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How to Get the Most Bang Out of Your Buck When Traveling

Traveling is expensive—that’s one of the most common excuses people have for not traveling more. Yet just about everyone expresses the desire to take more vacations, explore more, and basically get out of their comfort zone (or into a much more comfortable one).

The reality is that traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. One of the most expensive parts of traveling is simply getting there. Airfare certainly can be costly, especially if your only vacation days are during the peak seasons. However, simply choosing destinations that are within driving distance can make a huge difference. This is especially true if you’re traveling with family. You won’t need to pay for additional seats and you can pack picnics to make sure you rarely need to stop for food.

Just make certain your road trip vehicle is well maintained. You’ll want to change your AC filter in some cases as we head into warmer months and make sure the brake pads are thick enough. Even after paying a maintenance check at your mechanic, you’ll still likely save a bundle compared to any other form of transportation.

Here are a few more ways to save:

  1. Look beyond hotels. Most people are comfortable booking on Airbnb these days, but if everyone was totally aware of how much they could save, hotels wouldn’t (still) be so packed. However, there are other ways to save. Think about swapping homes with another family who also wants to travel. You’ll each be able to stay in a different place for free, with the added peace of mind of knowing that your home isn’t vacant.
  2. Take your pets with you instead of leaving them behind. Kenneling your pets or getting a pet sitter is an easy way to waste money. If you don’t travel because you have pets, there are a lot of home share options that welcome your four-legged friends. You might want to check with your vet about options for keeping them calm while you travel, but otherwise it’s a great way to have an adventure with the entire
  3. Don’t travel during peak holidays. This can be almost impossible for some people, but if you can swing a vacation during an off-season, you’ll automatically save a lot. Everything is more affordable, from experiences to sometimes even the food. You’ll also get the added perk of not battling it out with the other tourists. Off-season means more of your destination to yourself, so you can really live it up like a local.
  4. Don’t spend all your money at the bar. Remember how savvy you were when you were younger at pre-gaming? The same can be adopted when you travel. If you do imbibe, pick up your favorite poisons at a nearby store and have some pre-drinks where you are staying before heading out.
  5. Connect with promoters before you get to your destination. If you enjoy the nightlife while you travel, one of the best ways to know what’s happening (and how to get in free or with a discount) is to connect with promoters. They’re easier to find than ever thanks to social media. You can avoid lines, cover charges, and more.
  6. Go to tourist destinations as soon as they open. Most people aren’t morning people when they travel. If you want more of a site to yourself and to avoid lines, get there before it even opens. For instance, amusements parks are pretty barren as soon as the doors open. During this time, you can do more, see more, and experience more. By the time the crowds roll in at mid-day, you might already have had your fill. How does this save you money? You won’t be tempted to buy express passes, and remember that time itself is money. Your time is valuable, and you want to maximize it on vacation.

Traveling on a budget is more and more doable. You can find deals online and quickly compare prices. The days of being at the mercy of travel agents and hotels are over. Take control, and you’ll be able to customize a vacation that fits within your budget and your goals.