Updated: Sep 16, 2020
There are a lot of ways to save time and money on traveling. We will share with you 10 of our favorite ways you can save money on traveling.
1. Often when planning a trip, if you plan in advance you can save money just by changing up the days that you travel. According to many travel sites there are pros and cons of trying to choose the best days to fly for the better deals. Some experts say that many airlines including Southwest post their “sales” on flights on Tuesdays. Other experts say that is doesn’t matter what day of the week you buy your tickets at all. Nugget: When you know when you plan to travel check your flights on a few different days of the week to see if your prices change. We do this regularly when booking flights. We have definitely seen variations in the prices. Consider the times you will fly. The off hours such as “red eyes” will be less expensive. Another thing to consider is what days of the week you fly. We also have seen a difference in price on what day you fly out and return. We try to avoid the weekends and returning on Sundays. If you must travel on the weekend the experts agree flying on Saturday is better than a Friday. Tuesday and Wednesdays we have noticed a lower price difference. This gets a bit tricky so don’t extend your stay unless it makes financial sense with an extra night hotel’s stay etc. We did find that experts agreed on the most cost-effective flights are booked one to three months in advance. The longer you wait and the closer it gets to your expected day of travel the more you may pay. Checking different “cheap flight” sites are another way to try and grab the best deal and we do notice a change up to 3.00 to 10.00 per ticket differences between the sites and sometimes they are so close to the same it doesn’t matter which one you go through. We have some ticket sites with our savings membership so we tend to go with the one that will give us the most cash back. Airports also make a difference on the cost of your ticket. Sometimes the local closer airport is a smaller airport and often you will pay more to use those airports. You may find that a smaller airport might be less expensive. It might pay to compare. You may want to check the next closest larger airport or smaller one and see if it might cover or save you money on transportation to your destination such as an Uber or Lyft ride. I am about convenience so sometimes it is just worth paying a few dollars more. The summer season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), and winter holiday seasons (Christmas through New Year's Day) are going to cost more.
2. Some of the ways are common sense but we thought we would put them on here. Always make sure you check on what luggage is allowed on your flight. We have noticed some of the airlines getting back on some of their flights to offer free carry on. So, if you get a free carry on and a personal item you may be able to get by without a checked bag. Here are some things to consider however. Remember the ounce limits on liquids. Can you bring what you need in your carry on or personal item? We like to use back packs and carry-on luggage. If the carry-on luggage in free, I have my husband carry a back pack as his personal item so we can take more things with us. I will not carry a purse and use a back pack where I can fit more items in that bag and still have it fit under the seat. Tip: If you bring a carry-on and they ask if you want to check it for free, it is for sure a bonus not to have to deal with it putting it above to store but remember that they don’t come off the plan very fast and you may find yourself waiting in line as you exit the plane. If you are not at your final destination or you don’t have much time between connecting flights it may take up valuable time and you may be better off keeping it with you on the plane. (Easter Egg #1)
3. Use your points or miles to help offset expenses. There are many credit cards out there that will give points or miles for travel expenses. Many times our flights have been covered by our points we can use from our credit card that has a good point/mile per dollar ratio. May have to do some research on this one to see what’s available based on your own credit history. Sign up for hotel membership reward programs. You can earn free night stays and other perks.
4. Stay on the outskirts of the city or tourist section. Often times VRBO or Airbnb have less expensive lodging options and we have found many in out of the way places and even castles in Ireland to stay that were much less expensive then the commercially owned castles we looked at. A tip for saving even more and up to 15% is use Air BNB, VRBO, Flip Key, Home Away, etc. is to use these sites as a resource and contact the owner directly for your booking. Be careful what you click on so you don't get unexpected booking fees. Do some "Google" investigative work to search out the property and check out Facebook for the property listing as well to find a way to book direct. Some of these booking sites put their fees right in the "cost per night" rate so you are not sure what you are paying for fees. This saves the owners money as well that they pay to these sites for finding renters up to 10%.
5. Be adventurous and plan ahead for site seeing on your own vs paying for excursions. Again, consider the convenience vs the time you will need to spend on researching what are the best places to go and may be what you should avoid when getting out on your own.
6. One of the things that has helped us is planning a budget and sticking to it. This requires some planning. Our most recent trip to Alaska for 2 weeks we did just that. We budgeted meals, excursions, souvenirs, the whole kit and caboodle and wanted to pay cash for the vacation and not put anything on a charge card. We planned 18 months in advance and put together a budget and savings plan. I must admit one of the benefits of using Princess Cruise lines for the Cruise Tour was that you could make any amount of payments at any time as long as the trip was paid for 3 months before our sail date. We booked all of our excursions ahead of time so when we left the entire trip was paid for except any meals we needed to purchase and any additional spending on souvenirs etc. We can’t tell you how that felt to have a trip like that all paid for when we left. It really took a lot of pressure off of us and allowed us to really enjoy the trip and not worry about how much money we were spending each day knowing we were going to be gone for two weeks!
7. Talk to the locals. Often times you will get the best advice on where to eat and what are the best things to see. I assure you they know where the best deals are and not the places to pay tourist prices.
8. DYI: When we travel on our annual family vacation to the North Woods of Wisconsin, we divide up the grocery list by the number of families that are staying in each cabin. We usually have 3-4 kids and their families with us so we make up a grocery list and divide out the food. We learned this the hard way by everyone taking home half of the food they brought up and lots of duplicates!! A little time consuming but have saved hundreds of dollars on food and beverages. Another thing we do on this same family vacation is each cabin (we usually have 4-5 depending on who can make it) so each cabin takes a turn fixing dinner for the entire family each night. We save one night to go out to eat usually the Friday night before we leave and we may have a pizza night during the middle of the week. It is nice because each family only has to cook one night of the seven days we stay and the rest of the nights you just show up to eat. It has been working out great this way for years now. Think about what you can prepare on your own vs dining out for every meal. Make sure your hotel room has a refrigerator so you can have some items available to eat on your own.
9. Use coupons, groupon, and discount hotel bookings. We like to use Hotels.com as we get extra discounts through our saving membership program and access to secret pricing offers as well as discounts on rental cars. Do your research. We have including a link under Saavy Savings for searching for coupons and coupon codes. Look for hotels that have free WiFi.
10. When traveling do your research on free activities. Going to the beach, or a park for a picnic, or attend free music in the park type of activities or other festivals. Check ahead of time when certain tourist attractions may have a certain discount day or time or even a free day and plan accordingly.
There are certainly more ways to save and we did not cover them all here. We hope we gave you some good ideas and food for thought. The bottom line is this. Plan, plan and plan! The more research you do and the more planning you do the more you can save time and money. Vacations should be fun and relaxing and if well thought out you pretty much have to just show up and avoid the stress of figuring things out as you go!
Thanks for stopping by and spending a bit of your valuable time with us! We are always looking to share ways to save time and money. Feel free to make comments and suggestions!
Have an awesome week and see you next time!
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