people’s homes while they are away. In return, the family on vacation agrees to allow their host to stay in their home at a later date. This allows both parties to eliminate the cost of lodging while traveling and builds long lasting friendships between hosts and guests.
Get Travel Insurance
Singlehandedly one of the most important things every traveler should carry. Even the most basic policy can help out in a pinch. In fact, depending on the company, most travel insurance covers emergency medical treatment, assistance, and evacuation, cancellation, curtailment, and trip interruption as well as legal expenses. Some policies will even help out if you miss a flight, lose your baggage or wind up in the hospital because of an accident or illness.
Cook Your Own Meals
Many hotels and hostels have a fully operational kitchen with appliances, pots and pans, and dishes. Make your way to the market and purchase the items needed to make great meals. Try foods that are regional and in-season. Also, purchase easy-to-carry snacks like nuts, granola bars, and dried fruit so you can ward off hunger pangs while sightseeing.
Take Advantage of Free Museums, Concerts, and Events
When in doubt, ask the locals. They know the best deals around town. If no one is willing to give you the inside scoop, pick up a copy of the local paper. Given that you can read the language that it is written in, you may find all sorts of festivals, art shows, and exhibits to spend time at. Best of all, the price of admission is FREE!
Skip the Souvenirs
All the trinkets you acquire from souvenir shops weigh down your luggage and end up costing more than they are worth. Instead of plopping money down on snow globes and keychains, carry a small unlined journal with you and a glue stick. Collect postcards, photographs, and ticket stubs. Record one or two sentences about each memento in your journal as a way of helping you remember the details of your trip.
Going on a memorable trip does not have to cost a fortune. By exploring your options and exercising some creativity, you can enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank. The thing to remember is, the less you spend on pricey airline tickets and luxury accommodations, the more money you have to spend on your next vacation.