You want to travel but are looking for ways to save money. Even if inflation and high gas prices strain your wallet, you can afford the next vacation.
Here are 13 ways to save money on your next travel adventure.
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1. Take advantage of fall trip cost savings
Autumn is a great time to take advantage of lower travel costs. Fewer travelers and less demand make fall a cheaper time to travel.
“Travelling in autumn is actually my favorite time to travel. The summer crowds have decreased so you’re no longer rubbing shoulders with other tourists, and airfare and accommodation prices are generally lower,” says Matt Kepnes, author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and the website Nomadic Matt .
Autumn and October are particularly good times to travel; The changing seasons and cool temperatures make it a great time for a scenic outdoor trip.
“October often has the best weather in places around the world,” says Sarah Stocking, travel destinations editor at Lonely Planet. “Less crowds and incredible weather, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
2. Go outside to save on travel expenses
Outdoor activities are fun and affordable when you travel in the fall. There will also be fewer crowds vying for gear rentals and fewer crowds on the river, lake, road or trails.
“Go outside,” Stocking says. “Hiking, kayaking, biking, all of these great outdoor activities are great in the fall and don’t cost much more than equipment rental.”
If you prefer something a little less strenuous, visit the outdoor markets and street food stalls and sample local produce and cuisine. Not sure if there is a market nearby? Check with a local tourist information center for information, but many markets take place on Saturday mornings and run into the afternoon.
“Autumn is harvest time and the farmers’ markets are overcrowded. It’s also a great way to immerse yourself in local culture,” says Stocking.
Look for free outdoor entertainment. You may not have to pay anything to hear a local band in the town square. Keep your eyes and ears open for local entertainment. Look for signs in the town square, at the town’s visitor center, and do a quick search online. You can also ask a local. They know their city better than anyone.
“So many cities and towns have free concerts in parks and squares, lots of free outdoor movie nights and open mic nights,” says Stocking.
3. Check city websites for travel deals
The cities want to boost tourism in the autumn months. So look for offers and special offers before you head out. Choose your travel destination, the dates you want to stay and search for accommodation and travel deals. You might find a bargain.
“San Diego is doing a kid-friendly October with tons of deals for families, and other cities are taking advantage of less tourists to offer discounts and free days at all kinds of attractions,” says Stocking.
4. Be flexible with travel plans
If you’re dying to travel to a specific location, it might be more difficult to get a reasonable price. But if you break up your travel plans and go where the deals are, you’ll save money.
“To get the best deals, you should be flexible about your travel dates and ideally your destination,” Kepnes says of your rigid plans.”
5. Choose affordable places to travel
Some places are cheaper for travelers. Choosing one of these places for an upcoming trip is a great way to save money.
“When it comes to balancing affordability and security, Southeast Asia is unbeatable. Thailand in particular is very cheap and very safe and offers something for everyone,” says Kepnes. “And while Europe is commonly seen as a more expensive travel destination, countries like Portugal, Greece, Romania and Albania make visiting Europe very affordable without having to compromise on quality or safety.”
6. Sign up for travel deals websites
Not sure how to find the best travel deals? Let a website do this for you. Airfarewatchdog and Cheapflights are among the travel sites that offer flight deals.
Kepnes prefers Scott’s budget flights. “To save on airfare, you should sign up with deal sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights,” says Kepnes. “They scour the internet for the best flight deals so you don’t have to. I saved hundreds of flights thanks to the deals they found.”
7. Use an app to save gas
Any opportunity to save money on gas consumption will be greatly appreciated. Kepnes recommends Gas Buddy, an app that finds the cheapest gas prices in your area.
“If you’re going on a longer road trip, sign up for the monthly program; it costs $9.99 but saves you up to 40 cents a gallon,” says Kepnes. “It pays for itself very quickly.”
A fuel credit card is another way to save money at the pump. You can earn cashback or collect reward points. Every little helps these days.
8. Get a travel credit card
A travel credit card allows you to earn free travel, free lodging from your credit card spend, and free annual travel credits.
“You can earn free flights and free hotel stays with your normal, everyday expenses, which can dramatically reduce the cost of your next trip,” says Kepnes.
The best travel bonus cards give you many extra perks like travel accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and coverage if your suitcase arrives damaged or lost. All will protect you if something goes wrong on your journey.
9. Avoid foreign transaction fees
Are you going abroad? Pack a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, which can be as high as 3%. Otherwise, you’ll pay up to 3% more for each item you top up on your overseas adventure.
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And don’t forget to pack a spare card or two.
“It’s always good to have a few credit card options when you’re abroad in case one stops working, gets lost or gets stolen,” says Kepnes.
10. Stay in hostels
Do you want to reduce your travel accommodation costs? Stay in budget hostels.
“You can save a lot of money by opting for a dorm room in a cool hostel instead of an expensive private hotel room,” says Matt Kiefer, founder of Hostelgeeks. “Most hostels have full kitchens so you can cook your own meals. That alone saves a lot of money when traveling, especially to western countries like France and Spain.”
While staying at the hostel, you can learn about some fun and affordable activities to do.
“Hostels are known for arranging more budget-friendly travel activities and even tours,” says Kiefer. “It can be a canal cruise in Amsterdam for half the regular price or a free walking tour of Paris.”
To get the price of a hostel stay even lower, visit a hostel price comparison site like hostelz.com. You may be able to deduct 10% to 20% per night from your stay.
“It’s super easy to use and with just a few clicks you know which booking platform offers the cheapest hostel price,” says Kiefer.
11. Be creative with travel points
A small travel savings is better than no travel savings, so don’t be afraid to redeem points before you get a full travel reward.
“Our latest and greatest tip for saving money while traveling is to get creative with using your accumulated credit card and airline points to get (discounts) when you travel, even if your points don’t cover the entire cost of the flight,” says Becca Siegel and Dan Gold owners and travel bloggers at Half Half Travel.
Siegel and Gold used this strategy for their voyages in 2022.
“For example, so far this year we’ve used a collection of miles from Wells Fargo, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, United Airlines and American Airlines to earn free flights or hotel stays,” Siegel said. “But that doesn’t mean we explicitly had enough points on a single platform to cover the entire cost of the trip.”
So combine your travel rewards on your next trip. You could cut your travel expenses by a nice amount even without a full award.
12. Sign up for airline email alerts
Do you have a favorite airline? Sign up for email alerts and you can make significant cost savings on airline ticket prices.
“The best way to get super cheap airline tickets is to use flash sales, which are only advertised via email notifications,” says Gennifer Rose, who writes a travel and lifestyle blog at GenniferRose.com. “When you receive the sales notification email, open it immediately and browse the flight options for your home city and desired destination. The best ticket prices sell out very quickly. I won $30 tickets from SFO to NYC during a JetBlue Halloween Flash Sale.”
13. Shop smart for travel accessories
Buy travel items you need before your next trip, travel backpacks, travel cameras, travel pillows and weekend bags. Reviewed looked at them all and identified the best of the best.
Reviewed’s product experts have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Rated on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, TikTok or Flipboard for the latest deals, product reviews and more.
Prices were correct at the time this article was published, but may change over time.