You asked for it…my top 10 money saving travel tips
I know I talk a lot about credit cards and getting bonuses for cheap flights but that’s not the only way to save on trips.
Here are my top 10 tips to save money on travel without using credit cards:
- Travel off season and on non-peak days.
- Go to more undiscovered places. Avoid the ones in the top 10 most popular lists in magazines and online. Two of my favorite destinations on a budget have been Cambodia and Laos.
- Watch for mistake fares to the destination of your choice. Be ready to book in a matter of an hour or two as these fares don’t last long. There are a few Twitter accounts to follow or you can get email alerts. Fare Mistakes is one of them.
- Stay with friends, couchsurf or book a Hostel/AirBnB/VRBO/Vacasa. All these options are either free or cheaper than hotels (usually). Traveling alone or with your friends there are always choices. If you think hostels aren’t that nice, you’ve been looking at the wrong ones. Wow Hostel in Taiwan was amazing and incredibly cheap.
- Stay at a place where you can cook and buy food at the grocery store rather than eating out every meal.
- If you have points/miles* make sure you maximize the round trip ticket by booking an open jaw and stopover. You’ll be able to see more places on one plane ticket. If you haven’t read it my most popular story is how I got $10,000 in plane tickets for under $200.**
- Watch for airfare sales or follow sites that promote deals. I have a list of these in my book Women with Wanderlust including Airfare Watchdog. I guarantee my book will save you more than the $3 it cost you and the three hours it took you to read it.
- Ask for gifts of money or miles for special occasions like graduation, weddings or birthdays. I know we did this for our wedding as we didn’t need any household items but we did want to take a honeymoon.
- Look into an exchange program like Willing Workers of Organic Farms (wwoof) or rotary. I have never done this but I have looked into it and know people who have done it.
- Beware of airport taxes, fees and transfers. Places like Heathrow are known to be amongst the highest in airport fees and transit to and from the city. Try flying into another airport in the region or even another country (Amsterdam or Frankfurt).
I know there are tons of other money saving travel tips. Feel free to share your favorite tip in the comments below.
*Bonus tip: If you have hotel points (SPG, IHG, Marriott, Hilton) maybe you can get a free night along with your (mostly) free flight. That has to be one of my favorite money saving travel tips! I was able to stay with a view of the Sydney opera house for two nights with this tip!
**Bonus tip: Don’t ever let your miles expire — do surveys or buy magazines.