Travel

5 Tips to Save Money While Traveling

Who doesn’t love saving money when they are out on their travels?

One of the biggest issues that travellers have to face is that travel is expensive. You might have been dreaming of an amazing trip around the world, but feel like you can’t take it because you don’t have the money to pay for it.

But it’s not just the large sums of money that you need to be worrying about though. Travel costs don’t just stop at the airfare or lodging, but the other smaller expenses can all add up. Things like going out to eat for all your meals, souvenir shops, events – at the end of the day these can all add up, and this is something that can worry a lot of travellers.

But don’t worry, travel doesn’t always have to be expensive.

You might be thinking but how can this be? A lot of people struggle to find the right balance between treating themselves, whilst also knowing when to rein it in when they go travelling. People want to enjoy their travels, but they don’t want to break the bank doing so.

These are tips which I live by, some I’ve stolen off my parents when we use to go away together, but in my recent travels I’ve been able to adapt them and use them to my own advantage so that I can conquer my travel bucket list! You won’t always be able to do everything on this list… but that’s okay. Use each trick when it suits your needs, and you’ll quickly shave off some of the expenses that come your way!

When Packing:

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When I was growing up, my family would normally try and stay in holiday cottages. My parents loved the homely feel that these cottages brought, but I think they also appreciated the ease of use these places brought. Things like staying in a place with a washing machine made a huge difference.

Now this doesn’t have to be a holiday cottage, if you check ahead, then you might find that a hotel or Airbnb has a washing machine that you can use. This can help you when it comes to your luggage cost, as you won’t have to pack as much.

If you are flying to your next holiday destination, then packing light can save your money, as you can make use of carry-on luggage. This will save you from having to check your bags in.

If you’re anything like me though, then I like bringing different clothing options to wear so it can be tough to know what to bring particularly if I’m tight on space. When this happens though, I just use a backpack as my personal item and put clothes and valuables in it. Not only does this carry-on-only trick save money, but it also eliminates the risk of losing luggage.

When Shopping:

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My biggest issue when I go to new places is that I always want to buy something as soon as I see it. I love getting a souvenir of the place I’ve just visited (my personal obsession is to collect keychains), but the biggest mistake you can make is buying the first souvenir you find. Wait until the end of the trip before you buy that.

If you can wait till the end of your trip, then you will have had enough time to scope out the place and find the cheapest store, and still get a good quality product. Many times the first store that you hit will be in a prime tourist spot, and they know how to get their money.

The only exception to this rule is: If you want something that’s rare or limited, snag it when you see it, because it might be gone by the time you circle back and you don’t want to miss out.

This isn’t just for souvenirs either, if you need to do food shops then have a look around to see if they have any local markets, or if anything is on offer. Also, don’t forget to pack things like sunscreen or toiletries, as you can save buying these when you are on your holiday!

When Eating and Drinking:

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Depending on where you are staying this tip will vary. For example, if you are staying in a hotel then aim to get one that has breakfast included. You’ll be surprised by how much you can save by having your breakfast included in the price.

If you can, try and get a hotel room with a mini fridge as well. This is great as rather then going out for a meal every evening, you can prepare some simple meals in your room and just have a pretty chill evening.

If you’re staying in a holiday cottage or Airbnb, then you should be lucky enough to have your own kitchen, and although you might be thinking but who wants to cook when they are on holiday? Well… trust me, it can help save you a load of money.

If it’s a long holiday, then I’ll try and limit the amount of times I go out for a nice meal. Normally, it’s always the first and last night. As the first night I’m normally tired, and the last night is just a nice thing to do. Obviously though this depends on how long you are going for.

If you are just doing a few day trips here and there, then make sure to pack a picnic beforehand (and all these other packing essentials that you’ll need for a day trip). Don’t buy food when you are out if you can help it, instead make your own sandwich, bring a flask of hot water to make teas or coffee when you are out. You can still have a really nice picnic out and it helps that you save money doing it this way as well!

When Travelling Around Your Destination:

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Exploring an area can really add up, particularly if you want to visit loads of tourist attractions, or take a taxi everywhere. One of the worst things that you can do, is take a taxi straight from the airport to your hotel. Of course, this is a lot easier then trying to figure out where you are going, but if you look ahead and plan you should be able to figure out where you need to go.

