“Got a secret, can you keep it? Swear this one you’ll save.”
Don’t tell anyone, I am about to reveal our best kept secrets for saving money on your trips! Ok, some of these tips you may have already heard of before but these are what we personally do on our trips.
There is nothing more exhilarating than booking and planning a trip. However, once you’ve arrived at your destination, your next step should be sticking to your set budget.
Here are some ways to save money so that you can return from your trip with extra money in your pocket.
It doesn’t seem to matter where we book our hotel, we always manage to arrive a few hours early before check-in.
There have been several occasions when we arrived early and our room was actually available before the scheduled check-in.
On other occasions when our room would not be available we were able to leave our luggage with the front desk and allowed to use the hotel/resort pool, restaurant and other amenities offered to guests without waiting after check-in. Now that’s getting your money’s worth!
Not only does this give you a head start on enjoying your stay but if you want to go out and explore the city you can do it without carrying your luggage.
We do not book a hotel if WiFi isn’t free. Many hotels offer free WiFi these days since staying connected is a big deal for most guests so it isn’t really an issue anymore.
WiFi is important to us mainly because that’s how we are able to call family back home to check in on our house. The other reason we need WiFi is if we are visiting a place on a media trip so we need internet to post on social media during our stay.
One more thing to add – free breakfast is also important to us because that means we just have to spend money on lunch and dinner each day. It’s also nice to just grab breakfast downstairs and head out for a day of exploring.
Free WiFi, free breakfast – you’re in a perfect wallet friendly hotel!
Free Activities and Attractions
This one is a no-brainer! Find as many free attractions and activities as possible! For those (like me) who enjoy history and architecture, many basilicas or cathedrals offer free entry to explore.
You can also seek out free festivals and shows. There were many of them on our visit to Montreal including outdoor movies in the summer.
If your destination has a beach with free public access, that’s also a great activity to enjoy for free!
We love using the destination’s tourist sightseeing card and it’s an even bigger bonus when it includes unlimited public transportation.
Often times the cost of the card works out way cheaper than paying for regular admission prices and transportation tickets. However, before buying a tourist card I strongly suggest you list the attractions you want to visit and their admission costs, tally them up and see if it works out cheaper to pay regular admission or use the card.
The tourist card worked out perfect for us in Montreal but in Rome, their card cost more money than what we would’ve spent out of pocket so we did not use their tourist card.
You also have to consider the amount of days you intend on spending for sightseeing and how much public transportation you will actually need to use.
Off Season Travel
Traveling during less touristy seasons are the best times to go just about anywhere in the world! We saved so much money visiting Italy in September versus if we had gone in July.
Plus, the less crowded the better experience in my opinion (unless it’s Venice which seems to be crowded all the time!)
A lot of my friends disagree with me about vacation packages because they say booking a hotel directly is cheaper than a hotel and flight package. This is when weighing costs comes in again.
So far, every trip we have gone on that involved flights with hotels worked out cheaper to book a package instead of separate. In fact, the hotels costed more on the hotel’s site than what was advertised on booking engines like Orbitz, Priceline and Expedia.
Maybe someday we will come across a hotel cheaper on its direct website instead of a booking engine but until then, we will keep comparing costs.
If you intend on using a lot of transportation on your trip, public transportation (if offered) is the way to go! Opt for a bus/metro pass instead of paying a la carte every time you board. A pass is normally cheaper than paying per ride but once again compare costs!
Consider how many times and days you think you will be needing transportation. If you’re just using it a few times over the entire trip then it is probably cheaper to pay per ride than buying a pass.
Also, consider using an airport bus instead of a taxi if it’s possible to get to your hotel from a bus stop.
If we aren’t driving ourselves around for a trip then we use public transportation and do a lot of walking. We have never used a taxi and if we feel like splurging on a certain trip we have hired a driver to transfer us to and from the airport in a private vehicle.
Many of my friends would also suggest using Uber because they are cheaper than a taxi but that’s not our preference. I guess we are old fashioned, we haven’t even jumped on the AirBnB wagon and probably never will.
Other than that, we like to book hotels that are in close proximity of a bus stop. So far we have been lucky enough to find hotels where the bus stop is literally right outside the front doors of the hotel.
Cook Your Own Meals
I just said we would never stay at an Airbnb because that’s not our thing (I told you we are old fashioned!) However we have stayed at plenty of hotels that have a kitchen which meant we could cook most of our meals on our trip and eat out less.
Food is another major expense on a trip and the less you’ll have to spend, the better! More money for fun things and silly souvenirs.
Ask a Local
Last but not least, locals know best! They will know the best places to eat, shop and see that is away from touristy areas.
It also gives you a chance to see neighborhoods you would not have thought about seeing on your trip.
We found a really cute restaurant in a suburban neighborhood of Montreal and ate the best meal we had ever eaten on our entire trip!
Now you know how we save money during our trips. We always return home with extra money by following these tips and now you can also return home with a happy wallet!
How do you save money while on a trip? Comment below and share this post with your friends.