How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
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The more you save, the more you can travel–that’s my motto. And saving money (and time) are critical factors to remember when you are planning your travels. Sure, we’ve all heard budget travel tips…but which ones to believe?

Here are my top travel planning tips for saving both money AND time on your journeys. Hint: the main concept here is research!

How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

When to Go

If your schedule (school and work) allows for it, try to travel during the shoulder season. What is this? The shoulder season is the time right before and after the main tourist season–generally, summer. But high travel season is rarely a good time to travel, because of crowds, high prices, and hot weather. By traveling in the shoulder season, you’ll have better weather, FAR fewer tourists, more local-focuses activities, and spend less on both airfare and accommodations.
Tip: set flight alerts for your destination to track price fluctuations. Be ready to jump on them when they reach a low!
Flight board at the airport. From How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

Where to Go

What do you want to do, when you travel? What are your priorities: food, art, music, culture, history, architecture? Write them down, and then research cities where your travel ideas can be realized. THEN, see what cities could also fit, i.e., if London has the best activities for you, perhaps take a look at Edinburgh, where you can see and do similar things for much less money.
Tip: Do what you love when you travel¬–in a smaller city.
Edinburgh at dusk. From How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

Where to Stay

If you know where to search for hotels, you can save a great deal of money. A hotel booking site can show you a wide range of accommodation options, from budget to luxury. The advantage of using a hotel booking site is that you can compare prices, amenities (including a breakfast buffet, to save money), and locations, to ascertain your options for best price and fit. 
Tip: Find a centrally located hotel, with a breakfast buffet or evening cocktail/aperitif hour to save money on both transportation and food.
Cute hotel next to a restaurant. From How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

Listen to All Voices

The best part of travel planning? Dreaming together. Listen to all voices in your travel party, whether it is your spouse and kids, grandparents, or bestie. Perhaps one absolutely LOVES science museums and just wants to be there nonstop, while another would travel for opera. Include these in your travel planning, so that everyone can do what they love, on your journeys–but you will be smiling, because you accommodated everyone’s passions, while looking for bargains. 

Often, museums have reciprocity agreements, so your membership card can be used in an entire network for free admission. Most national museums are free! Some concerts are free, or have a small goodwill offering at the end. Discover local newspapers, events calendars, or search on facebook local or events, to discover concerts, dance, exhibitions, and more. 
Tip: By tailoring your travels to your passions, and then researching for budget options, you will create a more memorable (and less expensive) experience. 
many hands surrounding a map, for travel planning. From How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

What to Eat

I love a good street market–the food is fresh, inexpensive, and authentic. This is where the internet is your friend, in travel planning. Find out where locals go (as opposed to tourists), for the best in both price and taste. Frequent food stalls that have lines and high turnover, to ensure freshness. 
Tip: A few minutes of observation on site will show you where to take your business.
Korean street food stall. From How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

How to Get Around

Research options for getting around at your destination. Perhaps renting a car is good, if you are traveling to a rural area. Or, look for weekly train passes, if you are going to a city with a metro transportation system. If you’ve booked your hotel near where you want to explore, you can most likely travel on foot. 
Tip: Book your accommodations nearest to your experiences to save money on transportation.
Tube map of London. From How to Save Money and Time: Expert Shares Top Travel Planning Tips

 

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