Save big and travel more! Make your holiday cheaper with these 43 amazing money saving tips and hacks.
1. Join Facebook groups
Facebook isn’t just for posting all your fabulous travel photos. Join travel group that alert you to cheap and limited travel deals.
2. Be flexible
If you want to travel to a certain place, be flexible about the timing. If you want to travel at a certain time, be flexible about the location. Choose one — not both.
3. Ask for cash or travel gift cards
Make the most out of your birthday, graduation, and every other holiday under the sun by asking for travel gift cards.
4. Haggle for a hotel
Hotel rates are notoriously blurry. The rate quoted on a website is not necessarily the lowest rate available, so it is always worth contacting a hotel directly to ask what their best price is, and then ask whether that really is their best offer. In other words, you should haggle. It helps if you are flexible with dates or have the nerve to book the hotel close to your departure.
5. Set up an automatic travel savings account
Keep your savings account inaccessible from your internet banking so that you’ll never be tempted to transfer money over and spend it.
6. Make International money transfers with hiFX
Benefit from consistent bank-beating exchange rates, low fees, and the ability to make transfers, manage your account and track payments 24 hours a day. Sign up with HiFX here.
7. Work out a credit and debit card strategy
Avoid being charged any foreign transaction fees when you’re abroad. Consider bringing multiple credit cards to gain points on food and travel, and of course, that don’t charge international transaction fees.
8. Travel mid-week
Take advantage of cheaper airfares. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are often the cheapest days to fly. You can save hundreds on a round trip just by hacking your vacation schedule.
9. Subscribe to email alerts for “mistake fares” and flight deals
Sites like Secret Flying and The Flight Deal let narrow down your preferences to flights departing from certain countries and send you an email when a deal pops up. Alternatively, learn how you can fly for free.
10. Use Search Engine Rome 2 Rio
Possibly the best transport search engine in the world Rome 2 Rio will tell you how to get to your destination by all transport methods, and tell you straight up which is the cheapest! If you’re driving to the airport, compare and save on airport parking with Airport Parking Reservations.
11. Check one-way ticket prices
Before booking a round-trip flight, look at the cost of two one-way flights. Sometimes it turns out to be cheaper!
12. Try out hidden city ticketing
Hidden city ticketing is based on the idea that airline fares are priced based on market demand, not distance travelled, so booking longer routes can save you money than booking direct.
For example, if you wanted to fly NYC to Houston, you might book NYC –> Houston -> Los Angeles and just skip the last leg. If you don’t want to do the research yourself, there’s an app called Skiplagged that does the work for you.
To be on the safe side, you should book two one-way tickets instead of a round-trip ticket as most airlines will cancel your return trip if you don’t complete the first.
13. Get a free extended stopover
Get creative when booking your flights. Research multi-leg flights to see where you can go without having to pay extra.
For example, a round-trip flight from L.A. to Cancun might have a one-hour layover in Miami as part of the trip. Try searching for a multi-leg flight, flying from L.A. into Miami, then a few days later flying from Miami to Cancun. Then, instead of returning directly to L.A., you can try adding a leg from Cancun to Mexico City, then Mexico City to L.A..
This strategy works all over the world, and often, you won’t have to pay any difference in fare since those stops are considered layovers.
14. Travel during shoulder periods
There are times in the travel industry called ‘shoulder periods,’ which are basically off-peak times. Like, when kids go back to school (September), after New Year’s (early January), and just after Spring Break (April).
Airlines and hotels often give big discounts on aeroplane seats and hotel rooms during this time, since it’s not a popular period to go.
Shoulder periods change in different parts of the world, so choose your destination by watching for online deals by following hotels and airlines on Twitter, where they release last-minute deals.
15 Bring your own airport snacks
This one takes some minor preparation but by packing your own food for the airport/flight before heading out the door you will save significant bucks — especially since once you pass through security, food prices go through the roof.
16. Invest in a Priority Pass for the airport
Priority pass gets you into 850-plus airport lounges around the world, with the base tier being $99 for the year and $27 per lounge visit, and the top tier being $399 for the year all inclusive.
Bringing a guest for all tiers is always $27 per person. When you think about how much food, alcohol, and Wi-Fi cost at airports, you’re paying a very similar price but getting luxurious amenities and comfortable spaces on top of it. Click here to get 10% off your membership.
17. Go to museums for free
Many museums around the world, especially in Europe, not only offer free or discounted student pricing, but also cheaper tickets for young adults (usually up to 25 years old) as a way to encourage interest in the arts. In France, you can even get cheaper movie tickets since it’s a ‘cultural’ experience!
Other cultural institutions have a policy of ‘suggested donations,’ although it can be misinterpreted as the ticket price. For example, you can get into the Metropolitan Museum of Art for only a $1 donation. Many museums also offer a free night once a month; find out if your visit overlaps.
18. Catch public transportation everywhere you go
Buses, minivans, sweaty trains, 20 people in a tuk-tuk, catch whatever it takes to get around. Not only is it a great way to save money, but it’s the best way to see a country and get up close and personal with its people.
19. Travel overnight
Save money on a night’s worth of accommodation while you get to where you need to go by either by plane, train, or bus.
20. Follow the so-called ‘six-block rule’
Meaning, never eat within six blocks of a major tourist sight. The food is double the price and half as good. Walk far away from the people and get much better food at a better price. Sites like Yelp!, Openrice, and Foursquare can help you find restaurants!”
21. Don’t over-order
After a long day sightseeing, it’s easy to order everything on the menu. Order a reasonably sized meal and see how you get on. You can always order more afterwards!
