It doesn’t matter where you go, traveling is expensive. Even people who are normally really good at managing their money can get caught up in the whirlwind of travel and find themselves spending way more than they wanted to spend. How do you keep yourself from getting caught in that trap? How do you make sure that your trip doesn’t leave you bankrupt (and unable to take your next trip)?
Budget, Budget, Budget
You do know how to create a basic budget, right—that thing that itemizes your bills and expenses and plots out how your paycheck should be spent? It’s important to make one of those for your travels too. Figure out how much you can afford to spend before you go and make as many of the travel arrangements as you can ahead of time—the more things you figure out before you go (hotel, transportation, etc) the less likely you’ll be to splurge on something simply because you’re tired or not paying attention.
There are lots of great credit offers out there for travelers. For people who travel, compare the best credit cards with travel rewards. Look for things like points that you can put toward airline tickets or hotel stays. Use this card just for travel and do your best to pay it off between trips. This way you can beef up your travel budget and your credit rating at the same time.
Work a Little Harder
Taking on a few extra jobs or working some extra hours before you take your trip makes it easier to afford to have fun while traveling. It also helps you better appreciate the time you’re taking away from your normal daily grind.
Leave the Beaten Path
Staying and eating at the places meant for tourists and travelers is automatically more expensive than aiming for the sites usually reserved for locals. Staying a few blocks (or even miles) away from the main things you want to see can help you save massive amounts of money. Use the local newspaper or Yelp page (they’re everywhere now) to help you find affordable restaurants that won’t give you food poisoning.
Befriend the Locals
Having friends who live locally is a fantastic way to stretch your budget. They’ll help you find the cheap places to eat and visit—maybe they’ll even take you in for a “home cooked” meal or two, which is definitely in your budget’s best interest.
Save money by visiting grocery stores and making your own meals. Take public transportation instead of taxis. Consult the web and buy a travel guide instead of taking official tours.
These are just some of the ways that you can save money both while planning your trip and while you are traveling. What are some of the best ways you’ve found to save a few pounds while hitting the road (or the skies)?