Money saving tips..CHECK,CHECK,CHECK
I’ve done my fair share of traveling -on a budget of course and I wanted to share a few tips I’ve curated and cultivated along the way. Some may seem obvious and others may be something new, so read on…
1) Book your ticket early
I cannot stress this enough. Typically flights, train tickets, boat tickets go up in price the closer it gets to the date of travel. I have paid 3 times the normal amount for a ticket because I waited 2 days before the flight to book it.Don’t let that be you!
2) Use multiple sources/sites to book your hotel/ticket /rental car
I remember back in the day in order to get a flight you had to make an appointment with your travel agent, pay whatever price he or she gave you and get a thick wad of papers (your ticket) in return.
I also recall that in order to get a hotel room you flipped through brochures looking at pictures of a room boasting vistas and furniture that was far better quality than the one you would actually end up staying in while the travel agent “booked” you in.
Now, you just go online and find your flight, your room and your car sometimes on the same website.
However, don’t just book the first thing you see. There are dozens maybe even hundreds of websites you can use to view, compare and even bid for your hotel rooms and tickets. Use these. Also ,never completely rule out the usefulness of a travel agent, they have unique access to certain packages and sometimes remain the best option.
Some websites I have had good results with are Kayak and Expedia.
3) Recheck your flight !
Do this for the date, the time and the carrier.
My sister ended up completely missing the wedding of a family friend because she thought her flight was 7pm when it was really 7am.Don’t let this be you!
Always recheck everything a few days before then again on the day of travel. Also make sure you read any emails or text messages informing of flight changes.
4) Plan your activities
Museum visit, shopping, tour, dinner. All of the wonderful things we experience when on a trip. Depending on where these things are located you can find yourself traveling very long extended distances and using loads of money in gas or taxi fare.
Before you venture out, take a good look at Google maps and plot your course so that all the things you do in a day are close to each other or form a loop.
5) Use Public Transport
Do this when feasible, when reliable and when safe.
Certain places especially large cities or areas that cater to tourists have excellent, affordable public transport. For example trains in London or the iRide Trolley buses in Orlando. Often times you spend a literal fraction of the cost when using these methods rather than a hired ride whether taxi or Uber or Lyft.
It is worthwhile to compare the cost of public transport with that of a rented vehicle, in some instances it is more feasible to rent than use public transport.
6) Buy your food from the supermarket
This might sound counter productive especially if you’re a big time foodie like myself. Isn’t eating out and about half the fun if a trip? Yes, however you don’t need to eat ALL of your meals from gourmet cafes. Sometimes all you need is a yogurt and apple for breakfast and a protein bar for lunch.
Purchasing breakfast items and snacks as well as water from someplace like a supermarket where things are cheaper can conserve your coins for a real feast.
If your hotel includes breakfast you can also take a long some of the fruit, muffins etc to last throughout the day.
7) Use coupons!
I started doing this about five years ago and I can’t believe I wasn’t doing it my whole life! I use coupon codes for everything from $10 off at clothing stores to free appetizers with dinner to discounts on tours. They are very useful and you can opt to print them or just download them to your phone.
A website I often use is retailmenot.com
8) Check the weather
You can often get a predicted forecast up to two weeks ahead of time. This is important, you don’t want to show up with shorts and a bikini expecting to lay on the beach when there is cold weather or a storm coming. A particularly concerning weather forecast can even mean having to postpone. Additionally also have an idea of things like civil unrest, certain customs, dresscodes etc.
9) Price check (BEFOREHAND)
As much as we hate to think it, tourists are targets for price gouging. You want to buy something or do something and you have no idea of the cost so you pay whatever is asked. Don’t do it. You can look up different tour prices online beforehand, you can also peruse the many travel blogs where people give this kind of information and you can ask an unbiased local. I usually approach police officers or hotel workers and verify predicted costs of certain things . Don’t get taken!
10) Be safe!
I mean this in all senses of the word. Physically safe and financial safe.
If you get a bad feeling about the way a hotel looks or the street you’re about to go down, trust your instinct!
Also, watch your money and cards. Be careful pulling out large bills and be careful who you give your credit card to, even the cashiers. A few months ago I discovered charges made from my credit card in New York (where I hadn’t been in two years) and Texas (where I’d never been). I had spent a few days in Miami and I didn’t lose my card, so who knows who got that information and how.
I hope my tips are useful and that you have a great trip and an awesome day!