Traveling is one of the main reasons I decided to become a full-time freelancer. Having the freedom to drop everything and go somewhere new is one of my favorite things.
Want to see what my years of traveling have taught me? Read below for easy ways to save money when you travel.
Compare Transportation Prices
A few months ago, my husband and I decided to rent a car while traveling back home for Thanksgiving. We didn’t do much research and ended up paying almost double what we budgeted. Why? Because I didn’t realize that on top of renting a car, you have to pay for gas, extra insurance and taxes. We could have used Uber or Lyft and saved ourselves more than $100.
I’ve also had luck using public transportation, even in cities where it didn’t seem reliable. If you’re going to a popular destination, you might find that the local bus will save you more money than renting a cab.
Before you decide to rent a hotel or buy a plane ticket, compare the costs. It won’t take more than a few minutes to find out which one’s the better deal. Make sure to include extra fees, local taxes and other expenses that might surprise you. It’s an easy way to turn a relaxing holiday into a stressful endeavor.
Sign Up for the Airline’s Credit Card
A friend of mine recently asked me how I fly for free so often. “It’s easy, ” I told her. “I use credit cards.”
Travel rewards are one of the biggest reasons I use credit cards. Many offer bonuses that are good for two flights – or more. The Southwest one is a favorite of mine. A few weeks I joined my parents on a long weekend in Miami. They were going to attend a national orchid show, while I simply wanted to soak up the rays.
I flew using Frontier miles so the flight only cost $11.20. Frontier is one of many airlines that offer their own credit card – Delta, United and American Airlines do as well. Pick the airline that you use the most and sign up for their credit card.
Skip the Extras
I used to be the most spoiled, entitled, most American traveler ever. I insisted on checking a bag everywhere I went and spent my money on souvenirs and trinkets.
Now? I’m still pretty entitled, but I’ve downgraded how I travel. Since Frontier flies out of Denver, they’ve become a popular airline. They charge an extra $25-$30 extra per bag so I’ve learned to fly with just my backpack – no other carry-on or personal item.
Sometimes I’ll pack oatmeal and small snacks from home so I don’t have to buy pricey food at the airport or hotel. Even stopping at a grocery store at the beginning of a trip can save you money over the long run.
For me, it’s about spending less on what doesn’t matter so I can have more on the activities I do enjoy. That’s how you can save money when you travel.