April 21, 2024

5 Easy Ways To Save Money On Your Next Trip

Whether you’re venturing out on a day trip, planning a long-weekend getaway or setting up a round-the-world travel adventure, saving money is key, especially when it comes to flights, hotels, meals and attractions. Here are five easy ways to keep your travel budget in order on the road.

Be as flexible as possible with your travel dates

The more malleable your schedule is, the easier it’ll be to find deals on flights, hotels and activities during your trip. Think about when most people will be traveling to your destination and try to plan your own visit around that time. Consider doing weekday getaways instead of a weekend escape or going during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall versus busier times like summer and winter. It also helps to fly, drive or take trains or buses during off-peak hours (early in the morning or later at night) to avoid the rush, whenever possible.

Opt for public transportation

Cabs and short hops booked through ride-sharing apps can really add up, so it’s worth checking to see if there’s public transportation available where you’re headed. While the effectiveness of this trick varies by city or locale—some places just aren’t as well connected as others—you’ll generally be able to find a local bus, train, metro, light-rail line, ferry or bike-share service. While all of these methods might take a little longer to take you from Point A to Point B, they’ll almost certainly be cheaper than opting for a taxi or ride-share and allow you to travel alongside the people who live there.

If you are visiting an area without public transit options, be sure to download the apps for multiple ride-sharing services so you can at least compare the prices between them before you head out. On a recent trip from Washington, D.C. to Woodbridge, Virginia, the difference between Uber and Lyft was a whopping $20, so it’s always worth a look.

Aim for Restaurant Week Deals to Save on Meals

It’s a great habit to check the tourism board’s website for the place you’ll be visiting to see if they’ve got special promotions going on when you’re in town. Several times throughout the year, various U.S. cities will host Restaurant Week, offering special discounts on prix fixe lunch, brunch and dinner menus so you can save on meals while visiting some of the best eateries in town. New York City, for instance, also puts on Broadway Week, Off-Broadway Week, and Hotels Week, offering even more opportunities to save on shows and accommodations, typically in fall and winter.

Prioritize Free (or Almost Free) Attractions

Many destinations have free attractions, including museums and art galleries, allowing you to save a ton on admission, especially if you’re traveling with a group. For example, in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo are all free to visit, as are the British Library, National Gallery, British Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum in London. Check the tourism board website of the place you’re visiting or do a quick Google search for “free museums” in your desired locale to see what’s available.

If you’re interested in a museum or other attraction that isn’t free to enter, see if it offers any discounts for seniors, students, members of the U.S. military or other professions such as teachers, nurses, or emergency response workers. You never know and it doesn’t hurt to ask, just in case.

Get creative with your accommodations

There’s no law saying you have to only stay in hotels when you’re traveling, so mix it up a little. You can save money and have a more interesting trip by opting to stay in a hostel—often available to travelers of all ages, not just young people—a vacation rental like Airbnb or by house sitting or pet sitting for a few nights during your trip.

If you are someone who swears by hotels, do a quick search for points hotels in your destination so you can have the option to pay with credit card or loyalty program points at properties within the World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, Choice Privileges or Accor Live Limitless. By signing up for your preferred brand’s loyalty program (or co-branded credit card if it’s somewhere you frequently stay), you can earn more points toward future stays and take advantage of special members-only perks such as complimentary upgrades or a later check-out time.

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