11 Ways to Save Money on Travel this Summer

by Miranda Marquit · 5 comments

For me, summer time is travel time. I don’t need to go on some long vacation; I just need to get out of the house every now and again. A mini-vacation, or a staycation, can be a great way to save money on travel costs. You are close to home, and a shorter vacation means lower costs. Budget vacationing is fun, and a good way to have some family fun while living a frugal lifestyle. Here are 11 ways you can save money on travel this summer:

  1. Look for discounts: The first thing to do is to look for discounts. You can get discounted gift cards to help cover some travel costs, including hotels, restaurants and even some airlines. Check for discounts on the sites and buy direct, or find coupon codes. Don’t forget to look for discounts based on age, groups and student status.
  2. Public transportation: If you are planning to see the sites in a city, check into the public transportation. It can be cheaper than rental cars, and certainly cheaper than taxis. Many cities in the U.S. and Europe offer special passes for three days for a week. Consider how you can get the true flavor of a city by mingling with its masses.
  3. Do your laundry: If you plan to stay for more than a few days, plan to do your own laundry. This way, you can travel light. Some airlines now charge for any checked bag. While they have backed off a bit on charging for carry-ons as well, it probably won’t be long. The less you can pack, the better.
  4. Get the smallest rental car: If you decide that rental car is more convenient than public transportation, or if you plan to drive around to different towns for a couple of days, get the smallest rental car you can. This will not only cost you less up front, but save you money on gas.
  5. Cook for yourself: Consider a hotel with a small kitchen. If you cook a few meals on your own, with inexpensive items bought at the local grocery, you can save money over eating out the whole trip. If you are going on a shorter trip, pack a five-day cooler with essentials. We often make our own picnic lunches when we go on mini-vacations, rather than buying food at a local restaurant.
  6. Buy lunch: If you do want to eat out, consider buying lunch instead of dinner. It costs less than dinner does. Then make your own dinners.
  7. Avoid tourist “hot spots”: One of the best things I did when I was younger was to go on a foreign exchange, and make friends with locals who could show me the real life in a large European city. This holds true in America as well. Instead of seeking out the places where tourists congregate, look for places with more local flair. Everything is cheaper in more local hangouts as well.
  8. Opt for more stops: It might be kind of a pain, but if you are willing to deal with a layover or two, you can save money on your airfare. Non-stop flights often cost more.
  9. Go off peak: Some travel sites, hotels and airlines will show you days that have lower rates. Whether it’s going during the week, or choosing to take your trip at an “unusual” time of the year, you can save money by going during off peak times. This includes off peak times of day, like red eye flights.
  10. Look for inexpensive attractions: You can save on entertainment even when traveling. Look for inexpensive attractions, whether its Shakespeare in the Park (free in New York’s Central Park), free admission day at the museum or a concert at the local university.
  11. Currency exchange: If you are traveling out of the country (even just to Canada or Mexico), consider the fees that come with exchanging currencies. It can add to the expense. Compare that with the fees charged by your credit card company. In some cases, it’s cheaper to use your credit card than to have cash exchanged. Use online sources to local the least expensive places to exchange money.

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that you can save money with Netflix? Even if you don't plan on using the service, you should at least sign up for the Netflix free trial here to get some free movies for a month.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

janelle May 21, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Great advice…especially about buying lunch instead of dinner 🙂 I would have never thought about that before…I would also suggest splitting meals if you are traveling with someone else…

rijles in amsterdam March 30, 2011 at 1:10 am

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darlene June 8, 2011 at 10:02 am

Stock up on frozen fruits, to make healthy refreshing smoothies, you can add half an apple, some lemon or other fruit to the mix before blending with water if you wish. Saves on gas on a trip out. (Also, a great treat for children and a quick health offer to any quest.) You’ll always have on hand.
I use to offer this drink to lawn maintence, instead of soda.
They always said, “It was delicious.”

darlene June 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

Stock up on frozen fruits, to make healthy refreshing smoothies, you can add half an apple, some lemon or other fruit to the mix before blending with water if you wish. Saves on gas on a trip out. (Also, a great treat for children and a quick health offer to any guest.) You’ll always have on hand.
I use to offer this drink to lawn maintence, instead of soda.
They always said, “It was delicious.”

Davis Moratto September 2, 2011 at 9:08 am

Advantageously, the actual broadcast is in actuality the actual nicest about this deserving matter.

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