60 Easy Ways to Save Serious Money on Travel

by Julie on February 26, 2010

Save some serious cash on all your travels with our tips.

More great tips and advice on how to save money on every travel adventure, making the most of your budget;

1. Travel Budget – Work out a realistic travel budget and stick to it! Remember to factor in flights, accommodation, tours and food.
2. Use Promo Codes – Search online for promotional codes for flights, hotels and car hire. Check out travel forums and swap information with fellow travelers.
3. Go Direct and Save Money – Book your adventure tours direct with local tour operators which saves you money and gets you a more authentic holiday.
4. Avoid Baggage Fees – Check your airliners baggage allowance and make sure you’re under it. And allow for any souvenir buying.
5. Travel Forums – Exchange tips and advice with other travelers – connect with people local to you and discover local deals and offers.
6. Travel Club – Join a travel club which offers ongoing discounts and special offers to its members.
7. Cheap Airfares – Search online comparison sites for cheap airfares, remember to factor in the taxes. Sign up to airline newsletters and comparison websites to find out as soon as promotions are launched.
8. Frequent Flyer – Make sure you take advantage of any frequent flier clubs that your airline may run. Use the points before they expire and don’t take a flight just because of the points – factor in all costs.
9. Take A Train – see whether a train journey offers a cheaper, and more scenic, alternative to flying. Same applies to taking local mass transit systems and buses, especially in your destination, which may save on taxi costs.
10. Travel Insurance – Don’t go without it but do shop around for a good deal on travel insurance. And consider annual policies.
11. Avoid Check In Costs – See if you can avoid airport check in charges by printing off your ticket before you get to the airport. You’ll save time queuing as well.
12. Airport Shopping – Don’t go crazy and splurge your cash at the airport on needless gadgets but do buy your usual toiletries, perfumes, clothes etc that are cheaper there.
13. Airport Parking – Buy your airport parking in advance and check whether a hotel and parking is cheaper.
14. Parking Rules – Don’t double park and make sure you follow the car parking rules otherwise you could be hit with a hefty parking ticket on your return.
Foreign Currency – Don’t buy your holiday currency at the airport where the exchange rates are often lower.
15. Bank Accounts – Check whether your bank account offers free travel perks such as travel insurance, fee-free holiday currency, airport parking discounts etc. Many banks offer upgraded current accounts which often have these benefits thrown in.
16. Rent A Car – Hiring a car for the duration of your stay could be a cheaper investment than using public transport and taxis, especially if you’re staying off the beaten track.
17. Kids Eat Free – Save money on family meals by looking out for deals where kids eat free or two people eat for a set fee.
18. Go Self Catering – Stay at self catering apartments or accommodation and you can prepare your own meals.
19. Take Your Own Stroller – Using your own baby stroller or pushchair at some theme parks and attractions can save you from hiring one.
20. Eat At The Airport – Many airports have international restaurant chains which may offer tastier (and cheaper) food than on your flight.
21. Free Airport Wi-Fi – If your airport has free wi-fi or free computers to use them whilst you’re waiting for your flight.
22. Use Water Bottles – Take refillable bottles along with you on days out but do check whether the water is OK to drink in your destination.
23. Take Snacks – Hit the local markets, buy some fruit and snacks to take with you on your days out.
24. Picnic – Enjoy a picnic in the park with some good local food, again markets and local shops are a good place to find some local food.
25. Multi Day Passes – Find out if attractions offer multi day passes or discounts and take advantage of them.
26. Use The Pool – If you’ve paid extra for a hotel for a pool then make sure you use it. Or consider booking a hotel without all the usual amenities if you won’t use them.
27. Book Online – Many airlines and hotels offer discounts and special offers for booking online.
28. Book Direct – By booking each of your travel elements direct with the suppliers, you should secure a better deal by cutting out the middleman.
29. Try A Hostel – Hostels have come a long way recently and tend to be centrally based with great rates.
30. Child Spending – Set your children a daily budget on what they spend on souvenirs and gifts.
31. Connecting Flights – Check out connecting flights to see how much you could save.
32. Couch Surfing – Try a house swap or couch surfing website for a more realistic experience.
33. Return Trips – Compare costs between round trips and single journeys as more often than not the return trip will offer a better deal.
34. Eat Local – Try the local delicacies such as Pad Thai Noodles in Thailand which is an incredibly cheap option.
35. Plan Your Meals – Buy a guidebook which covers restaurants and note a few budget food stops in your destination, especially for breakfast and lunches.
36. Breakfast On The Go – Skip the pricey and often unhealthy hotel breakfasts, and grab some buns, fruit and smoothies on the go.
37. One Way Car Rentals – Compare the price to return a hire car to same location, as one way car rentals are often a lot more expensive.
38. Rent A Mini – Hire the smallest rental car that you can get away with.
39. Rail Pass – Get a rail pass such as an Octopus card in Hong Kong which offers convenience as well as money saving.
40. Night Flights – Save one night’s accommodation by booking an overnight flight or train journey.
41. Book Off Season – traveling out of peak times offers better deals and more availability.
42. Travel Guides – Borrow your travel guides from the library or use online versions such as PURETRAVEL. Also create your own guide by saving mementoes and creating a scrapbook.
43. Pack SmartPack individual clothes which can be paired up to make outfits – pack a color and maybe black or cream.
44. Pack and Swap – Swap half of your packed clothes with your fellow traveler so if your bag does go astray, you’ll have clothes to wear.
45. Box Your Essentials – If you’re a frequent traveler, put all of your travel essentials – passport, documents, alarm clock, toiletries, etc – into a box so it’s all in one place for quick packing.
46. Credit Cards Abroad – Check before you use your credit or debit card abroad as the fees could by expensive.
47. Don’t Stay Centrally – Hotels slap bang in the middle of all the action will command higher rates, so stay just outside of the big cities or popular tourist areas.
48. Haggle – Many markets and smaller traders on your vacation almost expect you to barter and haggle on the price of goods – give it a go, it’s all part of the experience!
49. Just Ask – Ask your hotel or travel provider for a discount or something free. Don’t ask = don’t get!
50. Tax Refunds – Some countries have systems in places to allow tourists to get tax refunds on purchases made in the country.
51. Hot Or Not? – Some of the local tourist may not be all that hot. Get some local insider knowledge and do what interests you rather than following the hoards.
52. Walk – Try walking the shorter journeys and checking out local sights on the way.
53. Student Discounts – Many attractions offer student, children, senior and family discounts. Check in advance and carry your ID with you.
54. Book Early – By booking early you can take advantage of early booking discounts and get what you want.
55. Book Late – Waiting for a last minute deal also offers a good bargain, although maybe not as much choice.
56. Stay Close To Home – Explore your local area on a staycation.
57. Be Flexible – With every element of travel booking, the more flexible you can be with dates, locations etc, the better deal you can secure.
58. Go Camping – Check out campsites as an alternative to pricey hotels.
59. Try Voluntourism – Try a trip that combines helping out local communities with a vacation as well.
60. Back To Nature – Trips that involve walking, climbing and activities are generally cheaper and healthier too!

Bonus Tip

61. Blog About It – Write some travel articles on your journey and publish them for money on travel blogs.

Add your own money travel tips and advice in the comments below and help us grow this list!

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