Travel is good for the mind, body and soul. In addition to helping us recenter ourselves and recharge our batteries, travel excursions provide us with an array of breathtaking sights and bold, new experiences. However, as most travel enthusiasts can attest, this is far from the most affordable hobby. Whether you’re traveling by yourself, setting off on a romantic couples’ trip or embarking on a family vacation, a good trip is liable to set you back quite a bit. Fortunately, saving a considerable sum on your next big travel excursion is well within your abilities – provided, of course, you avoid the following mistakes.
Limiting Yourself to Popular Destinations
Certain parts of the country are perpetually awash with tourists – and for good reason! Such areas often feature an abundance of unique local culture, fun-filled attractions and amazing dining experiences. However, no matter when you visit these areas, you’re likely to find yourself constantly contending with large crowds and paying exorbitant prices for food, lodging and other travel expenses.
Of course, this isn’t to say that you should completely swear off popular areas. Rather, you should keep an open mind with regard to lesser-known destinations. For example, the U.S. has no shortage of small towns with a lot to offer travelers. In addition to taking in local sights and experiences you won’t find anywhere else, you’ll be able to get a lot more for your money when visiting smaller destinations. Summertime travelers, in particular, should actively seek out towns with gorgeous local beaches.
Only Traveling During the Busy Season
Whereas peak travel season stretches from mid-June to August, the shoulder season goes from April to mid-June and September through October. Conversely, the off-season describes the period from November to March. Although it’s easy to see why so many people opt to do their traveling during the peak and shoulder seasons, limiting your trips to these periods stands to cost you quite a bit. On the flipside, opening yourself to off-season travel can save you a considerable sum and expand your list of potential destinations.
Since there are fewer travelers during the off-season, this is when you’re most likely to find discounted airfare, lodgings and travel packages. So, if you’re not opposed to traveling during the cold weather season, the world is your oyster as far as travel is concerned. Furthermore, if your intended destination enjoys year-round warm weather, visiting during the winter shouldn’t present much of an issue.
Not Renting a Vehicle
Although many travelers regard renting a car as a needless expense, a good rental vehicle actually stands to save you money. For instance, you may be eligible to receive rental car discounts that you’re not even aware of. Certain credit card companies, businesses and clubs provide members with convenient discounts at various rental car chains, so before proceeding to rent a vehicle, take stock of any and all discounts for which you’re eligible. AAA, for example, offers fantastic rental discounts to a sizable number of members. Furthermore, when booking your vehicle, remember to use a credit card that covers primary car insurance.
If the locale you wish to visit lacks a robust public transit system, renting a car stands to save you a lot of time. Additionally, depending on how much transportation you’ll need, using rideshare services throughout your entire trip may ultimately cost you a lot more than simply renting a vehicle.
Eating All Your Meals at Restaurants
Sampling new cuisine at unique restaurants is a tenet of an enjoyable travel excursion. However, if you eat every meal – or every snack – at a restaurant, your travel budget can quickly become depleted. To avoid this, familiarize yourself with at least one grocery store and make a point of packing at least one meal for yourself per day. (Lunch tends to work best.) This will help you cut back on food costs and make your restaurant visits feel like more of a treat. In the interest of additional savings, try to find a hotel that provides complimentary breakfast.
Although many of us would like to travel on a regular basis, the high costs associated with ambitious trips often prevent us from doing so. As beneficial as travel can be, most people just can’t seem to rationalize spending exorbitant sums of money on an experience that’s strictly temporary. However, unbeknownst to many would-be travelers, there are quite a few ways to save a small fortune on virtually any trip.