Wouldn’t it be nice to constantly find great deals on flights and hotels to make travel more affordable? While this isn’t always possible, I have learned a few tricks that have helped me travel a good amount without spending too much money. If I could fly first class and stay in 5-star hotels, I would. But, I can’t afford that and neither can most people. I have previously talked about some of ways to earn money from anywhere, and in this post, I am going to give you ten great tips to help you save money on Travel. When I first started to really travel, I was in college and on a tight budget. Buying a plane ticket often meant eating ramen for a few weeks because my bank account was drained. Nowadays, I have a steady income and can almost afford to travel as much as I would like. I hope you this helps make your next trip just a little more affordable!
1. Follow or subscribe to cheap flight lists.
I absolutely swear by the cheap flight email lists and Facebook pages as a way to save on travel. Recently, I was able to book a roundtrip flight from Florida to Hawaii for less than $400 thanks to Secret Flying on Facebook and Scott’s Cheap Flights. Secret Flying is completely free and I have my follow settings set up so that I see their posts first when I log into Facebook allowing me to never miss a deal. Not all the deals are relevant because they post flight deals from all over the world, but if you are able to be flexible about when or where you are travelling, this is a great free tool for finding cheap flights.
Scott’s Cheap Flights has both a free version where you just submit your email and a paid “premium version”. The free version is pretty decent, but they do not send all deals to free subscriber. For instance, back in November they sent out a deal they found for roundtrip flights from Miami to Brussels for $300. If my sister hadn’t been on their premium list, she wouldn’t have received the deal and would have missed the chance to spend Thanksgiving in Belgium! Some of their best deals get sent to the premium subscribers who pay $40 a year for their services. I recommend the premium version for frequent travelers because it will more than pay for itself in deals, but for the casual traveler, you don’t need the premium subscription.
2. Take overnight buses or trains between cities to save on accommodations.
If you can handle sleeping on a bus or train, this is a great way to avoid paying for a night in a hotel and also get from one city to the next. In Europe, if you are traveling with a Rail Europe Pass, you can select the pass that works for you and plan your route in advance. You can save time and money by including some overnight train rides on your trip. Buses are also a common and low-cost method of transit. Bus rides do take longer than trains or flying, but depending on how tight your budget is, both day and overnight bus trips can help you save money for more important aspects of your trip.
3. Book an Airbnb with access to a kitchen to save on the cost of meals.
One of the best ways to save money when you are traveling has to be avoiding eating out. While eating at restaurants can be a great way to experience a new city or culture, it can be pricey to do for every meal of your trip. One way to help cut down these costs is to choose to stay in an Airbnb with access to a kitchen so you can at least eat breakfast in, and if you go through this link, you can get $40 off your first Airbnb stay!
4. Travel carry-on only!
No bag fees, no problem! This is a great way to save money because checked bags are a usually a minimum of $25 each way. Now imagine if you flight 5 times a year, always roundtrip. That means if you check a bag every time then you will spend $250 in bag fees at the least! So pack light(some tips on that here) and save your self some money.
5. Take public transit or walk instead of taking expensive cabs!
Public Transit is a great way to save money and get to know a new city. It also happens to be significantly cheaper than taking cabs everywhere. Most major cities have great public transit systems(my favorite being the Tube in London) that will get you where you need to be. If you are going to use it a lot, you can usually buy an unlimited pass good for a set number of days. If planning to use it more sparingly, you can pay by the ride as well. And of course there is always the option to walk between two points because walking is absolutely free!
6. Be Flexible with your travel dates
If you have the freedom to be more spontaneous or flexible with your travel dates, you will inherently save money on travel. Simply being able to shift your flights forward a few days or back a few days can save you hundreds of dollars on airfare. When I begin planning for a trip, if I don’t have exact dates in mind, I will set up a flight alert on Kayak.com for the general time frame I am looking to travel in and it will alert me to which dates are cheapest and any changes over time. I usually have mine set to tell me when a flight drops below a certain price so I can book it for the lowest price possible.
7. Take advantage of travel opportunities through your job or school.
Traveling while still in school, via study abroad opportunities, can be a cost-effective way to see the world. I took full advantage of my university’s study abroad programs as an undergrad and felt it was a great use of money. Study abroad programs give you the chance to see a new place for a longer period of time, while also working towards your degree and potentially receiving financial aid. If you are out of school, you can always take time to go teach English in a foreign country as this is a way to get paid to live abroad(the dream). Alternatively, if your company offers the chance for your to work remotely or abroad for a few years, take the chance! You have to take advantage of these opportunities when they come up because they are 100% worth it!
8. Automate your savings for your travel fund!
Okay this technically won’t save you money on your bookings, but it is a good way to ensure you have a bit more money saved up for your adventures. I recently started using the app Qapital to automate my savings and its amazing! I am the kind of person that will spend money if it’s in my account so Qapital pulls out my money for me before I have a chance to spend it on yet another trip to Target. You can set up different “Goals” you are saving towards and then you designate the “rules” for saving. Some rules are the Payday rule, where it saves a percentage of your paycheck, and the 52 week challenge rule where it saves $1 the first week, $2 the next and so on for a full year. The best part: it is completely free! Right now, if you join and make your first deposit they are giving a $5 bonus! Sign up through this link to take advantage of this great savings opportunity. For more ideas on saving for your next trip, check out this great post by DQ Family Travel with some great ideas for saving for your next trip!
9. Earn Cash Back on when you book!
In my post Great Ways to Earn Money from Anywhere, I briefly talked about how I earn money on Swagbucks, but I wanted to talk about it here too because it really is a great tool. You can earn a minimum of 1% cash back in points for booking travel with many of their partners and you can earn additional points by completing a variety of activities. From surveys to videos to buying gift cards for places you know you will spend money regardless, Swagbucks is an amazing tool for earning money and getting rewarded for booking your travels. Be sure to sign up through this link and get up to a $5 bonus for completing a few simple steps and earning your first rewards from Swagbucks!
10. Get Rewarded for your Flights and Hotel Stays!
This is the number one way I either save money on flights and hotels or earn points toward future vacations. Any airline or hotel you stay with probably has a rewards program, whether its Delta Skymiles, Hilton Honors, or JetBlue’s TrueBlue Program. Be sure to join these before staying at a hotel or flying with an airline so you can get rewarded for your travels. And while I am no professional rewards user, I do tend to fly the same two airlines(Delta and JetBlue) as a way of earning points for loyalty and I also have both of their rewards credit cards for extra earning opportunities.
The way I earn the most points isn’t from flying itself, but from my Delta Skymiles American Express Gold Card and if you follow this link and get approved for the card and spend a certain amount of money, you can get 50,000 miles which is almost a roundtrip flight to Europe! It does have an annual fee, but you also get a free checked bag on each flight. So, if you take 2 roundtrip flights per year the card pays for itself!
Be sure you check out my Pinterest Board dedicated to saving money on travel for even more great tips! From one Misguided Millennial to the world, I hope these tips help saving you money on your future travels!