5 Easy Ways to Save Money While Traveling by Dixie Somers

Summer may be winding down, but autumn brings plenty of opportunities for those still thirsting for adventure.

That said, whether it’s a three-day weekend to Maine or a month-long immersive tour of Spain, traveling can seem prohibitively expensive for even the most seasoned adventurers and frequent fliers.

However, a little frugality goes a long way and there are plenty of simple things you can do to reduce your necessary travel expenses, leaving more money for attractions and souvenirs.


Ways to Save For Travel

1. Earn While You Spend

If you travel often, consider applying for a credit card with frequent flyer rewards. You’d be surprised how quickly these cards accrue bonuses which can be used to defer some of the costs of traveling.

The most basic type of incentive is reward miles, which can be used directly towards airline tickets. Some cards even work in conjunction with specific airline’s own reward programs, allowing you to earn bonuses.

Other rewards include waivers on luggage fees, discounted rates for hotels, free meals, and other perks that can be used throughout your trip. If you use your rewards card to book your hotel, buy your airline tickets, and so on, you’ll essentially be using one vacation to help pay for the next.


2. Save Money and Fly in Style

So much time vacationing is wasted getting from one location to another. Take advantage of all that time and turn the actual traveling into part of your vacation. Instead of dealing with the hassle and tedium of traditional airlines, consider chartering a private flight from a company like Silverhawk Aviation for part or all of the trip.

Charting an aircraft may sound too far out of budget, but it’s actually surprisingly reasonable with some planning beforehand. One of the simplest ways to make costs more manageable is to travel with a group, so that the price can be split among members.

Secondly, choose a craft that matches the length of your journey. For example, if you’re chartering for a comparatively short distance, choose a prop plane over a jet.


3. Loyalty Pays Off

Just as credit cards offer loyalty programs, so to do many hotels and airlines. If you travel frequently, look into lodgings and carriers who offer rewards for repeat use.

Many airlines offer perks like premium lounge access, mile earning plans, luggage fee waivers, and other rewards that can shave a few dollars of your ticket price.

Likewise, many hotels have programs that can net you a free night after a set number of stays. To get the full benefit of this, use your rewards credit card to pay for your room and flights so you can earn towards both programs at once.


4. Pack Your Own Lunch

On average, eating while on vacation takes up nearly 25 percent of the average travel budget. With that in mind, one of the easiest ways to save money while traveling is to prepare your own simple meals. Trying the local cuisine is one of the best parts of any trip, but save your food expenditures for fancy dinners.

If your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, take full advantage, and don’t be afraid to throw a bagel or extra piece of fruit into your purse or backpack, provided the hotel allows it.

When heading out to museums, tours, and other day events, pack your own food. Even if your hotel room doesn’t have a fridge, that won’t stop you from storing a simple loaf of white bread and jar of peanut butter for quick, easy meals on the go.


5. Travel Off-Season

Regardless of where you’re traveling, you destination should have plenty to offer year-round. Beat the crowds and save some money by traveling during off-peak seasons.

While this varies by region, generally speaking, peak season lasts from mid-June through August. Shoulder season is comprised of April through mid-June and September to October. Lastly, off-season occurs from November through March.

During these periods, fares for airlines and other means of travel along with hotels tend to be cheaper.

This is especially true for season-based tourist destinations such as coastal areas. While the beaches may be closed, the local museums, amusement parks, and local nightlife should offer plenty of diversions to fill your itinerary.


Go Out and See the World

Life’s too short and the world’s too interesting not to see some of it while you have the chance. Travel budgets may seem daunting, but with some careful planning and a few tricks it’s easy to get the most out of your excursions without breaking the bank.

Split fares among friends, take full advantage of loyalty programs, and schedule you itinerary to match when prices are at their lowest. With a little bit of work, you can easily save enough to put towards your next trip.

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