There are so many places you want to visit and so many experiences you want to have, beginning today, but everything costs a ton! Starting from seemingly innocent surcharges on car rentals, to rising airfares, you know you’re beat unless you come up with a plan. That’s exactly what we’re about – check out our tips for frugal travel and make those dreams come true.
Save On Car Rentals
- Leave company sites alone and check for the best car rental rates (plus tax and additional) on kayak.com, expedia.com, VroomVroomVroom.com or orbitz.com.
- Some car rental companies offer a lower rate if you pay in advance, to avoid no-shows.
- Avoid renting cars from airport car rental companies; they’ll charge you the concession fees they pay to the airport
- When booking a car, evaluate the overall price including insurance, additional fees and taxes
- Check if your credit card offers collision coverage and avoid the car rental company’s coverage
- Check pricelline.com for a good theft and collision coverage insurance, for reimbursement on collision damages you pay.
- Before renting a car, look up fuel usage examples for different car models on fueleconomy.gov, the US Department of Energy’s site.
Save On Airfare
- Ask for the difference in airfare if you find an identical flight for a lower rate on the same day.
- Check if your airline allows you to cancel a reservation free of charge if you do it before midnight the next day
- See if you can change your booking to a lower rate flight by paying the change price
- Check airline websites regularly; airlines launch private sales with the best rates for their own sites
- Don’t assume that all airfare aggregator sites offer the same rate; check several sites before booking
- Use flexible travel searching options on Travelocity.com and save hundreds of dollars.
- South up for the Southwest and Frontier airlines’ Ding daily low fare computer alerts
- Airlines upload their lowest fares early in the morning and on weekends, when they feel people won’t be checking
- Domestic airlines update their fares several times a day on weekdays and once a day during the weekend, so make sure to check fares often.
- Airlines use promotion codes to drive traffic to their own sites; sign up for frequent flyer programs and email newsletters to get these codes
- Search low cost airlines such as Southwest and Allegiant separately; these sites don’t share their lowest rates with third parties
Save On Fuel
- If there’s local transit, use it; get yourself a day pass for the local transit system
- Rent a bike for short distances and avoid renting a car, especially in beach and tourist towns
- Check if your hotel offers free gas cards and use it for your rental car
- If your destination is pedestrian-friendly, put on a pair of sturdy shoes and walk; you can visit places that a car won’t reach
- Check if your hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to points of interest
Save On Lodging
- When you book hotel room via phone or local desk, you get the highest rate; do your booking on the hotel’s website.
- Book your hotel room early to enjoy better room and rate options.
- Check for rate and amenities such as in-room coffee, breakfast, shuttle service, etc., before booking
- Book in advance for off-peak seasons; hotels like to encourage such booking which means lower rates for you
- Travel packages that group air fare, lodgings, etc., represent greater value than individual bookings.
- Book your hotel stay for a mid-week date; weekends are busy times for hotels and therefore more expensive.
- Opt to lodge at a hotel a few miles away from major attractions; you’ll find the rates much lower.
- Ask for a discount when you book; hotels don’t proactively offer these
Save On Food
- If your cost of lodging includes breakfast, take advantage of it
- Chose a good restaurant for one value meal of the day, either lunch or dinner
- Pack a picnic lunch for the day after paying a visit to the local farmer’s market, bakery or supermarket
- A large slice of plain cheese or single topping pizza works out cheaply at home and overseas
Save On Souvenirs
- If you want region-specific souvenirs for friends back home, visit the nearest discount or dollar store first
- Browse through flea markets, antique and thrift stores for unique and cheaply priced souvenirs
- Check for cheap local foods that are expensive where you live; Colombia for coffee, silk in India, etc,.
- Don’t forget to bargain for the best rate at souvenir stores; you won’t get a discount till you ask!
- Set a cap for the souvenirs you’ll buy for family and friends before you start shopping