Travel Writers’ Secrets for Saving Money for Travel or While Traveling

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jun 05, 2016 / 0 comments

I’ve got a GREAT list of travel tips for you! For our trip to Ireland and Scotland, I contacted several of my favorite travel writers and asked them for their top tips.  With their answers, we’ll share a series of ten articles on travel planning, airlines, traveling with kids, tips for Scotland and Ireland, and more.

Thus far, we've shared:

Top Airline Tips

Top Travel Planning Tips

Top Activities for Kids in Ireland and Scotland

Favorite Places in Ireland

Here we go - Travel Writers’ Top Tips for Saving Money for Travel or While Traveling

Travel Writers’ Secrets for Saving Money for Travel or While Traveling

Don't forget that there are inexpensive, interesting places to visit near your home. In the United States, for example, the wide array of national parks, festivals and museums provide a cheaper alternative to long-distance getaways, which almost always involve greater transportation and accommodation costs.

JoAnna Haugen,


Check out local transport before you go as taxis can be very expensive.  When you arrive buy a local phone card and do not use hotel phones (or mini bars for that matter). Washing can be a nightmare when travelling with kids (and a husband). Instead of hotels stay in an apartment with a washing machine and dryer or B & Bs with laundry facilities. B & Bs are great in Ireland and Scotland and there are plenty of them. Hotels can be expensive and the cheaper ones, tiny and cramped.

Trish Clark,


Take advantage of airline credit cards that offer companion fares.  If you predictably fly a particular airline, or a particular route, these can be a very good deal.

Unlock your phone before you leave the US.  In many countries you can buy a local sim card before you even leave the airport.  Replacing your sim card lets you make cell phone calls at local rates. 

Debbie Dubrow,


Never take the first price a hotel quotes. Say the quoted price is higher than you want to pay and quote a price that is 20-30% lower. 
Most likely the hotel will give you a preferred rate. Buy wine from a wine store (this works even in India!) rather than off of a restaurant's wine list. In many places (except NYC), the total including a corkage fee will be less than what you might have paid otherwise.

Jennifer & David Raezer,


While traveling I save a lot of money on hotels by staying in hostels or budget hotels. All I need is an internet connection.

Paul Bennett,


Less is more. Think simply and like a minimalist. Look at all the things that you can do for free or very low cost. Eat healthy and cheaply by cooking most of your own food and doing picnics. Don't waste money on souvenirs or gadgets you do not need.

Jeanne at Soultravelers3


Eat a BIG breakfast at your hostel or in your hotel and skip lunch or have a light/cheap snack.

Sherry Ott, Ottsworld


*buy food in local grocers or markets and make up picnics or cook for yourself. European grocers, including the big chains, are interesting places to explore.
* to experience a favorite restaurant or coffee shop, go for a drink or a cup of coffee or tea, rather than a full meal.

Kerry Dexter,


Get my free eBook “How to Save Money Booking Your Travel Online”

Chris Christensen,  


I try to stay at an accommodation that includes a large breakfast. Then I have a simple lunch of fresh bread and cheese or yogurt and fruit. Dinner would be the splurge meal.

Jeanine Barone,


We always have one meal a day where we buy food at the markets or in the local grocery stores and have a picnic.

Terri Fogarty,


Eat where the locals eat instead of the places listed in the guidebooks. We found some good food in a grocery store cafeteria in Cashel, for instance.

Buy souvenirs at local stores instead of tourist attractions. But if you're rushed, most towns have a tourism office that sells local crafts along with postcards and t-shirts.

Vera Marie Badertscher,


Have a beautiful quirky money box and throw loose change in it on a regular basis – i.e., at the end of each day/week.
Be adventurous & go off the beaten track to eat – often you only need to go a few metres away from the honeypots to get a cheaper & more memorable meal – but it’s a gamble and isn’t that what holidays should be about – safe risk?! Always ask the locals for ideas for cheap n cheerful ways to make the most of the place you are visiting.

Zoe Dawes,


I find the easiest way to save money while traveling is with food choices – avoid expensive or overpriced restaurants by buying food at local farmers’ markets or grocery stores. Rather than sitting down for dinner, I often buy a loaf of crusty bread, local cheese and fruit and subsist on that for most of the day.

Morgen Young, via Europe Up Close (link above)


Pay with credit card when possible. Credit cards get much better exchange rates than trading currency at the airport or at the post office. Also, ATMs are useful but most American banks do not have machines in Edinburgh, so a fee will be charged for every transaction. Skip ATMs altogether or withdraw large amounts to avoid multiple fees.

Michael Orr, via Europe Up Close (link above)


-Take your main meal at 1pm. The selection is great, serving are large and the prices cheaper than at dinner.
-Buses are cheaper than trains and reach more destinations
-Use your ATM and credit cards.
-Get off the tourist trail. Restaurants, shops and accommodations all
cost less in places with less tourists.

Corey Taratuta,


Bring your own water bottle and save money on bottled water. There are many options: you can buy a bottle once you get to the airport and just save it. You can also pack a collapsable bottle that won't take up room in your luggage--and there's a bonus, aside from saving money, it's environmentally friendly. If the water is questionable at your destination, you can purchase portable water filters; most come with a bottle. 

Penny Sadler, Adventures of a Carryon 


Do you have a great tip you'd like to share? Let us know!





Note: this article was originally published in 2010 and updated in 2020.