When the world reopens, we’re all going to want to get out into it. But, on a budget, of course, because no one is gonna have any money left to be a baller on vacation. That’s fine. When you get on your trip, you can still save and have a great time. We have a few money saving tips for when you’re traveling.
Follow these tips and you can still take that trip — once you’re finally allowed to go further than your own mailbox.
10 Money Saving Tips For When You’re Traveling
These tips are focused on saving when you’re already on vacation. They’re not tips for how to save on booking your trips. That’s a completely different post.
1. Take public transportation whenever possible.
Whenever we travel to Japan, we rely completely on public transportation. We use the rail and subway system to get around. Public transportation in Japan is incredible. The trains are always on time, clean, and organized. It’s just mind blowing to see how it works and how everyone who takes public transportation is so orderly. No one pushes and no gets left behind.
Also, traveling via public transportation is so much cheaper than trying to stick everyone into a taxi. And easier too. Last time, we traveled with two dozen people. That would be a lot of cabs!
Some cities, like Las Vegas, have a daily pass for public transportation. A one-day bus pass will take you up and down the strip as many times as you want to travel. That’s a cheaper way to get around the casinos then taking a cab all day.
2. Bring your own GPS.
Most phones come with a GPS, but most rental cars don’t. In fact, a GPS is an upsell for car rental companies. If you bring your own GPS, you can save money on a car rental. You can plug your GPS into any car and find where you need to go.
In case you have a very new car with a GPS built in, you can always use the GPS on your phone instead. We actually have a post about how to use the GPS on your phone without data.
3. Figure out parking ahead of time.
If you are taking your own car on vacation, figure out the parking situation before you get there. If not, you risk overpaying.
For example, near the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, there are lots where you can pay $5 to park all day. That’s great if you’re planning on staying for a while. Down the block from those lots, though, are city meters that are $2 per hour. So, if you’re only planning on staying an hour or two, your best bet is on street parking. And, even better, if you’re there in the offseason, on street parking is free. If you don’t know that tip ahead of time, you’ll probably park in the $5 lot off season. And that would stink.
When I travel, I write down a list of public lots too so that we can find them and park easily rather than waste time (and gas) driving around looking for them.
4. Carry your military, student, or senior ID.
There are so many places that will offer you a discount with either a military or student ID. It’s definitely worth asking too, if you have a valid ID.
If you’re a senior, there’s actually a senior discount card available that can help you save when you’re on vacation. You can learn about that at Life Of 2 Snowbirds.
5. Pack your own snacks.
I’m a big fan of snacking. I love to stop and grab a snack when I’m on vacation. But that can add up. So what I will do instead is purchase granola bars or loose nuts (and pack them in my own plastic bags), and put them in my purse before we head out for the day. Then, if I want a snack, I can reach in my purse instead of stopping into a store.
6. And bring your own beer.
I pack a lot of snacks for us to keep in the hotel room, like bags of chips, and then we also pack a cooler of beer. It’s so much cheaper to bring beer from the grocery store than stop at the closest gas station and pick up a six-pack.
If your hotel room has a fridge, that’s great because then you can just keep the beer in the fridge. If you didn’t book a room with a fridge, bring your own cooler for the beer. Then, when you get to the hotel, locate the ice machine and get enough to keep your beer cold.
7. Look for free activities.
When I’m planning a trip, I always look to see what’s free. Some areas have free museums, others have free distillery tours, and some cities have really great free parks. And if you’re planning a trip to our nation’s capital, there are so many free things to do in Washington, DC.
If you plan your trip and incorporate some free activities, you’ll have extra money to spend on the activities that you have to pay for.
8. Pay for attractions up front.
Before we went to Seattle, we ordered a CityPASS. That’s an attractions pass that you pay for before you visit a city. Purchasing one is a lot cheaper than purchasing admission individually for each attraction.
If you’re not planning on doing a lot of sightseeing on your trip, this might not be a way to go. But if you are, CityPASS is perfect.
And don’t forget about Groupon. You can search for things to do, everything from museums to mini golf, and find discounts on admission.
9. Pack your sunscreen.
There are so many little things that I keep in my purse at all times, like sunscreen. I don’t care if it’s winter, I still have my travel sunscreen in my purse. That’s mostly so I don’t get sunburn, but it’s also so I don’t have to pay for sunscreen when I’m on vacation. Sunscreen is one of those things that you sometimes forget. And, if you’re on vacation at a beach, the store’s know this so they jack up the price of suntan lotion. And here you are, spending way too much on it when you could have just brought your own from home.
10. Plan your meals ahead of time.
Whenever we go on vacation, I do a lot of hunting for the best restaurants in the area. I ask locals, check out Facebook groups, and ask people who have been there before us (that’s how we ended up at Rodney Scott’s in Charleston).
Once I have that decided, I look online at places like Restaurant.com to see if I can buy a certificate. If you can, that’s an easy way to save money on your meals.
What are some other money saving tips for when you’re traveling that you know about?