I remember when I was a kid and I went to Los Angeles with my family, my parents had no idea where the hotel was or anything, it was all booked rather last minute for a work thing. So we queued up, squeezed into a tiny taxi and took a 15 minute drive to the hotel. Turns out the hotel was only a five minute walk from where we first queued up for a taxi. But oh well, lesson learned.

The other thing is to try and go for the cheaper option for travelling. If you are planning on getting a rental car, then have a look around for the cheapest deals. Don’t just go for the first car you find, look around first.

The bus is a lot cheaper (but it depends on how far you want to go). If you feel fit enough, then walking is the best option. If you feel brave enough, then go out and explore on foot. You’ll probably find a load of hidden gems this way as well!

The other thing to look out for is that you don’t spend your money going to museums that you need to pay for (or any event that you need to pay for). Take advantage of free tourist attractions – go for a hike, explore the town, hit the beach and look for any free musuems when you can.

Understandably, they’ll be plenty of tourist spots that you will want to visit that cost money. So try and book ahead if you can, sometimes booking things in advance will help you save money. You might also find that they are doing some offers. The only issue with doing it this way is that you lose that flexibility, however, you could save money so it is worth it.

When Exchanging Money:

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Learning how to avoid paying international fees while traveling is key. Airport foreign currency exchanges usually have some of the worst rates around, so those are good to avoid. Withdrawing currency from an ATM usually offers a much better rate, but ATM fees can seriously eat away at your travel savings.

One of the best things that you can do is have a budget in mind. Know how much you are happy to pay everyday, and then stick to it. Sometimes it helps using physical cash, as this way you can see how much you are spending, rather then just waving your card without thinking about it.

So there you have it, some useful tips to help you when it comes to saving on your travels!

Now, there are some things to be mindful of regarding these tips — for example, if you decide to travel in the off-season, you need to make sure that the attractions in the place you want to visit don’t totally close down during that time! However, you will also find that travelling in the off-season will be a lot cheaper.

To make the best use of your money, all you need to do is use your smarts, explore your options thoughtfully, and do some planning… and these travel hacks will take you — and your money— very far!

Have you got any of your own tips that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments I would love to read them!

15 thoughts on “5 Tips to Save Money While Traveling

    1. Thank you! I’m glad that you’ve found this helpful. I know that traveling isn’t the same as what it used to be thanks to everything that is going on, but at least you can still use these tips in the future 😀

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    1. It’s one of my biggest problems as well, it’s so easy to just go out and enjoy yourself (and I love my food haha). Obviously you can just do what you want, but it does help if you have the option of making your own food and just having a nice meal at the place you are staying in!

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  1. I have not done much traveling, but I sure learned from my mistakes on the trips I did take, so I love your tips! I learned to pack light and keep a wardrobe in general that is flexible with only a few pieces. Also, I usually end up buying clothes while on my trip too!

    I also love your tips on cutting back while shopping or waiting to find the best deal; it is so easy to get roped into buying things we do not need, so it pays to think about gifts and purchases and be mindful.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. I’ve learned a lot from my travel mistakes too! It’s good to get that experience to be fair and know what you should and shouldn’t bring/do on your travels. The shopping tip I find really useful myself, so I’m glad you love it. I always use to buy the first thing I saw, but then I realized that it was better to shop around first. Besides, you might find something better in the next shop 😀

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  2. As someone who loses money every time they exchange money, buys half the contents of the first souvenir shop they visit and goes for a nice meal the first 4 nights only to run out of money (and have to go to the money exchange and lose more) this post is a godsend. Thanks. Now I just need this pandemic thing to pass so I can practice your methods.

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    1. I’m so pleased to hear that you find this post useful! When I first started travelling by myself I was exactly the same, it was so much easier to treat myself haha (still made for some really great memories), but then I thought I should probably think about this and budget better. Just got my fingers crossed that this pandemic will hurry up and go away, I miss being able to explore the world.

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  3. All great tips. I learned to save a ton of money by not buying any souveniers or gifts for people back home too. They really don’t need that t-shirt or coffee mug anyways.

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