I love to travel, but it seems to be getting more and more expensive every year to do so. It's hard to try to take the family on vacation for very little money. Whether you are traveling a short distance or flying to another country, you can use the 8 tips to travel cheap that I've posted below. Feel free to add your own tips in the comment section. I don't think people can have too many ways to save money, especially when it comes to traveling.
8. Take Pictures Instead of Purchasing Knick Knacks
Sure that Hawaiian hula girl bobble head is fun right now, but how much good will it do you? What are you going to do with it if the cat decides to molest it and eat the fake grass skirt off of it? The beauty of taking tons of photographs while traveling is that this is not only a cheap way to gather memories of your trip, but you can mail photos to friends and family members, post them on Facebook, or frame some truly beautiful photos of the majestic scenery you saw while traveling.
7. Take the Hotel Shuttle to the Airport
If I can find a hotel that offers a free shuttle to and from the airport, then I take it. I don’t care if the room I have to stay in is small and plain or has a crappy view out of the window. I’ve had to pay excessive amounts for a taxi to and from the airport before and I can think of much better ways to spend my hard-earned money.
6. Eat at Restaurants That Allow Kids to Eat for Free
Thankfully a growing number of restaurants offer free kids’ meals with the purchase of an adult meal. I never saw the sense in a restaurant charging full price for a kid’s meal. Why waste time preparing an adult sized portion of food that is only going to be half-eaten; if that. Some restaurants have specific nights during the week that kids eat for free, so be sure to check on the restrictions of the restaurant before placing your order.
5. Go with a Group when Possible
You don’t necessarily have to travel the entire time with a group of people to benefit from group rates. Booking flights with 10 or more people often provides each person with a discounted fare. Even though you will all be taking the same flights during the trip, this doesn’t mean you all have to take the same sight-seeing tours, shuttles, and book at the same hotels during your trip.
4. Take Your Own Snacks
I find that snack food is where most of my money used to go when I traveled with a child. I could easily resist snacking until I made it to my destination or at least until it was time to eat the meal offered on my flight. Traveling with kids is a whole new ballgame. They are avid snackers and require things to munch on, no matter how short the trip is. Pack some zip lock bags of nuts, cereal, granola bars, or anything that can be eaten as finger foods.
3. Look for Hotels That Include Breakfast
When I’m able to eat a large breakfast in the morning, I find that I don’t get hungry until late in the afternoon. Sometimes I can even wait it out until dinner time that same day. My mother and I saved a lot of money by using this tip when we traveled around Scotland for 2 weeks. The breakfasts there also didn’t include a dry bagel or a small box of cereal. The hotels there had a full on breakfast that stuck with us all day long!
2. Keep an Eye Open for Deals during the Year
You may not want to travel until the weather gets warmer, but some companies offer excellent deals during the winter time. Don’t wait until a month before you wish to travel to start looking for discounted flights and hotel rates. Sign up for news letters from travel companies or your local travel agency.
1. Combine Flight, Hotel, and Car Rental
Besides saving money when booking all of these aspects of travel together, you won’t have to worry about booking a car rental or hotel room on the wrong date. When each of these are booked as a group, the hotel and car reservation coincide with the arrival and departure time of your flight. This prevents you from paying more as well.
These 8 tips to travel cheap have served me well over the years. What are some ways you've been able to save money while traveling?
Top Photo Credit: PGill Family