“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Ever since I was a little girl, I had the chance to travel with my parents as my dad took pictures around the world. As a teenager I traveled the world playing tennis tournaments. As an adult I travel the world both for work as a sports reporter, and for personal pleasure, as an adventure seeker. There is something so special when you have a chance to learn about cultures, see the beauty in a country, hear the stories of the locals. Traveling is my drug of choice as they say, but alas it can also be a very expensive drug. From flights, to hotels, to food, to activities it adds up. On top of that, as a freelancer when I am traveling I am not earning any money. If you are like me and love travel but also love having some money in the bank then you might find this blog useful. I wanted to share with you some of my tips on saving money when traveling.
1. Keep an eye on flight deals
A friend of mine who is a flight attendant once told me to always try and book your flight either late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. In my experience, it has been a little cheaper during this time. Another idea is a lot of google searches will offer flight fare watcher and will update you if prices go down.
Along with booking dates, is airport locations. Living in Canada, it can sometimes be expensive to fly, so I will always check flights out of Seattle. I have found that doing so can save me about $200 a flight. Do your research because sometimes nearby airports may have a deal.
2. Travel on off-days
Recently I was booking a trip to Arizona with some girlfriends. I was thinking of going from Friday to Sunday, but I couldn’t find a flight less than $500. Insane, I know. So I decide to search from Thursday to Saturday and boom, I found a flight for $250. I know that sometimes your schedule isn’t that flexible, but if it is this is one way to save.
3. Travel during the off-season
Sure, some places like the Caribbean have a hurricane season and you probably don’t want to travel then. But if you head to Europe in the winter, or south in the spring and summer everything is cheaper. From flights to hotels you are bound to find a deal and trust me, off-season traveling has its advantages. Sure the weather might not be as desirable, but a lot of the tourist attractions will be less crowded and easier to visit.
4. Reach out to Tourism Companies
No one knows a city and their deals better than the tourism company of that city. Before traveling, let them help you plan your trip. Ask to see if there are any events going on while you are there and see if there are any discount codes for tickets etc. When we were in London, there was a tourism pass you could get that allows you to visit several attractions for a cheaper cost. I would never have known about it if I didn’t reach out to the tourism company first.
5. Book hotels through Hotwire
I have become a huge fan of Hotwire over the last few years. When I was looking for a place to stay in downtown Rome, I used Hotwire. I got an amazing three star hotel right in the city centre for $60 a night. It was a steal. I know it can be a little scary not knowing where you are going to be staying, but they only work with reputable partners and it is kind of fun when your final hotel is revealed.
6. Stay outside of the main city
When I was visiting London, I couldn’t find accomidation within my budget so I started to search outside of the city centre. I ended up finding a spot in Cambridge that was nearly half the price and it was still really easy to get to downtown. I only recommend going this route if it is a country you feel comfortable and safe in and if they have good public transportation.
7. Talk to the Locals
Visiting the super touristy spots and restaurants can get pricy because they know that they are well, dealing with tourists. Try and speak with the locals to find out where they hang out and eat. Usually places that are less known by tourists are more affordable.
8. Sign up for travel rewards
From frequent flyer points, to hotel points, to visa points sign up for everything and anything because those points sure do add up. In fact I am heading to memphis this summer for free (thank you Aeroplan)
9. Follow on social media
Sometimes hotels and airlines will offer deals that they promote on social media. If you are following you won’t miss any of it. The same goes for signing up for newsletters.
10. Have meals included
When booking a hotel, especially in Europe, a lot of spots will offer breakfast. Try and also see if they have a kitchen area where you can store some food. Saving on your meals will mean more money left over for shopping right?
11. Earn on the go
Why not go one step further and make money while traveling. On a trip to Thailand I was asked by some friends to pick up some special Thai pants and shirts only available at their markets. I decided to put the filler out on social media that I was traveling to Thailand and if anyone wanted anything. I then brought a separate carry on bag to store all the goods. Thailand is so cheap, that it was easy to make a small profit and have a chance to help out some friends.
Again I know that the dollars can add up and since I no longer earn allowance I have to pay my own bills. But you should never miss out on seeing the world because it is too expensive. Go out, explore, and do it all within your budget.
Happy traveling my friends,
some of my travel snaps