22. Have a picnic in the park.
Just pick up a variety of fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses or other local specialities from a farmers market in the city you’re visiting. It’s so much cheaper than a restaurant and just as fun! Plus, the food can be absolutely delicious — not to mention traditional.
23. Avoid plastic
Buy fresh food from farmers markets and food stands, and not packaged food. It costs less and is healthier for you. Same with water. Use a filtered refillable water bottle and skip buying plastic bottled beverages.
24. Use ride-sharing apps
Everyone knows about Couchsurfing, but fewer people know about ride-sharing. Transportation is a huge expense on the road. Use ride-sharing websites like BlaBlaCar, or message boards like Gumtree to find rides with locals and other travellers to save big money.
25. Hit up the morning markets.
You can buy cheap snacks that you can enjoy as incredible fresh meals. It’s cheap, fresh, and a wonderful way to take the pulse of a new place.
26. Get breakfast from the grocery store
It’s the easiest meal to do on the cheap. Consider buying a yoghurt, fruit, and pastry from the grocery store or corner shop and eating it at a local park. Bonus points if you have a mini-fridge in your hotel so you can store snacks.
27. In non-English-speaking countries, offer your language services at local restaurants.
Specifically, if you stumble into one of those restaurants with poor translations and loads of misspellings on the menu, offer to help. Many times business owners will be happy to offer a free meal in exchange for you proofreading and editing their menu.
28. Eat where the locals eat
Rather than eating at expensive ‘international’ restaurants in non-Western countries, follow the locals to the places they eat.
Street food and small single-dish restaurants have tastier, much cheaper food — and if there’s a line of locals out the door, you’ve much less chance of getting sick than when you’re the only person in an empty hotel restaurant.”
29. Use apps to call and text back home.
You’ll save even more money by making calls and sending text messages using apps rather than your carrier’s service. Skype, Google Hangouts, and others let you talk and video-call anyone else who uses the app, and you can call any phone number in the world at a much-reduced rate.
Google Hangouts even lets you dial most U.S. and Canadian numbers for free! To send text messages, get your friends on WhatsApp or Viber, and message back and forth using Wi-Fi or cell data instead of paying per message.
30. Ask the locals what things should cost
With an accurate benchmark, you can try to avoid paying anything over that from transport to food to activities.
31. Buy European train tickets online directly
You can buy most European high-speed train tickets up to three months in advance, and the earlier you book, the more likely you are to find great deals. These seats will almost always be cheaper than going through another website, and they’ll give you access to all the same sales and upgrades that are offered to locals.
32. Use Trail Wallet
Trail Wallet keeps tabs on every single cent you spend while travelling. You can also break it down into categories so you can see where your biggest expenses are, and if you need to cut down next trip.
33. Don’t wait until you’re hungry
Waiting until you’re hungry means you’ll probably just choose the most convenient option regardless of price. Instead, give yourself some time to shop around before your stomach starts rumbling.
34. Always withdraw money; never exchange.
Your bank card will carry the best currency exchange rates, so forgo bringing wads of cash and instead withdraw local currency from the ATM as needed. And be sure to travel with a bank card that reimburses all ATM fees (like Schwab).
35. Don’t try to go everywhere on your list in one trip.
The biggest costs in travelling are transport and accommodation. By travelling slow, you lessen the need for frequent transport — and you can also negotiate with hotels/hostels etc. for a discount because you are staying longer.
36. Avoid booking in advance
The more flexible your plans, the more fun you’ll have — and the more money you’ll save. Rather than being forced to stick around spending money somewhere you hate or forfeiting bus/train/flight/hotel bookings to stay longer somewhere you love, avoid booking in advance as much as possible.
37. Travel with friends
Share accommodation expenses by travelling with friends. If you’re not keen on staying in hostels alone, by travelling with friends you can ‘upgrade’ to a hotel room for a similar price.
38. Don’t get lost in conversions, download XE
With XE you can calculate conversions to and from any currency to see what you’re really spending.
39. Take advantage of first-time user discounts
There are constantly new travel services opening up which entice new customers with generous discounts to sign up. Consider booking with Booking.com to get a FREE 10% discount, or HotelsCombined or Roomorama (get $20 off with code TWENTYFORME) next time you plan a trip.
40. Beat the baggage fees
If you’re worried about excess baggage charges, why not wear your extra items instead of cramming them into your case? There are some fantastic products on the market that let you take additional belongings on your person ensuring they won’t count as excess baggage. A luggage jacket combined with a good hand-luggage bag will get you the absolute maximum amount of luggage on a plane, without having to pay any check-in costs.
Read more: Wearable luggage jacket reviews and 7 best airline carry-on bags
41. Weigh your luggage
Some of us get to the airport to find we’re over our baggage limit and end up paying puffed up charges. Avoid this by weighing your bag before you leave home and take out any unnecessary items if you find you’re over the limit.
Keep your luggage in check as you travel with this nifty portable digital luggage scale.
42. Get cheaper travel insurance
Taking out an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy is cheaper than buying on the spot insurance for a single trip. Get a free quote here
43. Sign up for The Intrepid Guide’s Newsletter
Every week I send my followers links to special online travel offers. From discounted city passes, to cheap flights, accommodation and car rental discounts. Sign up below to get all the latest offers delivered straight to your inbox!
Over to you!
What other money saving tips would you recommend?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
Like what you see? Subscribe using the form below to have all of my posts delivered direct to your email.