Updated: Dec 22, 2019
1. Ask for a hotel room on a lower floor
For a majority of hotels, the rooms on the lower floors tend to be cheaper. There's a high demand for rooms higher up, because they've got great views and they're not as noisy. But if you're balling on a budget, those are two simple things you can sacrifice.
2. Get the AAA credit card
I have a few travel rewards cards and this one is easily my favorite (like, by a landslide). There's no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and you earn 3x the points on travel. You get 2x the points on gas and groceries, and 1 point for everything else. After collecting your points, you can either get cash back or get a travel voucher.
The travel voucher has to be used through AAA, but their travel agents don't charge a fee (except for airline tickets) and if you're a member, they can get you discounts. If you travel often, this card is THE BEE'S KNEES because that travel voucher is quite a bit more money for the same amount of points.
3. Sign up for housesitting or homeswapping
There are programs available online for housesitting and homeswapping. What's the difference? When you homesit, you'll stay in someone else's home while they're away and basically keep an eye on it for them. You can explore the city, get a taste of how the locals live, and still get a private experience. Homeswapping is similar, except you'll be trading houses - so make sure you've cleaned up before your trip! It may not be the most ideal way to travel, but it can save you big money.
4. Travel Wednesday-Wednesday
The travel world slows down a little bit on Wednesdays. For both domestic and international flights, it's usually cheaper to fly midweek. Granted, you may have to use more PTO than you were planning on... BUT saving money is never perfect.
5. Book your flights from Tuesday at 6 pm - Thursday at 6 pm
Airlines release their deals Monday nights and post them Tuesday morning. You'll want to give other airlines some time to come out with competitive pricing, but you shouldn't wait too long. By the end of the week, the fares will already have started increasing again.
Looking for more tips and tricks on how to travel for cheap? Check out my Ebook: 100 Ways to Make Travel More Affordable
6. Book your flight 1-3 months in advance
I'm not well versed in the reasoning behind this tip, but I've seen it save some of my clients hundreds of dollars. Some people say it's cheapest to book it 52 days in advance, and some people say it's not that simple. Either way, I can't deny what I've seen with my own two eyes. Waiting until you're 3 months out allows for the deals to come out and isn't close enough to departure for them to raise the fares.
7. Visit certain attractions during discounted days (or times)
Attractions, like museums, sometimes lower their admission prices if they're expecting to be slow. You can call them in advance and ask them if they have designated days or times for discounted admission prices. Other attractions, like theme parks, sometimes offer discounts or early admission on certain days or with specific hotel stays.
8. Buy groceries in your destination
Going out to eat is expensive in general, and it can be double or triple the normal price in touristy areas. Instead of spending all of your cash on food and drinks, use some of it to buy groceries. In my opinion, the easiest way to do it is to buy just enough breakfast (and/or lunch) food from the grocery store for the amount of time you'll be there. Make the decision to eat breakfast at your hotel or house every day of vacation. If you don't overspend at the grocery, you'd be shocked how much you can save.
9. Ask a travel agent
There's a myth that all travel agents charge fees. The truth is that some do, and some don't. If you can find one that doesn't charge a fee, it's in your best interest to give them a chance. Often times, travel agents have access to deals and coupons that you can't otherwise get.
10. Spend more time in less places
Transportation between cities can add up quick. Plus, sometimes staying for longer at one hotel will make you eligible for a free night. Staying in one or two cities during your vacation is a simple way to make travel easier on your wallet.
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