Want to go traveling but scared of the costs? While traveling does have its expenses, there are ways to save money when you’re traveling and make your trip go further.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the trip and just go with the flow, busting your budget and costing you more than you had originally calculated. By doing some pre-planning, you can make your budget and vacation go further.
Credit card and ATM fees can be costly, whether you’re at home or abroad. Plan ahead so you can minimize the fees and still get a great (or at least not exorbitant) exchange rate. Check with your bank and credit card company before you leave to see what the fees will be and if there’s an affiliated bank that you can use for reduced costs.
Local ATMs usually offer the best exchange rates but be aware of double fees (the local bank and your bank both charging you withdrawal fees).
Exchange kiosks can be convenient and take credit cards or travelers cheques, but read the fine print on their fees (I once paid 20% to change a traveler’s cheque). Thomas Cook now offers prepaid Travel Cards that are accepted wherever Visa is and offers the safety of not leaving your identity information behind.
Getting around can drain your budget in no time. While taxis and rental cars are needed for some destinations, using the city’s public transportation system can really save you some cash.
Most cities have great public transit systems that are usually faster than driving. Plus, one of the best ways to experience a city like a local is by taking the bus.
Planning your trip before you head out traveling can save you a lot of money, downtime and frustration.
Every trip should have some spontaneity but too much can let your budget run out of control. Before you leave home, plan out your travel itinerary to utilize your time the best way with the least amount of travel and costs.
Plan to do all the activities that are in close proximity to each other on the same excursion. Pre-booking trains, buses and flights in advance can be cheaper. Check out some online forums and travel guides for reviews and tips about your destination – you might find out that the place you want to spend ½ day exploring isn’t worth the time or the cost.
In today’s economy and with the new extreme couponing culture, coupons are back in vogue. Check the brochure stand at your hotel and your local tourism bureau. Lots of businesses will offer coupons and special rates for tourists. As soon as you check in, check them out and you can reorganize your itinerary accordingly.
When booking your accommodation, look at its location in relation to two things: 1) the distance from the airport, bus or train station and 2) how far it is from where you’ll want to be spending your time.
You might be saving a few dollars on your accommodation by staying outside of the hot spots but spending more money and time getting there – both of which are always in short supply on vacations.
Our need to eat is unfortunately another killer of budgets. Hotels make a lot of money from their restaurants, room service and those little room fridges with the $5 bottles of water. Once you check in and get comfortable, roam through the neighbourhood looking for the local grocery or convenience stores. Stock up on water, juice boxes, snacks and even breakfast items.
Whenever you head out for an excursion, bring along your own bottle of water and some granola bars instead of hitting the souvenir stand. You’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save and also enjoy the convenience of being able to snack whenever you want instead of waiting till you find a store.
Travel with Someone
Of course the cheapest way to travel is to have a travel buddy. A lot of your traveling costs can be shared with your travel buddy and it gives you someone to share your experiences with too!