From airfare to hotels, to meals, to attraction fees, vacations can really start to add up. Being frugal shouldn’t have to mean missing out on fun vacation activities, which is why we put together some budget travel hacks to save you hundreds! You will be able to do all the things you want to do on your bucket list while saving money at the same time!
Saving on the small things will start to add up throughout your vacation, so don’t take them lightly! Any dollar saved is helpful!
For more in-depth detail on saving money on flights, learn the 123 method of finding cheap flights!
We hope these tips will help make your vacation more affordable, no matter where you are visiting! Continue reading for more on budget travel hacks to save you hundreds!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Fly in/out of other airports
Our first budget travel tip to save you hundreds involves being frugal with which airport you choose to fly from. There are many best hacks airports don’t want you to know, that can help save you money.
First and foremost, consider flying into or out of different airports. For example, we used to live close to the Canadian border and would fly out of the Toronto airports all the time. This would save us almost 50% on our airfare, just for a couple of hours drive!
See what airports are close to you, and see what the price difference is. Keep in mind depending on the time of your flights, you might have to stay a night, so factor that into your costs to see if it is actually a good deal.
Try looking at different airports when flying back home as well. A simple hour or two drive could save you hundreds! Again, be mindful of how much you would be saving, and if it is worth it to drive out of your way.
Booking cheap flights
One way of finding cheap flights is to be flexible with your dates and potential destinations. Our cheap flight guide walks you through a simple 1-2-3 method to finding the cheapest flights available!
Consider booking through Expedia for the BEST deals. Flights are typically always the cheapest when purchased through Expedia, and we use them for pretty much every vacation we ever take!
An additional tip when finding cheap flights is to clear your cookies and website history between searches, or search flights in a private tab. This will prevent prices from increasing on flights you are eyeing.
Additionally, spend some time searching for the best flight options. This could mean waiting to book for weeks or even months, while you wait for the best deal to come up!
Another budget travel tip to save you hundreds that we use frequently involves saving on airport parking costs.
Instead of parking directly at the airport, consider parking at a nearby hotel with free parking. Book a night’s stay at the hotel, and take advantage if they have a free airport shuttle.
If you do choose to park at the airport, no worries! Book with Park N’ Fly, as they tend to be the cheapest and have lots of discounts!
This is perhaps the most important budget travel tip to save you hundreds. Planning ahead can save so much money, and give you less stress!
Before traveling, make an itinerary of what you will do each day. Consider researching free things to do in the area to add to your list.
If attractions or anything you want to do costs money, you can purchase ahead of time by researching to find the cheapest ticket costs. Tickets at the door might cost more, so this is a must-do!
Additionally, creating an itinerary will allow you to fit as much into your schedule as possible, so you can see all the things you want. This is also helpful because many churches and attractions internationally are closed on different days, so check opening times as well during your planning.
If you are looking for a great travel planning guide, sign up for emails with My World Sights, and receive a free template!
Meals & Restaurants
Eating at restaurants for every meal can start to add up on vacation. Consider cooking your own food if your hotel/Airbnb/hostel has a kitchen.
However, if you’re like me, I like to eat at local restaurants to get a feel for the culture. And, you’re on vacation- who wants to cook?!
To save costs on dining, make lunch your biggest meal, and have a small snack later at night. Lunch menu prices are typically a lot cheaper than dinner prices. Plus, you might have leftovers you can eat later anyway!
If you do go out to dinner, consider sharing a plate with your partner or friend. Dinner plates are typically much larger, and can feed 2! However, some places abroad the plates are smaller than in the US, so take that into consideration as well if sharing. You may also have to pay a mall fee to share a plate, so be on the lookout for that!
Additionally, restaurants near major attractions tend to be more expensive, so do some exploring and find a restaurant hidden away.
Repeat after me: water is free!
There is no reason you should ever be paying for water on vacation. Simply buy a collapsible water bottle for easy packing, and carry it with you everywhere you go.
Many cities have free water fountains where you can fill up your water bottle for free.
Eating at a restaurant? Ask for water (make sure you ask for still or tap water), and pour it into your bottle before you leave.
Shops can charge upwards of $5 for a water bottle, and this can easily add up throughout your trip. Save money and stay hydrated by having your own water bottle!
Read more on other useful gifts for frequent travelers.
Most churches and sacred temples, attractions, or even restaurants require dress codes for visitors.
This often includes covering your shoulders. There are usually pop up shops around the area selling shawls for tourists, but be prepared and save money with buying your own scarf ahead of time!
They are small enough to carry in a day bag, and you can buy one you actually like instead of being forced to buy any old scarf quickly.
Use public transportation
Another budget travel tip to save you hundreds involves using public transport as much as possible.
Most major cities in the world have great public transportation now. Take advantage of subways and trains, instead of renting a car or taking taxis/Ubers. Plus, instead of driving, you won’t have to stress about finding parking, getting lost, or getting into an accident.
This is one common travel mistake we learned the hard way. Renting a car in London was not a good idea. We’ll just leave it as that!
Bring your student ID
Do you still look a little bit like your student ID photo? Bring it with you!
Many restaurants and attractions offer discounts to visitors who have a student ID. Ask if there are student discounts before purchasing, and who knows! You could save 10% for practically doing nothing!
We have found exchanging currency to be much cheaper when done through an ATM.
You may also want to ask your bank ahead of time if they have international credit cards. This will save you on exchanging fees and fees when using your card abroad.
It also may be helpful to inform your bank ahead of time if you are traveling internationally, so your card doesn’t get declined or locked.
Additionally, if you do not want to travel with all your bank cards, take a picture of cards you will take at home. You never know if you will need to use that card, and in case of emergencies you will have your bank information.
Avoid bag checking fees
In our experience, we never check luggage. However, it is understandable if you need to if taking a long trip.
Avoid hefty charges for checking bags by simply packing everything into your carry on! Here are some essential packing tips every traveler should know.
Another tip you can try is if you are worried your carry on bag is too big, wait to check it until you get to the gate. Often times, they will check it for free!
Avoid roaming charges
Our last budget travel tip to save you hundreds involves saving money on data plans.
If you are traveling internationally, make sure your cell phone has a data plan to avoid hidden fees and charges.
We have found buying a daily data plan is cheaper than a monthly plan, especially for shorter trips.
Check with your cell phone provider and see what your options are!
Thank you for reading budget travel hacks to save you hundreds! What do you do to save money while traveling? Leave a comment below!