You might still be planning your holiday travel, or maybe you’re thinking ahead to your next vacation. After all, once the cold winter weather sets in it might be nice to take a trip somewhere warmer. Whatever the case may be, traveling is a lot of fun, but the cost keeps many people from doing it as often as they’d like. These tips will help you save money on your travel so you have more to spend on great adventures at your destination.
1. Plan Ahead
One of the easiest things you can do to save money is to plan ahead. The earlier you book your flight and hotel, the easier it will be to find the best deals. Spend some time on the travel sites that offer comparisons of airfare and hotel rates so you can find the best deal available.
Usually, you can find the best prices when you book at least three weeks in advance for domestic flights. Your best bet might be around 54 days before your trip. For international flights, booking at least 30 days ahead is the best way to get a great deal.
2. Book Your Flight on Cheaper Days
When booking a flight, it’s good to know that some days are cheaper than others. Traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is usually less expensive than Fridays and Sundays.
If you’re traveling during the holidays, one of the best ways to save is to plan your trip on the day of the holiday. If you can travel on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day, you might be able to find an even better deal.
3. Fly into an Alternative Airport
Consider arriving at a smaller airport outside of the main city. Flying into a smaller airport is usually less expensive. On the other hand, if you’re traveling to an out-of-the-way place where fewer flights are available, you may want to fly into a nearby major city instead to save on airfare.
The same is true for your departure. If you have a smaller airport nearby, be sure to check prices for that airport and any bigger airports within an hour or two from where you live.
Be sure to account for the transportation costs to use a different airport, and you may find that the savings from the air travel will still be more than the other costs.
When planning your trip, you may want to sign up for fare alerts from the major airlines and travel sites. If they are offering special deals or the fare drops for a flight you’re interested in, you will be alerted.
4. Consider Traveling Overnight
Red-eye and overnight flights are usually less expensive than those at more convenient times. You may want to consider other alternatives like sleeper trains and overnight ferries. Depending on where you are going, overnight travel can help you avoid spending an additional night in the hotel, as well as save you money on travel to your destination.
5. Bring Your Own Food
Airport food is expensive! Prep your meals and snacks beforehand and bring them through airport security with you. This will help you save costs on overpriced and unhealthy airport food from the concessions stands or the food court. Definitely avoid buying food on the airplanes at all costs. That is where it is most overpriced.
6. Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Because of airport security regulations, you can not bring your own water through airport security, but you can bring you own water bottle! Be sure that it is empty! Any sort of water bottle, even an empty plastic one, will do the trick! Most airports have water refilling stations that you will be able to use to fill it up.
7. Be In The Know
Use an app like TripCase (my favorite) or TripIt to know what is going on with your flights. When I was in college I flew to Cuba with a group of students. Flying to Cuba in 2013 was a very tedious process. We had to fly to Miami and then take a chartered flight to Cuba, of which there is only one per day. My TripCase app let me know that my flight from New Jersey, where my parents live, to Miami was not just delayed but cancelled before my airline called me! I was able to reschedule and get on an earlier flight before most people knew there was going to be a problem.
8. Do not sign up for the credit cards
On most flights, they offer really enticing reasons to sign up for their credit cards. Do not fall for the traps! You don’t want to apply impulsively! The offers are supposed to make you want to apply right away. It is part of their marketing plan. Recognize that when you hear the offer, and talk yourself out of applying.
9. Look into alternative places to stay
Most people stay in hotels when traveling. Instead, consider AirBnbs or hostels. Depending on what cities you’re visiting and the size of your group, it could be much more affordable! Most AirBnbs and hostels include the opportunity to use kitchens, making it possible for you to cook your own food!
What other tips do you use to save on travel? Let us know in the comments below.