5 Easy Ways To Save Money While You’re Traveling, Because I've Been There, Done That
You're likely aware of the fact that traveling can be pretty expensive. Hotels, flights, activities, and tours tend to add up real quick, and even if you can save up enough to take the trip, you still have to think of the money you'll be spending once you arrive at your destination. I'm on the road for at least half of the year, and on a plane at least every other week, which can put a serious dent in my back account. Over time, I've figured out some easy ways to save money while you're traveling that really carry me through my trips.
It's definitely challenging to keep your spending in check when you're on the road, but these tips and tricks help me stay a little more money conscious. A huge thing to keep in mind is that convenience can often mean more expense, so things like ride service apps and room service should be avoided as much as possible.
Needless to say, if you're taking any trips in the near future and want to figure out how to stay within your travel budget, try following a few of these rules that I set for myself that actually work. Happy travels!
1. Skip The Room Service
Food is usually my biggest expense whenever I'm traveling. While room service is convenient and can work when I'm rushing (or in an area where there aren't many restaurants within walking distance), it's usually way more expensive than any other food option that's available.
As much as possible, I try to avoid ordering room service if I can. It can be so easy to rack up a huge hotel bill if you keep saying, "Just charge it to my room." Instead, I research cheap places to eat around my hotel, or even ones that require a little bit of a walk. It's a great way to explore the city's culture and get out of the hotel a bit.
2. Consider Choosing One Meal A Day To Splurge On
Along the same lines, I try to keep my food spending to a minimum by only splurging on one more expensive meal a day. For example, if I want to check out a really fancy brunch place, then I'll stick to more affordable options for the other meals that day. I like this system, because it also allows me to try out a ton of different foods, which is one of my favorite parts about traveling (especially internationally).
3. Withdraw A Certain Amount Of Cash, And Use That As Your Spending Money Budget
I have found that if I keep whipping out my debit card while I'm traveling, I can't actually keep track of how much I'm spending. Instead, I withdraw cash from an ATM (say, $200 for the week) so that I don't have to convert my currency, and so that I can completely keep track of my spending money.
This trick helps me set a budget that I'm able to stick to. I use this toward souvenirs, shopping, snacks (I'm a sucker for street food and fruit stands), and little expenses like a ferry ride or bathroom fee. I still end up using my debit card for bigger purchases, but I use the cash as my miscellaneous spending money.
4. Know What Kind Of Souvenir You Want To Get Before You Go
Souvenirs can also be a huge expense for me on trips, especially when I'm not being conscious of what I'm spending my money on. What I try to do is list out what I actually want to buy ahead of time. This sometimes takes a bit of research to see what kinds of handicrafts are popular in that country, so I can make sure that I buy something that's authentic to that destination.
I know some people love collecting shot glasses or keychains, which are relatively inexpensive. For me, unfortunately, I love collecting jewelry, which can run on the pricier side. I pick up dainty necklaces and handmade bracelets through my travels, and even though they can be expensive, knowing what my expenses are going to be ahead of time allows me to budget accordingly.
5. Try To Limit The Extras, Like Coffee And Cocktails
Unsurprisingly, things like coffee, Insta-worthy cocktails, and ride apps add to my expenses when I'm traveling. And while those extras can make my trip even more enjoyable and convenient, they definitely start to add up and make it difficult for me to stick to my travel budget.
As much as possible, I skip the lavish cocktails, and I walk or take public transportation so I don't have to use a ride app. (I'm personally not a coffee drinker, so I can avoid that expense, but I know that a lot of people tend to spend money on it when they're traveling.)