10 Cheap Ways to Travel

cheap ways to travel

Many people think that travelling is a luxury. It doesn’t have to be if you know a few tips and tricks to keep your expenses to a minimum. With a little preparation and the right attitude, you can score that perfect out-of-town trip without sacrificing your savings. Here are ten cheap ways to travel while still having a wonderful time.

Do some research and look for the best rewards card that fits your needs.

We all know about frequent flyer miles and credit card reward points. It may not be for everyone because having a credit card or two can be tough to manage for some, but for those who are comfortable with using credit cards to rack up reward points and frequent flyer miles, the trick is to find the rewards card with the best deals and the cards that you would most likely use.

Do a little research online and compare rates.

You may also want to look into credit cards that are airline-branded. Some of these credit cards reward new customers with bonus miles just for getting their credit card. Who knows, you might actually get a free trip after only a few months.

Be smart with your money and plan how much cash and/or which credit cards you’re bringing with you.

Having an itinerary and attaching a budget to each item on your itinerary can help you manage your expenses when you’re travelling. Itemize your possible expenses from the cab fare from your house to the airport to your accommodations and daily budget.

Research entrance fees to tourist spots or amusement parks.

Ask around for the average cost of a meal in that area. Once you have an estimate of your whole trip, you’ll know how much cash you need to bring.

You can also decide when you can opt to use a credit card instead of cash. If you’re travelling abroad, it may be better to use a credit card or debit card that has no foreign transaction fees or international withdrawal fees. Sometimes travellers fail to notice these types of fees that only add to your expenses.

Consider your transportation options.

Find out which type of transportation is cheaper and more reasonable for you. Weigh the pros and cons of driving as opposed to taking the bus, the train, or getting on a plane.

Do not choose your method of transportation solely based on how much it will cost. Consider other factors as well. Most of the time travelling by land may be cheaper, but it will take you longer and will eat up a lot of your vacation time.

Look into budget airlines as well.

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Pick a good schedule for your trip.

Plane fares are usually cheaper off season or on slow travel days. Mid-week flights also tend to be cheaper than weekend flights.

Consider your accommodation options.

Look for the cheapest hotels or hostels.

You can also go for other options like a home renting service or home exchange service, both of which are getting more and more popular these days.

Renting a house or apartment can be more cost efficient than staying in a hotel, especially if you’re travelling as a family or as a large group.

Travel light.

You can avoid airline baggage fees by sticking to the essentials and packing light.

You can plan your outfits ahead and bring clothing items that are flexible and easy to mix and match.

Sometimes we buy a lot of things during our trip and they add additional pounds to our existing baggage. Make sure you know the luggage weight limits.

Have a travel kit with travel-sized containers.

You can actually save a lot of money by using refillable travel-sized containers full of the essential things like shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste.

You don’t have to keep buying those small shampoo bottles or small toothpaste tubes every time you go on a trip.

Keeping them in refillable containers means you can buy in bulk and just refill when needed.

A travel kit is also useful if all you are bringing is a carry-on bag. You won’t have to be worried about the rules on bringing liquids on a flight when you use small travel size containers.

Be smart when shopping during your trip.

Try not to go crazy with the souvenirs. Sometimes these items have “tourist prices” which are higher than they normally are.

You can also try asking about tourist discount cards at retail stores.

Big retail stores have tourist discount cards that can help shave a few dollars off your purchase.

Watch what you eat during your trip.

Food expenses can actually be the bulk of your expenses when travelling.

You can save money by bringing your own snacks and drinks when going around the city or when sightseeing.

You can also save money if you shop at a local grocery store for munchies or drinks that you can keep in your room during your trip.

Travel with friends.

What’s a better way to lower costs than travelling with buddies who will share the expenses with you?

If you’re travelling with a group, you can split the costs on accommodations, transportation and meals.

You can even take advantage of group discounts when applicable.

These are just ten ways to keep your costs to a minimum when travelling. Travelling doesn’t have to be expensive and stressful. With a little ingenuity and a positive attitude coupled with some very helpful money-saving tips, you can be well on your way to a fun trip.

What are some ways that you saved money on your last vacation?


    • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

      Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank 03/18/2013 5:14 a.m. #

      I like to set a fairly strict budget for shopping whenever we go away as it is always the thing that ends up costing us the most money.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 11:55 a.m. #

        Yes, we can sometimes spend a lot of money as well. I find if I go to a resort I spend very little, but if we go to Vegas we buy clothes and things that we can't get for a good price in Canada

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 03/18/2013 7:15 a.m. #

      Great tips Sicorra! We usually try to travel during non peak periods or travel during the week as we're usually able to find cheaper rates that way.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 11:56 a.m. #

        Travelling early in the week allows you to find better deals.

