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10 Simple Ways to Cut Your Travel Costs

Photo by nattu

It's easy to turn a vacation into an excuse to spend a mountain of money, often even money you don't necessarily have. It's also easy to not do that. Here's ten simple things you can do to bring down your travel costs, and a whole lot more about traveling:

  1. Search out airfares. Instead of taking the first offer available to you, if you can, try traveling on different arrival and departure dates. Sometimes leaving on a Monday instead of a Tuesday, for example, can make a two or even three hundred dollar difference.
  2. Buy your tickets early. The sooner you have your dates set in stone, the less you're going to need to spend in order to make it happen. Plane tickets often go up in cost substantially in the final 7-10 days before traveling, so buying early can prove extremely helpful in saving money.
  3. Book your hotels early and shop around. The same rule for airfares goes for hotels, too: later means spending more, which you almost definitely don't want to do if you're reading this. Additionally, there are often dozens – if not hundreds – of hotels to choose from, all of which will have different rates.
  4. Don't stay in a hotel. Hotels aren't particularly economical, though they have their appeal. If you can stay with friends, you're likely to save on both food and lodging. If not, consider staying in a hostel, which will be significantly less expensive.
  5. Don't eat out every meal. If you're traveling to eat food, this may not be the best strategy, but if you're merely seeking out sustenance, eating out even cheaply is going to take its toll. Make a grocery run and cook where you're staying, or at least make your own coffee in the morning, and you'll save at least a few dozen dollars.
  6. Use public transportation or walk. Renting a car, especially if you're young, is expensive. In a lot of places, it's also impractical and unnecessary. Though some cities prohibit this, in many it's not at all difficult to get around taking trains, buses, or simply walking. In the worst case scenario, cabs are available, and even those inflated prices are nothing compared to the several hundred dollars lost to car rentals.
  7. Don't buy the first things you see. Shopping while traveling is unavoidable. There's novelty in it, and it can often be a whole lot of fun. But don't lose your head simply because you're somewhere new; do some comparisons and shop around for the best deals you can get. Depending on where you go, this can be a thrilling activity in and of itself.
  8. Put a hard limit on your daily spending. If you can't stop yourself, set a hard limit – get it in cash, and maybe even have someone you're with and that you trust keep track of it – and only spend that much every day. This'll stop you from running up potentially killer tabs at bars and disable the kinds of impulse purchases that turn out unnecessary and unfeasible in the long run.
  9. Don't pay for internet access. A lot of hotels and other places try to charge a premium for internet access, upwards of $8-10 per day. Depending on where you are, there's a very good chance that there is free internet access to fulfill your needs within walking distance of you, and it will likely work just as well.
  10. Make a schedule. Someone I know once went to London, bought tickets for a play, then went the night after they had tickets. Keep track of things, and don't let this happen to you.


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Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on medical assistant schools for Guide to Healthcare Schools.

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Andrzej says:

Hi Jian!
It’s a pretty interesting list, but I would add a point about checking if someone is not going your way same time that you do per example by car. You can then split the cost of fuel or in some cases you could even get there for free 😉

I check that often as I need a ride between my home town and the capitol (about 330km) and usually I’m cut at least 30% off the price.