So you’ve booked your trip and done everything you can think of to make sure you got the best deals. But have you thought about how you’re going to save money while you’re enjoying the big wide world? If you’re all booked up and ready to go, read our tips on how to save money when you travel.
1. Pack Light
Most airlines charge extra for checked bags, so consider travelling with a carry-on only, or one checked bag between you and your travel buddy. Sounds impossible, right? As a former heavy traveler myself, I actually really enjoy the challenge. You have to think strategically. Try to cut down on shoes as they tend to take up the most space. Wear your bulkiest shoes to the airport to free up space in your luggage.
Bring items you can mix and match, are appropriate for different sites and activities, and that you can wear more than once. Try to bring as few bottoms as possible, and loose tops instead of tight ones. You’ll get more wear out of loose tops because they pick up less sweat. If your destination has a cold climate, bring just a few sweaters but enough t-shirts to last the entire trip. The t-shirts take up less space, and layering them under the bulkier items will get you more wear out of each sweater.
Try rolling instead of folding your clothes. Rolled clothes take up less space than folded clothes.
Bonus! If you’re staying with family or friends, ask if you can use their laundry facilities. This will really help you bring as few things as possible!
2. Pack Right
These items are essential if you want to save money while travelling:
- A reusable water bottle. In addition to helping the environment, you’ll save money by not having to buy several bottles a day to keep you hydrated. If you’re uncertain about the water quality at your destination, do some research before you leave, and consider investing in a bottle with a built in filter. Brita and Zero water offer affordable models, but even if you splurge on a more expensive brand, the lifetime usage you get out of it will more than make up for the initial cost.
- A few extra socks and underwear. Just in case, so you’re not in a position to have to buy them.
- A poncho. They’re usually cheaper than umbrellas, give you and your bags better coverage in the rain, and won’t get bent out of shape in high winds.
- Debit and credit cards charge per transaction, not to mention the conversion fees. Plus, it’s easy to overspend when there’s plastic involved. Set a daily budget and bring enough cash to cover it. Use your cards for emergencies only.
3. Do as the Locals Do
Since the touristy restaurants and shops tend to be pricier, finding out where the locals go is imperative if you want to save money. When we were in Southern Europe this summer, we made sure to ask everyone for recommendations – our taxi drivers, hotel staff, street vendors, ticketing agents – you name it. We got lots of great tips for restaurants outside the main touristy areas, live music, the best beaches, shopping, etc.
Local vendors often have special offers for hotel guests as a way to drive business. Take advantage of these by asking your concierge if they have any discounts for attractions and restaurants, even train or shuttle fares they can offer.
4. Have a Larger Lunch
Lunch tends to be less expensive than dinner. Making sure you fill yourself up mid-day will help you get away with a smaller meal in the evening.
5. There’s an App for that!
You don’t always need to spring for a guided tour to enrich your experience. There are lots of apps and websites that will guide you through a site for little to zero money. Do some research before you spring for a guided tour. You might just find that, at least for some attractions, you can get away with an app or web site.
If you need some help saving up for your trip, check out our 6 Tips to Help You Save Up for a Vacation.