Traveling can get expensive fast, especially if your young family is in tow.
Between the price of airfare, gas, meals, accommodations, and site tickets, each trip can do some damage to your wallet. Thankfully, at every point you have to spend money, there’s a chance to save a little bit of money if you know where to look. In this article, we’ll offer 10 of our veteran traveler’s tips for saving money while you’re on the go.
Book Early, Prepare Early
If you plan to fly, go to a concert, visit a museum, go on a tour, take a boat, rent a hotel room, or rent a car for your journey, do so as far in advance as possible. Booking far in advance gives you the greatest savings without giving you the anxiety of the hunt for last-minute super deals.
Make lists of what stuff you’ll need to buy, and check everything off your packing lists. Making careful preparations beforehand ensures that you won’t need to spend extra money replacing items that you should have had with you in the first place.
That includes items like entertainment, too. If you’d rather have your kids enjoying the scenery than looking at their phones, make preparations for that, too.
Map Out Cheap Spots For Gas And Food
This goes hand in hand with booking and preparing early, but for road trips, it’s worth a separate entry. If you’ve planned out your road trip route, you should also be able to roughly map out when your car will need gas. It’s often worth going a few extra miles out of the way to get a discounted rate on fuel.
The same goes for rest stops and snack stops. If you spend the time before departure to map out potential places to stop, you won’t get trapped into going to an immediately convenient but more expensive place when your youngest child starts to get hungry.
Carry A Multitool
Carrying a multitool in the travel kit may seem like overkill, but multitools can be invaluable when you need tools in a pinch. For everything from whittling a couple of impromptu mementos to fixing eyeglasses, a multitool will make your life much easier and allow you to save money when you use it to repair things that you’d have to replace otherwise.
Don’t Get Star Struck By Main St
Your family has finally arrived at your destination’s center area, and everyone is taking in the surroundings. Everyone has brand new ideas about where to go—maybe that restaurant over there, or that candy stand there—but a bottle that enthusiasm for a few minutes to explore.
The areas in the very center of most destinations are the most touristy, and the most expensive. They are also the most eye-catching. You can easily save a dollar here or thereby limiting your patronage to those who are willing to travel a little bit further or dig into the area a little bit deeper than the surface.
Check Out the Library
If you’re interested in taking a tour, visiting a museum, or going to a local show, see if there’s a local library. Libraries are great hubs of insider info on areas, and they’ll have free maps, computers you don’t have to pay to use, and other information, too. Libraries are a great place to recharge your devices and your family for free, in peace.
Most local libraries have passes that you can take out that get you into popular events, and totally for free. You may need to sign up for a new library card to reap the benefits of the library, but that’ll be free, too.
Use Public Transportation
Using public transportation can be cheaper than driving around and parking in expensive parking lots, depending on where you’re traveling. Check the cost of a transit pass for each member of your family compared to the cost of parking the car—sometimes children under 12 are allowed in for a free or reduced rate.
Walking is a great way to explore a new area because it’s free and good exercise. Not all areas are walkable, but when possible, walking can save a lot of cash.
Pick Your Snacks Carefully
Not all snacks are created equally priced. Local snacks like ice cream or hot pretzels are all well and good and can be inexpensive. Other local snacks like poutine or corndogs are more expensive and require additional condiments which you’ll often have to pay an additional fee to enjoy.
Follow the Locals
As always, the locals of a given destination typically know how to save the most money. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask locals for restaurant suggestions at a certain price point. If you notice other tourists heading into one particular shop but local people heading to a different one, follow the locals—you’ll often find that locals gravitate toward the best deals as well as the best products.
Use the Internet
The biggest single tool that you have as a traveler is the Internet. Use the Internet at every phase of your trip: planning, traveling, and when you’re at your destination. Check out which areas are cheaper than others, which places might be scams, and what local customs are a bit different than what you’re used to.
Using the internet to price check the things you see while at your destination will allow you to skim money that you’d otherwise lose to ignorance, which makes it completely invaluable.
That sums up our tips on how to save money while you’re on your next expedition. In short, plan frugally, and you’ll have a frugal trip. Don’t be afraid to get lost on a new journey, just make sure that you look for cost savings using all the tools at your disposal and keep your eye out for opportunities to blend in with the locals.