16 Tips on How to Save Money When Traveling

"Save money" and "travel more" are two popular New Year's resolutions time and time again. And while spending less and traveling more seem to be at odds with each other, it's actually entirely possible -- even easy -- to save money while on the road. All it takes is a little organization and advanced planning. Read on for 16 simple ways to save money while traveling, and check two resolutions off your list. 

ccPixs.com via Chris Potter/Flickr

ccPixs.com via Chris Potter/Flickr

1. Go With a Friend: Solo travel has its perks, but saving money isn’t one of them. Splitting the cost of a double-occupancy hotel room is one of the easiest ways to cut a vacation bill in half. 

2. Book With Breakfast: Look for room rates that include breakfast, and you’ll start off on a budget-friendly foot. Go a step further by grabbing a piece of fruit or yogurt for a free snack later. 

3. Drink the Coffee: Many hotel rooms come standard with a coffee machine, so be sure to brew your morning (or afternoon) cup yourself instead of swinging through Starbucks. Free coffee in the lobby is also standard at hotels like Kimpton.

4. Ask the Concierge: The concierge often stashes coupons and discounts to local shops and restaurants. Plus, they’re a great source for information on free days at museums, budget-friendly restaurants, and where to catch public transportation. No concierge desk? Ask the reception staff.

5. Withdraw Money: Using a local ATM is much cheaper than paying to exchange money at the airport. Consider signing up for a debit card that doesn’t charge out-of-network fees. 

6. BYO Alcohol: Sure, the hotel bar might be tempting, but a few glasses of wine can quickly add up. Instead, buy a bottle and enjoy it in the hotel room or at a nearby park (in countries where it’s legal to consume alcohol outdoors). Buying duty-free alcohol can also be a way to save in international countries.

7. Sign Up: Make sure to sign up for every single free loyalty program. That includes airlines, hotels, and even some dining clubs. In exchange for your email address, you’ll get freebies like Wi-Fi and possible upgrades, as well as accrue points towards future travel. 

8. Download a Savings App: Apps like Qapital automatically round up (you choose how much) on all of your purchases and allocate the cash into a savings account. So, if you spend $15 on dinner, round up to $18 and painlessly put the three dollars towards a future meal (or vacation). 

9. Double Check the Map: Sure, booking a hotel away from tourist hot spots will likely save you money on the room rate, but if you’re spending extra cash on taxis and Ubers every day, it’s not going to save you much. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to stay in a centrally located hotel.

10. Book a Kitchenette: If you book a hotel room with a kitchenette or full kitchen, you’ll save loads of money on meals. This is especially handy on a beach vacation, when you can easily prep sandwiches and snacks to take with you to the sand. 

11. Remember Your Friends: Going skiing? Ask to borrow a friend’s gear. Want to head to the beach? Maybe it’s time you visit your college friend in Miami. You can save a ton of money by depending on the generosity of friends, but be sure to return the favor down the line. 

12: Crowd Source: Hop on Twitter and Facebook to ask locals for their favorite low-cost restaurants and activities in their towns. You’ll find some hidden gems and save money. 

13. Skip Shopping: Sorry, but buying a bunch of souvenirs is a guaranteed way to waste money. Does your spouse really want a fridge magnet or an extra-large T-shirt? 

14. Travel Credit Card: Use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. And if you travel a lot, look for a low-cost credit card with higher travel rewards for cash back, airfare, and hotel stays. 

15. Refill a Water Bottle: Invest in a high-quality portable water bottle and refill it whenever possible. Not only will you save major cash (bottled water can be pricey), but you’ll use less plastic. 

16. Fly Midweek: Booking a flight on a Wednesday may cost you additional vacation days, but the airfare will be much cheaper than flying on the weekend when prices increase. 

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