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The 10 Best Money Saving Travel Tips (2023)

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Last Updated on January 5, 2023 by Nicole

Let’s face it, travel can be expensive. You’ve got plane tickets to buy, accommodation to book, activities to purchase, and you still have to eat. After all those purchases, your credit card might simply blow up!

Saving money while traveling might feel impossible — after all, you don’t want to miss out on anything. I get that. I’ve been there and have the overpriced t-shirt to prove it. After years of travel and looking at my bank account with sadness, I knew that I had to get smarter about how I was spending my money exploring the world.

If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place.

These tried-and-true money saving travel tips are the best way to save money while traveling. You might be thinking, yeah, but am I going to miss out on all of the good stuff — heck no! In some cases, it might be the exact opposite. If you follow my travel hacks, you might get to see and do some of the best things in your destination that you would have otherwise normally missed. Here’s how!

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Other Travel Tips

For the ultimate guide to how to plan and book a trip, please see Planning A Holiday: A Foolproof Guide To Easy Vacation Planning.

If you are keen to travel to Europe in summer notwithstanding it is high season, then check out 28 Best Cheap Places In Europe For A Summer Vacation for cheap European destinations.

For budget travel in the USA, please see 25 Best Cheap Places In USA For A Summer Vacation.

For those of who have always wanted to do an African safari, but were overwhelmed by the cost, consider reviewing 6 Simple Steps To Create Your Own Affordable African Safari.

If you have always wanted to go to some of the more expensive destinations in the world, but need money-saving ideas, please see:

Finally, for those who are tempted to go on all-inclusive vacations because you think they are a good deal, you should first read this article – All Inclusive Resorts: Why They Are A Rip Off!

If you would like to Travel Cheaper, Smarter and Easier, then join the thousands of subscribers who receive my weekly newsletter filled with the most up to date and best travel tips around. Sign up with this link!

The Best Travel Tips to Save Money

Here are the 10 best travel tips to save money.

best money saving travel tips
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Find Housesits

This is my absolute favorite money-saving travel tip! You can stay at someone’s home in exchange for caring for their pets, plants, or sometimes just the house.

There are many housesitting companies that can assist you in finding the best one for you. I recommend Trusted House Sitters. The platform lists places from all around the globe. Personally, I have used it throughout the US and the UK. In one year, I easily saved over $5,000.

A couple of other house-sitting sites include MindMyHouse and Nomador.

Stay Outside The City Center For Less Expensive Accommodation

Some of you might not have the flexibility needed to housesit or you may be uncomfortable staying at someone else’s home. If that is the case, don’t choose accommodation right in the heart of the city — you will always pay more. Instead, choose some place a little outside the city center, near public transit, or within a reasonable walk.

An easy way to see if the hotel is near public transit is to look on Google Maps. You will often see little transit icons. Also, you can put in a popular tourist attraction in the search to see how far how you would be and how easily it might be to get there from the proposed accommodation.

I also check TripAdvisor to see what people might have said about its location. Is the hotel near the metro or bus stops?

Alternatively, look for hostels, rented rooms in a house on Airbnb, or hotels with shared bathrooms. These options will always be cheaper than a traditional hotel room. 

best travel tips to save money
Photo courtesy of Rebecca from Veggies Abroad

Plan Meals Ahead Of Time To Save Money On Trips 

Don’t get me wrong. I love eating out, but it can eat up your travel budget fast! Before traveling, do some research — Google restaurant options, review travel guides, and find restaurants you can’t miss. When you find restaurants at which you want to eat, be sure to add them to your Google Map so you can easily find them once there.  

You’ll find that most cities offer a diversity of options for every budget and palette. I am a Vegan so for affordable vegan-friendly eats, don’t miss Toronto! However, some cities are just more expensive regardless of your palette. If you’re visiting cities like New York, London, or Zurich, you will need to budget more for eating out. 

In addition to prioritizing a few restaurants you can’t miss, look for local markets and plan to purchase food for other meals. You will save a fortune making some meals or even selecting food for a picnic. At a minimum, pick up snacks to extend your time between meals and purchase drinks.

Research Activities & Compare Options For Budget-Friendly Choices 

Having an idea of what you really want to do before you go will cut down on travel FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and the risk of blowing through your budget once you are there.

Sit down, research the tourist attractions and activities that you want to do. Afterwards, check multiple sites like Viator and Get Your Guide, and directly with the service provider to find the best tours and prices.

I have found lower prices on one site over another for similar or the same activities. Also, booking activities in advance is almost always more cost-effective than same day and onsite. 

money-saving travel hacks
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Find Free Activities To Save Money

No matter where you’re visiting, you’re bound to find some cool things you can do for free. For instance, one of my favorite free things to do in London is a walking tour (although it is free, you still need to give a thoughtful tip if you enjoyed it). Not only do you get to see the major sights through the eyes of a local but often there are hidden gems that you would miss on your own. This is also an excellent opportunity to get the inside scoop from a local about the things they love to do and recommended restaurants and bars.

