What is holding you back from traveling this year? If you are like my kids, then the cost associated with traveling is a huge factor. Maybe you need to get your spend in order or maybe you have a lot of mouths to feed. It does cost money to travel, but maybe not as much as you think it does. Here are some tips to bring those costs down even further so you can finally start exploring the world!
Traveling takes a lot more planning than most would think and the more preparation you do before you leave, the better chances you have of staying within your budget. Planning accommodations, transportation, and even meals can help you keep costs down. Using coupons, finding good deals, and bundling these things together will mean no impulse buys or spending money for convenience’s sake while you are on vacation. This also takes some pressure off you so you can enjoy your vacation instead of wasting your time worrying about how much you are spending.
When you think of backpacking, you probably think of teenagers who haven’t showered their whole vacation, stumbling around a foreign country with no plan. That is not accurate! Backpacking allows for more accessible travel because you can carry everything you need with you. You can still stay in hotels and have access to a shower, but you can also change your plans and try new adventures much easier. There is also the chance to stay in a private room in a hostel, which is clean, but cheap. I personally don’t backpack, but my kids do and they love it!
If you have a favorite destination that you find yourself being drawn to over and over again like me, I always want to go to Savannah, Bora Bora, Amsterdam, Quebec City, or back to Italy, then you might want to consider owning a vacation rental in that place. You probably know there are companies to help investors buy rental properties, but there are loans for both vacation rentals and long-term housing. Having a vacation rental saves your housing costs while you are on vacation and brings in extra money while you are at home. I own a vacation rental in Mexico and use it quite often.
Use Public Transportation
You might be tempted to rent a car while you are on vacation, but if you are staying in a city, it may be possible to use public transportation, as it will save you a lot of money. You can buy a bus/rail/train pass for a month and spend quite a bit less than other modes of transportation and then use Uber/Lyft only when you deem necessary. Besides saving money, you will also get more of a feel for local life and will see things you may not see if you are driving yourself around. Especially in the city, as many times it cost a lot to pay to park or there may not be much parking around where you want to go.
Use Points and Rewards Programs
If you travel frequently as I do, then you need to sign up for rewards programs that can be used on travel. Frequent flier miles are great for people who fly a lot for their journeys. There are also credit cards that help you earn points towards flights, hotel stays, or car rentals for the purchases you are already making.
Travel With a Group
If you travel with a group of people, then a lot of the cost of traveling can be shared over several people. That takes a lot of the burden off of you and your wallet. You can split things like housing, food, and local transportation costs. You may even be able to save on activities by booking tours or other adventures for the group rate. Also, many times you can use the credit cards to save on baggage fees at the airport.
Be Sure and Bring Cash
This may seem counterintuitive as a way to save money, but pay for all your travel expenses ahead of time, and then bring the rest of your budget in cash for souvenirs and food. If you can see your money disappearing as you use it, then you are going to make more intentional purchases and not spend more money than you originally planned!