The time for college drop offs and last summer vacations is fast approaching. It can be very tempting and seem almost unavoidable to spend a lot of money on the travel, accommodations or eating when visiting a different city or place. However, instead of thinking of it as the last large expense of the summer and unavoidable or a reason to go all out, let’s talk about how you can mitigate the expenses or still go all out while being money savvy visiting another place.
Save Money on Travel
1) Tickets. Plan your trip as early in advance as you can so you can be on the lookout for great deals on tickets. I’ve been unsure about going to a conference for a couple of months. As the time draws near of course the lowest airfare I can find is almost twice as much as what I’ve seen before. I knew better, but life happens sometimes and I had to prioritize. A great site that you can check to get the best deals and watch for deals that will help you save money is Airfarewatchdog. It also allows you to check the fares on ten different sites.
If you’re traveling by train, check for smart fares where you can get up to 25% off. Search for discount codes online. You can find codes for 15-50% off tickets. If you’re traveling via car, use apps like Gas Buddy to find the stations with the cheapest gas along your route.
2) Pack light. You now have to pay for baggage on flights, on the train and even on the greyhound bus. On flights many of you likely know that the checked bag fee can range from $25 to over $100. On the train you have to pay $20 per bag for extra bags. On the greyhound bus you’ll pay $15 for additional bags. So if you can get away with just using a carryon, do so no matter which type of travel you’re planning.
Save Money on Accommodations
1) Be flexible. If you can be flexible with your departure and return dates look a few dates before and after. Also, travel to places where it’s their off season. For example, late spring to mid-December is a great time to visit the Caribbean since most people go from mid-December to mid-April. The only thing to watch out for is hurricane season which is from August through October.
2) Don’t stay downtown. Hotels downtown usually cost nearly twice as much as a hotel away from the downtown area. Staying in the next town (not city but town) will be even cheaper. You can use public transportation or a rental car if you’re using one to get around to the sites you want to see.
Save Money on Food
1) Plan ahead. Take snacks or food with you for the travel. Spending money on snacks at airports and stations will cost you a pretty penny. Think about the meals that you will eat and how many days you will be away. If you’re in a place that has a kitchenette then cook for yourself instead of eating out. If you’re going out then search for nice but economical restaurants in the area. Local places instead of chain restaurants often have the best food at cheaper prices.
2) Avoid the hotel. The hotel food is likely to be the most expensive. You’re there to visit anyway, head outside and find great places to eat meals. Ask people who have been to that place before, ask the staff at the hotel, or search online. You’re sure to find some gems and make some great memories.
What are some of your practices to save money when visiting another city?
Photo credit: Pete