Your love of travel may be directly at odds with how much traveling can cost, from the airfare or other form of transportation to lodgings to fun activities you hope to do once there. And that doesn’t even touch upon the many surprising expenses that crop up when you travel.
Fortunately, experts have a lot of unique hacks for how to save money when you’re booking travel or are already on the road. Here are our top 10 tips.
Search Flights in Incognito Mode
If you want the best chance to find the lowest price on airfare, Rax Suen, a travel blogger, podcast host and founder of Nomads Unveiled, said, “Always clear your web browser cache or use incognito mode if you are checking flight prices multiple times. Some airline websites track your browsing history and will show repeat visitors a different and higher price to cause FOMO (fear of missing out).”
Protect Yourself With Travel Insurance
With an ongoing pandemic, there’s always a chance you’ll have to cancel your trip. Or you could get ill while on your trip and have a whole new set of complications. Trip insurance is an excellent way to help avoid getting stuck with unexpected bills or the cost of your trip if you have to cancel.
Getting a quote with InsureMyTrip is free and you’ll be able to find plans that may cover COVID-19-related concerns, like cancellation due to diagnosed illness before traveling, emergency medical care if you become ill while traveling, and accommodation coverage if you’re quarantined at your destination. Some comprehensive plans offer the optional Cancel for Any Reason benefit, which gives travelers the most cancellation flexibility and is the only option that offers coverage for fear of travel. However, this benefit is time-sensitive and has other requirements, so not all travels will qualify.
InsureMyTrip has award-winning customer service and offers guarantees that you’ll get the best plan at the best price.
Credit Card Points
Of all the ways to get cheap flights and other travel deals, Alene Laney, a travel writer at Pennies to Paradise, said, “There’s not much that can beat travel hacking with credit card points.”
You can take advantage of flexible point systems like those from Chase, American Express and Citi, and combine them with sign-up bonuses from you and a significant other and end up with free flights and hotels, she said. “I’ve traveled to Paris, The Galapagos, and Bora Bora using points in the last couple of years all on a one-income household budget. It’s a game changer for any family on any income level.”
Book a Travel Bundle
Another way to save on travel costs is to book a travel bundle, said Michelle Halpern, founder and owner of the Live Like it’s the Weekend travel blog. “The best way to save money on your travels is to book your adventure in a bundle or packaged deal such as those offered by Costco.” She said this may eliminate taxes and fees that come with individual bookings and can often include perks such as free room upgrades and other discounts.
If you can book your travel on slightly less traveled dates or with less of a fixed destination in mind, you can end up with a fabulous trip for a lot less money, said Zander Buteux, a travel industry executive at VacationRenter. “My number one money-saving tip is to be flexible with your travel plans because it gives you a better chance of getting a better deal…” he said.
He pointed out that flying on a Thursday, for example, instead of a Friday could save you several hundreds, as well as staying at hotels mid-week versus the weekend.
Travel Off Season
If you want to travel well, avoid crowds and pay the best price, Jignesh Gohel, founder of The India, a travel website, encourages off-season travel.
“Off-season travel is a great way to save money because…accommodation is not at all expensive [and] easily available, the tickets are cheaper, [and] there are fewer people at tourist spots so you can spend quality time with your family and friends.”
Airbnb for Longer Stays
If you have the capacity to stay for a longer trip at your destination, between two and four weeks, Ackerman said that Airbnb offers a “generous discount” on these longer stays. “Apart from the discount the long-term stays at an Airbnb offer, it also adds more of a local flavor to your vacation.”
Alternatives to Flying
If you can let go of traveling somewhere by plane, you can save a lot of money by using buses, trains and taxis, said Stephan Jacob, IT lead for a travel agency. He recommended using the websites Rome2rio.com, “a trip planner that maps out all available transportation options between destinations in major cities and countries;” and RideGuru, “an online tool that helps compare taxi and rideshare services so you can find the most economical choice for you.”
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About the Author
Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.