It feels like forever since I’ve packed a bag and gone somewhere. No weekend trips here or last minute adventures there. My normal nomadic life has been relatively routine and it’s a nice season. But that is all going to change soon enough. With two flights booked in May, I know I’ll be digging out my pre-packed skincare and prepping my trusty luggage for another journey. So between now and then, I’m making it a point to save money and gather all supplies. And today, I’m sharing all the tips and tricks I use to save money before & while I’m traveling.
Use A Flight Tracker
If I ever think I’m going to go somewhere, I always start with google flights. Skyscanner, skiplagged and monodo are great tools but I always like to give myself something to keep an eye on my options. Plus, I can keep an eye on flights out of a few airports. Now this may not work well if you’re last minute booking but if you have some time, I’d highly recommend tracking your flight. This means you can get the best price because you’re watching and knowing when it’s gone down. And it also gives you a fair idea of how much you’re going to pay in advanced which can help you plan your budget.
Discounted Airline Gift Cards
If you’ve been following along recently, you’ll know that I’m working to get my finances in top shape this year. For me, it means I’m doing my best to plan better and look ahead at my expenses. My best friend is getting married this year and I know I’ll need to purchase flights. One of the ways I’ve been saving for my upcoming flights is to buy discounted gift cards each paycheck. This works differently for every airline so be sure to check before you do it. But instead of paying $400 at one time for a flight, I’ve payed $96 for a $100 giftcard a few times. The savings is small but it guarantees I’m saving for my flight ahead of time. And that little bit extra I save can go towards in-flight wifi for some other perk.
Pack A Meal
Personally, I’m not too big on breakfast. I’ll happily eat a Go Marco bar or have a smoothie. So when I travel, I keep that routine with me. I always bring a few bars, some bags of tea and blender bottle with protein powder for my trips. Mostly, it’s a habit that helps give me a healthy option no matter where I am. But it’s also great for preventing me from spending $15 on a meal I’m not really going to enjoy. It’s also a great way to save yourself from spending extra money on room service or paying way too much for snacks from the mini-fridge. Every little bit counts so why not be prepared and it doesn’t take much to throw a few snacks in your suitcase. Plus, the worst thing that happens is you bring it home to eat later.
Travel can be incredibly rewarding and incredibly stressful. And half the fun in the adventure is finding places you didn’t know about when you get there. But a little bit of planning for what you’re going to do can add up to money saved over a long trip. I’m not saying you have to plan everything down to the minute. I know I won’t so I won’t expect that of you. However, I like to have an idea of the options in the area. So maybe instead of paying full price for a meal, I can get the same option with the happy hour price. Or instead of paying for each individual attraction, I can see if a citypass or ticket grouping will cover lots of the things I might want to do for less money. And hopefully with the extra cash, you can book those last minute musical tickets you scored or even get into some exhibit you didn’t know about. A little bit of planning ahead can give you the freedom to do more while you’re on your adventure.
When I say be flexible, I mean with more than just your itinerary. If you want to save money for traveling, some times that means being flexible with your travels. For one of my flights in May, I have 6am flight returning on a Sunday morning. Am I looking forward to flying that early? Nope. But do I acknowledge that I’m saving also $100 by doing it? You bet. Be flexible with your options. Some times that means picking a not so awesome flight so that you’re getting reward points you use later with an airline. Or maybe there’s a cheaper time to see a show but that means switching around your schedule. Being open to changes and setting priorities can be the key to helping you save money. Instead of picking the later flight and spending the extra money, I’m saving that $100 to put towards my next flight. Remember that small things can add up. And being flexible will help you get there.
Wherever you find yourself traveling this year, I hope these tips help you save a little extra cash. What are some of your favorite ways to save money when traveling? I’d love to hear your tips as well! Be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know.