Sometimes we get that travel itch. We once heard of a guy who cycled from Texas to California sleeping in a tent he pitched in fields along the way just to see if he could. If scratching that travel itch is your thing, then keep reading because we’ve got some great firsthand tips for saving money on travel.
You could fly, cruise, drive, cycle or climb. Heck, you could even walk if you wanted. There’s no right or wrong way to channel your inner adventurer. But, there is a way to keep it cheap.
Tip 1: Consider Road Tripping
For example, we recently bought a last minute plane ticket to Denver, CO a few weeks ago and stayed with a friend to save on accommodations. You can see below how a road trip is a savings of $132.81 and might be even more if you brought friends along to split costs.
Flying to Denver, CO
Spirit Airlines Plane Ticket: $101.12
Expedia Taxes: $31.84
Thrifty Rental Car: $106.31
Other Expenses (food, etc.): $117.60
Total Spent: $356.87
Road trip to Denver, CO
2001 Subaru Forester: 19mpg city | 25mpg highway
Gas: $106.46 roundtrip
Other Expenses (food, etc.): $117.60
Total Spent: $224.06
We calculated our gas costs using GasBuddy’s Trip Cost Calculator. It takes your car details, route and checks prices. Hop on over to their app if you’re interested, it’s easy to use.
If you still don’t believe us, here’s a chart with some pros and cons:
-Splitting costs (gas, boarding, food, drive)
-Awesome scenic views
-Gas station bathrooms
-Time spent in the car versus at your destination
Tip 2: Shopping Around
Behold, the tool of all tools: Google Flights. Great at finding low-priced travel dates. The calendar function shows the cheapest dates to fly during the month. The map view has filters to locate budget-friendly destinations if you don’t have one in mind.
We use Flights to find a timeframe and a variety of travel sites (Expedia, airline sites, Travelocity, Skyscanner, etc.) to actually book the flight after finding my low-price desired times.
Tip 3: Use Trip Planners
Planning = happy wallet. If trip planning stresses you out, they make sites/apps designed for this very purpose. Furkot is a great trip planning tool (with app) that incorporates accommodations, food, gas and stops all in one easy-to-use itinerary. Travefy is great for group travel.
Tip 4: Food
An unavoidable expense. It’s easy to walk the airport and spend $6.00 on a pack of peanut M&M’s or overpriced gas station beef jerky. Don’t fall for the trap! Fifteen minutes at the grocery store can save you pretty pennies. If you’re an over-achiever, make your own snacks, like homemade trail mix.
For road trips, food options are wide open. For flights, TSA can ruin some serious snackage. Check the list of prohibited items before you go. If you’re needing inspiration, here are 20+ car-friendly foods that work well for different kinds of travel.
Tip 5: Accommodations
Keep it simple, cheap, and (most importantly), decent. You are on vaca after all. You’re probably going to spend less time in your lodging than you’d think.
3 keys to follow:
- Stay with friends and family whenever possible.
- Use travel-saving accommodation websites: Airbnb is a great one for saving serious cash.
- Consider staying at camp grounds and national parks.
Car camping has actually become quite popular and it doesn’t require purchasing any additional equipment. Bring some blankets and pillows, lay your seats down and get a snooze in. If you want a hassle free, extremely cheap option, car camping is the way to go. You could pitch a tent too. Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Camping if you need some help getting started.
Tip 6: Pack Light
More luggage means more gas on a road trip, more money on an airline and more money out of your pockets. If you had only remembered in that wild fit of panic you threw when you tossed everything you own into a suitcase to plan only what it was you actually needed.
What are your go-to travel tips when you’re looking to save money? Share with us below.