9 Ways to Save Money on Travel

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jul 30, 2014 / 0 comments

Saving money on travel is a good idea. Why? Because then you can travel MORE! Here are some tried and true ways to save money on travel.

9 Ways to Save Money on Travel


When you are looking at flights, there are several ways to find cheaper ones. Try flying from airline hubs, or from nearby airports to your main metropolitan one. Look at different days, to see if there are any lower priced fares to your destination. And check sites like farecompare to read up on best days to purchase fares.

9 Ways to Save Money on Travel: Flights
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Some people swear by couchsurfing, others by home rentals, yet others by hotel deals. I love using a booking engine that searches ALL the hotel options and finds the best prices.

Travel Insurance And Safety Precautions

One of the best ways you can safeguard your finances when you travel is to think about your safety. You also have to ensure that you have the insurance that is necessary. A lot of people choose to go without this kind of thing because they feel as though it's not necessary at all. Travel insurance can play pivotal role in ensuring that you are financially protected when unforeseen circumstances hit you. It can help out when you have specific needs. For instance, you might need particular medical care during adventurous India Tours or something similar to this. Investing in your safety could not only save your finances, but save your life. 

Getting around

We love renting a car when we travel. If you do, too, then look online for discount codes (they are easy to find). But there are lots of other ways to get around, especially if you’re in a large city like Paris. Many large cities have bike rental programs – and usually the first half hour is free. Hop on, ride to your destination, hop off. Even if you are using the bike for more than a half hour, a day’s rental is really inexpensive. Check into the fares for weekly subway or bus routes – even if you’re only there for 5 days, if you are traveling around a lot, it would be less expensive than paying for tickets each day.

Paris Bike Share. From 9 Ways to Save Money on Travel

Paris Bike Share. Photo Wikimedia Commons: David McSpadden


Shop local! Head to local markets and grocery stores to see (and eat) what the locals eat. Extra points for getting recipes from the market vendors that turn into a lifetime of delicious cooking! If you do eat out, try dining out at lunch time, when prices are less expensive than for dinner. A grocery store or market is also a great place to get souvenirs to take home (Walker’s shortbreads from Scotland, anyone?).

Local fish guy at the Kenmare Market, Ireland. From 9 ways to save money on travel

Local fish guy at the Kenmare market, Ireland (recipe from him above)

Free or low-cost activities

Look online before you go, and find the local newspaper. Check for free or low-cost activities, whether you enjoy book readings, art in the park, a local sporting event, morning Tai Chi, Shakespeare in the park, concerts, and more. Many museums have a free day – check to see when it is, and plan accordingly. Don’t forget to ask locals – they often know when the community band is playing, or when a parade will occur.

Shakespeare in the Park, Ann Arbor. From 9 ways to save money on travel

Shakespeare in the park, Ann Arbor


Search the app store before departing - many are free and low-cost! Language apps will save you time, money, and frustration with language misunderstandings. There are apps for just about everything – finding clean toilets, locating parks, and discovering popular restaurants. Two of our favorites include the app by Spotted by Locals, for finding local everything, and Ireland Travel Kit, for discovering off the beaten path things to see and do in Ireland. Of course, how you manage money is important too. You can send money to Mexico with zero fees if you’re planning to see family, or use apps that can transfer money into one of several travel accounts to ensure you can pull from savings if you’re in a bind.

Travel in the shoulder season

High season is the most expensive time to travel. Hotel rates are often exponentially more expensive, as is everything else. But you don’t need to go to Alaska in the winter to save money (unless you choose to!). Head to your destination in the shoulder season – May and September/October, for the Northern Hemisphere – and you’ll still have mostly great weather, and FAR less crowds. Oh, and save plenty of money, too.

Ireland in the shoulder season. Beautiful! From 9 ways to save money on travel

Ireland in the shoulder season. Beautiful!

Travel light

As more and more airlines charge for luggage, it doesn’t make sense to haul huge bags everywhere. Pack light, and do laundry on location. Buy your travel essentials (shampoo, etc.) at your destination. And cut down on the shoes. I know one traveler who takes 5+ pairs of shoes EVERY weekend. Needed? Nope.

Travel light (although you may need rain boots). From 9 ways to save money on travel

You might need rain boots…

Explore local hangouts

Visiting a world famous pub will cost you. Visiting a local pub 2 streets over will save you. Dining at a 5 star restaurant will cost you. Eating at a local favorite will save you. Get the drift? The bonus of this concept is, you’ll meet locals, enjoy an atmosphere many travelers don’t see, and get to know a culture from the inside.

Eat locally! Local Pub, Arreton, Isle of Wight. From 9 ways to save money on travel

Local Pub, Arreton, Isle of Wight. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Ronald Saunders

Accessing your money

There are many ways to get your money overseas. Gone are the days when we safeguarded our traveler’s checks and looked for a Thomas Cook to cash them. In are several ways to save money (and exchange rate fees) on using money! Order some international currency from your bank before you go. This will have a favorable exchange rate. Research the exchange rates for the countries to which you are traveling – some are variable, while some are set. If you are headed to a country with a variable exchange rate, then don’t exchange money at the airport, unless you absolutely need to. Head to a local bank in town, and access it there. OR, use your debit card at a safe ATM – just be sure to alert your bank that you are traveling, and will be withdrawing money - and that you are traveling to a place where your cards work (the USA is far behind with ATM card technology). Some banks have no withdrawal fees for ATMs, some do. Do your research beforehand and act accordingly. Some people charge as much as they can to their airline credit cards – thus earning mileage to travel more!

ATM of Shin Ginko Tokyo at Nakai Station, Tokyo. From 9 ways to save money on travel

ATM of Shin Ginko Tokyo at Nakai Station, Tokyo. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Bear


How do you save money on travel?