If a walking tour isn’t for you, there are often loads of other free activities to check out – from free entrance fees at a variety of museums in Washington, DC or New York City, to exploring unique street art in Nashville or Miami — none of it will cost you a dime. 

Take Public Transit 

Skip Uber and buy a transit pass. Although opening the Uber app and requesting a pickup is super convenient, it will always be more expensive than taking public transit. Many cities also offer discounts for students, children, and seniors, making it even cheaper. In addition, day or multi-day passes are often way less money than paying by the ride.

If you’re intimidated by public transit, don’t fret, there’s always an app to help. I almost always use Google Maps, whether in the US or abroad, in addition to uploading local transit apps to help me get around. Many of these also work offline so you don’t have to worry about purchasing data or finding wifi.

If you would like to Travel Cheaper, Smarter and Easier, then join the thousands of subscribers who receive my weekly newsletter filled with the most up to date and best travel tips around. Sign up with this link!

Travel In Low Season To Avoid Overpaying

Another fantastic money-saving travel tip for budget travelers is to take your vacation in shoulder season or even, low season.

Every destination has a high season when prices are inflated, meaning it is the most popular times to go and you will pay the most. Accordingly, research the destination before setting your dates to find the times that are the cheapest to visit. For example, if your heart is set on Europe, avoid it at all costs during the summer. You can find inexpensive destinations, but it certainly is harder.

When it is low or shoulder season is different depending on where you go. For most countries in Europe, low or shoulder season starts in late fall and ends mid-spring. However, those dates are exactly when it is high season in the southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Traveling on the off or shoulder season can also be a better experience. You’re not fighting with giant crowds to get into restaurants or popular tourist attractions, or to just try and take a picture. Sometimes the weather can be tricky, but just research what to expect so you can pack appropriately. 

money saving tips for budget travelers
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Track Flights Or Look For Mistakes To Save Money

You might be thinking, wait, airlines don’t make mistakes! Yes, they do, and you can benefit from it. Sometimes airlines will publish a cheap fare incorrectly, or prices will drop sharply for a specific period. When this happens, you want to be ready to grab these flights.

There are two ways to find the cheapest fares. First, if you have particular dates in mind, track them on Google Flights. Google will alert you if the price increases or decreases and can also give you historical pricing on the fare. This way, you know if your flight budget is even within reason.

The second is to sign up for alerts or membership with a site like Scott’s Cheap Flights. They scour the internet for airfare deals and mistakes, and if there is one associated with your home airport, you will receive an email and a link to book it immediately. You can find deals from all around the globe. I once got a flight to Tampa for $100!

Use Credit Card Points For The Best Money-Saving Travel Hack

If you’re the type of person who pays for things with a debit card or cash, then you need to stop! The travel benefits of paying by credit card can be huge.

Not every credit card offers travel benefits, and if they do, each one is different. Accordingly, it pays to do a little research to find the best one available to you.

One resource is to ask people that you know. Questions for couples, families or friends who travel a lot using the benefits from their credit card should include whether their card offers travel insurance (and which ones) and free things, like checked bags or companion tickets.

With most major credit cards that have specific travel benefits, you can use the points to pay for airfare, hotel rooms, and other expenses. I have used points to pay for domestic and international airfare and hotel rooms. 

If you live in the United States, I suggest looking at the benefits of Capitol One and Chase credit cards to start. I would also skip the airline credit cards unless you travel a specific airline a ton (and even then, I would examine the benefits).

Some of the best travel reward credit cards do have a fee, but in my experience, it is worth it if you travel or want to travel a lot. If you’re leery of the fee, a few have lower-end options without a fee, but the travel rewards just aren’t as good.

travel tips to save money
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Choose A Budget-Friendly Destination Where Your Dollar Goes Further

If you want to make sure you stick to a tight budget, don’t choose an expensive destination. Instead, find a destination where your dollar goes far!

I learned this mistake the hard way. I put together a proper budget for a trip to Switzerland. I booked affordable accommodations and got a deal on airfare. However, that all went out the window once I arrived. I didn’t account for the heavy markup on food, cost of train tickets, and more (rookie mistake). 

A few budget-friendly destinations include Costa Rica, Mexico, Vietnam, Argentina, and more. In some of these places, you can get a delicious meal for just $1 USD, while a more “expensive” meal could set you back around $5 – $10 USD.

Last Word

With the right money saving travel planning, you can make a budget and stick to it. That means stretching your travel dollars and allowing you to travel more or longer each year. It takes time, but the process will be rewarding. When you feel the sun on your face as you walk along gorgeous beaches, or visit famous sites that you have only seen in books or on social media, you will know that your efforts were well worth it.

About the Author

Rebecca lives in Metro Detroit and is the creator of the vegan travel blog and consulting company Veggies Abroad. It was born from her love of travel, and the question she often gets asked after every trip, “What in the world did you eat?” When she isn’t checking out new vegan hot spots, you can find her hanging out with her furry children or daydreaming about traveling to new destinations full of delicious vegan food.

the authorNicole
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