A lot of us love to travel and explore various destinations. Some people are able to travel more than others. Sometimes, people have several things holding them down. I often ask people what’s holding them back from traveling. The common answer that I often get is money. If you are looking for some frugal travel tips, this post is for you.
If you’ve been a reader of My Money Chronicles for a while, you know that traveling is my anti-drug. I’d rather travel than waste money on an expensive car or a ridiculously large mansion. To me, life is all about experiences. Traveling is one of those experiences. In 2016, I had the chance to use my passport for the first time. It took me five years, but the wait was worth it.
If you are one of those thinking travel must be super-expensive, I’m here to tell you it’s not. There are truckloads of tools out there to help you save money, and today, I will go over six tips to help you see the world on a budget. I will also be highlighting several tools you’d find handy in this endeavor.
Frugal Travel Tips
Book in Advance
Book your flights and hotel reservations at least eight weeks in advance. Flights and hotel prices usually go up the closer your travel date is. So, always lock in the low prices when you see them posted. You may be able to find a good price for a last-minute ticket, but that is rare. The difference that you could save by booking early could be well over $200, which you can direct towards other expenses. This also saves you a lot of stress.
Check Your Dates & Days
Your trip dates are vital. If possible, you should try to stay away from holiday travel. That is usually when hotels and airlines raise prices. In fact, leave a couple of days early to save some money if you need to travel on a holiday. Sometimes the day of the week depends on how much a flight will cost. From my experience flights leaving on a Wednesday or Thursday are cheaper than Friday flights. I guess a lot of people love to travel on Fridays to get an extended weekend. So the airlines charge the travelers a little more. Make sure that you take an hour or two and research different dates and times.
Time of Departure
We’re up to number three on the list of frugal travel tips. Airline tickets are sometimes cheaper depending on the time you choose to depart. Early morning flights and late-night flights are usually the most inexpensive. Early morning flights are less expensive because some people have a hard time getting up in the morning. I have no problems at all getting up, so I want to thank the airlines for those lower prices. Late-night flights (red-eye) are cheaper than daytime flights for that same reason. Not everyone wants to travel during those times. Again. if you’re trying to save some money when traveling, check those times out.
Travel Search Engine
Using a travel search engine can help you find discounts too. Sometimes they may have crazy sales on hotel rooms. Many of them are steals. A couple of sites that I suggest are Priceline and Expedia. I actually wrote a nice post where I explain the successes that I have had with Priceline.
If you have a favorite airline or hotel chain, make sure that you sign up to receive e-mails from them. I have accounts with Southwest Airlines, Wyndham hotels, and more. They send e-mails about deals that they have periodically. Also, using your favorite brands will allow you to earn reward points. I’ve used points to book Marriott rooms and Southwest Airlines flights before. You can save tons by using points. This is another one of my favorite frugal travel tips.
Get 50,000 points when you sign up for the Chase Southwest Rewards credit card.
Stay with Family or Friends
Lastly, you could stay with family or friends when you go out of town. That way you can save a lot of money. If you’re in a fraternity or a sorority you can contact the local chapter in the destination city. They may let you stay with them and show you around. That’s a win-win right there. If your family or friend has extra space they’ll probably be a better choice to ask instead of someone that has a studio or one bedroom.
Next up, I have some recommended resources that you will find helpful.
Expedia is the first travel resource on this list. They have a section that features bundle deals. If you are a fan of cruises, look no further than Expedia. When you book a cruise with Expedia, you get their Price Guarantee, without worrying about cruise booking fees.
Travelocity is a travel site similar to Expedia. If you find a lower price, Travelocity will refund you the difference. Also, you can search over 400 airlines and more than 321,000 hotel rooms worldwide. They have a section on their site called Get Inspired where you can view several topics such as beach, city, and romantic
Booking.com is a site featuring truckloads of travel deals. Here, you can book hotel rooms, flights, and cars with them. Booking.com has travel guides for many of the top destinations throughout the world. They also have a section where you can view different restaurants in the city that you are going to
Orlando, Florida is one of my favorite cities to visit. I lived there for seven months when I interned at Walt Disney World. There is so much to do in Orlando – Disney World, Universal Studio, SeaWorld Orlando, etc. City Pass is one website you should check out when you are looking to visit Orlando or any other city, to be honest. They have sections for hotels, theme park tickets, shows, attractions, and tours.
Virtually everyone has heard of Groupon. If not, I’ll give you a brief explanation. Groupon is an online marketplace that specializes in offering activities, goods, and travel for people. It is great for finding deals for massages, restaurants, and more. Groupon has a getaways section where you view different travel discounts. There are all kinds of trip deals that you can buy.
VRBO is a site where you can book lodging. The company was formerly known as HomeAway. You can choose from rental houses, condos, and more. I booked a room through them a few years ago in Miami. The trip was during Memorial Day Weekend. The cheapest hotel that I could find cost $660 for the three-day weekend. I booked a room for $330. I saved over $300 bucks. That was a steal.
Trip Advisor is one of the best travel websites out there. You can do many things there including searching for things to do in different cities such as top attractions. Something unique about Trip Advisor is that you can leave reviews to hotels and businesses on their site, which I fancy a lot. You can also upload pictures of the business or hotel in your review as well. This is great because you get a chance to see how things look instead of just viewing the professional pictures.
If I can’t find a hotel deal when I’m traveling, I use Airbnb. I’ve used it in places like Miami and Havana, Cuba. Both places that I stayed in were nice, and they were inexpensive. Use this coupon the first time you book a stay with Airbnb, and you can save $40 on a booking that is $75 or more.
I’ve been using Priceline for years. They have a great platform that allows you to view flights, hotels, and rental cars. You can compare the different prices and different brands. Priceline has a feature called “Name Your Own Price.” With this feature, you can get a bid for a hotel room or a rental car. If Priceline accepts that deal, you can get the room or hotel for that price! I’ve made numerous successful bids on multiple hotel rooms and rental cars in the past. They used to let you book flights with this feature, but they discontinued it in 2016. I guess people were saving too much money.
If you are flying somewhere, you must check out this site. They show you different flight info such as how many connections you’ll have and the best flight option that is available. You can also filter out airlines that you might now want to fly with. Google Flights also has an explore map that allows you to see the price of a flight from your home city to the other cities on the map. You could save more on travel by booking your airport parking before your flight
Lyft is a company that lets you book cars by using its app. I’ve used Lyft a lot of times. They have great prices. If you don’t feel like renting a car, you can use Lyft. Here is a code that will get you $5 off your first ride.
If you thought it was expensive to travel, I hope that this article has reformed your orientation. With these frugal travel tips and resources, you can save hundreds of bucks when it comes to traveling. If you haven’t tried any in the past, this is the perfect time to start.