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Go Beyond the Typical Travel Saving Tips
By Jesse Clark
It’s no secret that people want to save money on travel. Entire industries have built their brands around being the budget-friendly travel options, and people are constantly scrambling for a deal by trying to perfectly time their flights or hotel bookings.
When it comes to saving money on travel costs, there are some tried and true approaches. For instance, consumers know they can turn to airlines like Southwest where “bags fly free” or put their trust in a brand like Enterprise Rent-A-Car (which Forbes notes also has high-ranking customer satisfaction) for low-cost and reliable rental cars. They can even join airline rewards programs or look for Enterprise deals and promo codes to make their dollars stretch even further.
Even with those approaches, however, travel costs are on the rise, and the savvy traveler is going to have to do more to make up the difference to keep their costs as low as possible.
Use Your Time Wisely
If you work in a flexible job (and a lot of people do since they’re the wave of the future), see if you flexibility with your travel time.
You can also choose to start your vacation week on a Tuesday or a Wednesday instead of the typical Monday or Saturday. You’ll get the same amount of vacation, but if you’re traveling against the busiest flow of traffic, you’ll get to enjoy it with less stress and more money. USA Today notes this is especially true if your travel is going to happen around a holiday. It can be worth it to take the extra days off work to get in before the crowd.
To take this tip to an even grander level, plan your entire travel itinerary in the “shoulder season.” This is traveling off-season during part of the year when you can still enjoy the benefits of the location. As an example, think about being at a beach in September. It’s still warm enough to enjoy the sun and sea, but the beach is much less crowded because family vacationers are back to school. Do keep in mind that what counts as the shoulder season may be different for each destination, so do your research and plan accordingly.
Be Smart About Food
You’ve got to eat, and all the people wanting to profit off of you know it! Tourist traps abound in the food world, and they know that when you’re tired, hungry, and jet-lagged, you’re in no position to turn down subpar food at expensive prices. It’s common to just settle for whatever is closest and thus overspend. Don’t let this happen to you. Often, people plan out some fancy dinners for their trip, but they tend to wing their breakfasts and lunches, assuming they’ll be able to find food along the way.
Finding the local hotspots can save you money and equate to the best eats. And per The Discoverer, that’s just one thing you should ask locals about to make sure you get the most out of your stay. Often-missed attractions, cultural interests, and shopping are some other key inquiries to keep in mind.
Making more intentional choices about where and what you’ll eat before your stomach is rumbling and your eyes have glazed over from being packed in a plane with noisy strangers can save you serious money. It can also help you make sure that you get food you really want instead of hitting up the McDonald’s on the other side of the world (and there really is one just about everywhere).
Many travelers use their smartphones to look up local eatery locations and reviews. This can be an effective way to find a tasty new spot, but if you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to be careful of how much data you use. To avoid expensive overage charges, your best bet may be to sign up for a prepaid international phone plan.
The bottom line is that travel is expensive, and it goes beyond simply choosing the best companies to go with for the trip itself. A savvy traveler will need to do research to snag the best deals for their flights, rental cars, and hotels, but they’ll also need to spend some time thinking about the essence of the trip itself if they want to afford multiple trips or more far-flung destinations. With these tips, you can make the most of every dollar and every moment next time you pack your bags!