Money, Money, Money
As broke college students, I 110% wish that money grew on trees and wasn’t something we had to consider when traveling… but thankfully, in our world today it is very possible to travel inexpensively! I get asked often about how we save money when we travel. There are many times we travel with family & we are very grateful for those experiences! But when we travel the two of us, we are major penny-pinchers because we have to be. We use a few strategies to keep our expenses down and to help us save money when we travel. Here are my top tips I use to save money when planning a trip.
1.Credit Card Points
If you have to spend money, you might as well be getting points for it! I know credit cards can have a bad rap in some people’s minds… but if that bias exists in your mind, ERASE IT! And repeat after me, credit cards are your friends. 😉 Because as long as you pay them off in time and never inquire actual debt, they definitely are!
We have a few travel credit cards that have literally made our trip to Europe this summer possible. These travel credit cards were the Chase Saphire Reserve, Chase Freedom Unlimited, and the Gold and Platinum Delta Skymiles card. I have another post coming in the next week about the details of these travel credit cards! For now, here is a PDF explaining the main perks of these cards. Also, here’s a link here to sign up for a great free travel credit card that I have and love, The Chase Freedom Unlimited. You earn $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months! Plus, you earn 1.5% back on all purchases and there is no annual fee.
2. Book Far in Advance
Booking far in advance helps in multiple ways. 95% of the time, flight prices are cheaper- one. Plus, there are more options for hotels or airbnbs. This means, there are fewer people who have purchased the better, cheaper options, which helps you find good, inexpensive options!
3. Track Flight Prices
When you go to find your flights, make sure to go incognito. Whenever you are looking for flights, flight companies can track you. They will make the prices go up based on demand, how many people are looking at the flights, and how many times you’ve looked at those flights…. So, to prevent flight prices from going up, you should use an incognito window!
I also like to use Google flights because it allows you to see all of the different flight options, and the interface is really simple to use! When planning my trip to Europe, I wanted to find the cheapest flight to get to Europe from Salt Lake City. But there were many European cities I would be happy to see. With Google, I could look at all of my options! To do this, I simply typed in Salt Lake City to Europe, and it came up with prices for various different cities! Such a neat feature.
5. Find Cheap Accommodation- In Good Locations
It’s also important to find cheap accommodations to save money. BUT, if you find cheap accommodation in a bad spot, you’ll end up paying more just to make it to the places you want to visit. So, I think there’s definitely a balance here. Location is most important because you also have to think about the amount of time (& money- transportation can be expensive!) it takes to get from location to the place that you are staying.
So, find a good deal as close as possible to the majority of the sites that you want to see. For example, In Paris, I wanted to be near the first district and so I sacrificed about $20 a night to be close to the Louvre and Eiffel tower and many of the other sites. While at the other location I’d be saving $20 a night, I’d be losing about an hour a day plus having to pay for public transportation. I think that this definitely pays off especially because you only have so much time when on vacation.
6. Do Your Research & Get Creative
Be Flexible in Your Itinerary
Honestly, figuring out the cheapest way to travel takes a lot of time and research. Sometimes, you’ve got to get creative about flights and hotels. For example, for my trip to Europe, we were planning to go to London, Paris, Munich, and Portugal. Flights from Munich to Faro, Portugal (one area where we wanted to check out) were pretty pricey. BUT, if we traveled in a different order by flying into Munich, then seeing Paris, London, and Portugal, we could save like $300! Those $300 would be the difference of 2 more days for food and activities in Europe. Sometimes, prices may not be that significantly different but saving a few dollars here or there really adds up.
But… also remember time is money
You only have so much time wherever you are going, so be sure to keep that in mind! Long flights with long connections and hotels far from sights you want to see are probably not worth it. You’re going to lose out on a lot of time! Which is very precious on vacation.
Save That Money
I really hope this post helped you with ideas about how you can save money and be a savvy traveler! I have learned these tips from hours and hours of searching the web for the best deals, so my goal is to save others that time and help you out! Happy Traveling!