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 03/18/2013 7:48 a.m. #

      Even when travelling just for a weekend you can save money by travelling with friends. We went to a friend's wedding out-of-state and were able to save quite a bit by travelling with another couple. Gas was 1/2 as expensive, the room was 1/2 as expensive, etc. It worked out really well! Until I got a big speeding ticket on the way home...maybe that's another tip...don't speed when you are travelling!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 11:57 a.m. #

        Good point DC!! Don't speed. :-)
        Sharing is a great idea, esp. if you have friends that you get along really well with.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 03/18/2013 8:06 a.m. #

      Wow...you made me want to plan a vacation this year! I'm always coming up with excuses why we can't afford it but you've covered them all here :)

      I don't go out of the state but even a three hour trip to San Antonio is costly when it comes to food and then there are the souvenir shops...why we have to buy stuff when we live in Texas is beyond me LOL.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 11:59 a.m. #

        You have a large family so it is understandable that the expenses could add up quickly no matter where you go.

    • CarolB

      CarolB 03/18/2013 10:20 a.m. #

      Great tips! I'm always on the hunt for bargain travel - I have to be when taking kids along! Love the off-season tip. I've been following that philosophy for a while and it really does save. I also like to shift travel days by one or two days, which can also save lots, especially when you don't have a choice but to travel during peak times as is often the case when you have kids in school. We are heading to Quebec in a few days for spring skiing, and by shifting our arrival day from the weekend to Monday, then leaving on Friday, we cash in on off-peak week-day ski passes. Not to mention the slopes are way less crowded.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 12:04 p.m. #

        You are the master at finding good deals when it comes to travelling.

        Skiing in Quebec should be very nice. Will it be Spring break in Quebec the same week that you will be there? I know every part of Canada is different.

        • CarolB

          CarolB 03/18/2013 4:41 p.m. #

          Thankfully not Spring Break in Quebec, it was last week. We actually picked here for two reasons - one, we can drive there, saving money on airfare - and two, because it's NOT Spring Break.

          I'm always on the lookout for a travel deal. Thankfully my bucket list is so long that I've usually been able to find one of them on sale.

    • Mackenzie

      Mackenzie 03/18/2013 10:36 a.m. #

      We paid cash for everything on our last trip, which we took up the coast. We budgeted and stayed within that budget. No surprise credit card statements for us! :)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 12:08 p.m. #

        It is always nice to not have any post trip bills to pay.

    • Maggie@SquarePennies

      Maggie@SquarePennies 03/18/2013 10:44 a.m. #

      Very good tips, Sicorra! When planning a trip I frequent the travel forums at places like Fodors and Rick Steeves. They are a great source of good inexpensive hotels and restaurant information. Travelling during "shoulder season" keeps costs down also. That's the weeks just before and after the main tourist time. Prices are significantly lower during those times. Eating from the grocery store is a great way to save money AND enjoy the local foods. French bread, cheese, and wine is wonderful for a midnight snack in your room too.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 12:10 p.m. #

        Thanks for sharing that info Maggie! "Shoulder Season" is a term I have not heard of before, but you are right, that is a good time to find low cost travel.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 03/18/2013 11:14 a.m. #

      I checked with my bank before we left to get their correspondent banks in the countries we were visiting. That way I could use their ATM without paying an extra fee for foreign exchange. I also took a credit card that does not charge an extra fee for overseas foreign exchange.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 12:11 p.m. #

        Very good points KC! I know I once tried to use my ATM card in the Caribbean and the extra fees were huge.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 03/18/2013 2:05 p.m. #

      Great tips, Sicorra! We love traveling, but it can become expensive fast. For our big family vacation, we generally do that by ourselves, but when we go skiing, etc - we occasionally go with a group. Beyond helping lower the costs, it just makes it more fun too! We definitely pack our our munchies and drinks. They are so expensive at the hotel (must be a huge money-maker for them) and often they don't have what we want anyway. :)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/18/2013 2:41 p.m. #

        Bottles of water in hotel rooms as well as the stuff in the minibars has always been so expensive and it is definitely better if you can bring your own, or buy some stuff at a local grocery store. We find that even buying bottled water at the hotel gift shop to be cheaper than the cost of the ones in the rooms.

    • KK @ Student Debt Survivor

      KK @ Student Debt Survivor 03/18/2013 6:13 p.m. #

      Eating out can really kill a travel budget (that's usually were we have to be careful). Bf and I try to plan to stay at places that serve breakfast so we can fill up and not be tempted to buy snacks. If there are fruits or pastry we usually take one and stick in my purse for later.

    • The Norwegian Girl

      The Norwegian Girl 03/24/2013 10:54 a.m. #

      When it comes to hotels I would never choose a hotel just because it was the cheapest one. Here`s a couple of reasons:
      1. Safety. When I`m in a foreign country I prefer staying in a safe neighbourhood, even if it cost a bit more.
      2. Hygiene. I`ve been to supercheap hotels, and many are so incredibly nasty that I wouldn`t feel ok sleeping there.
      3. centrality. If you choose a hotel that`s miles away from the city you`re visiting, you`re going to end up using a lot of money on transportation back and forth. I prefer living in more central parts of town and do some walking instead.

    • Jack

      Jack 04/14/2013 1:04 a.m. #

      Well, Traveling with my friendsis the cheaper ways to travel, because there is someone to accompany me while traveling or I can borrow my friend's money for shopping something. :D

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