How to Save Money While Traveling

By Michelle Yastremsky

Travel may be the only thing you buy that makes you richer (in experience!), but it still couldn’t hurt to save a buck or two while traveling.

Here are twelve tips to help you save money while traveling; use your newly saved funds to start saving for your next vacation!

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Take Advantage of Free Museum Days

There are plenty of free things to do in every country and city! For example, the Louvre in Paris offers free admission for all visitors on Sundays from October to March. Just by doing a little research before your trip, you can find out about what days offer lower rates! Additionally, many museums offer discounted admission for visitors under 18, seniors, students and teachers.
Check the museum websites to find out what days or times these are, but keep in mind waiting times may be longer during these popular periods.

Buy a City Pass

If you’re planning on visiting a variety of sites and landmarks, consider picking up a city pass to help do so. City passes offer tremendous savings, and usually come with additional benefits such as skip-the-line entrance, access to a sightseeing bus, access to public transportation, and a hefty discount book for all other needs. You can purchase these cards at the local tourism office

Use Your Student IDs

Have a student ID? Don’t forget to pack it! Most cultural establishments (and sometimes even restaurants) will offer discounts if you can present your ID, so slip it in your wallet and start racking up savings.

Eat at Expensive Restaurants for Lunch

So you really want to eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant, but looking at the menu is giving you a small heart attack. Never fear! You can still eat at fancy restaurants, but instead of going for dinner, try lunch! Many times restaurants will offer the same or slightly altered menu for lunch at a lower price. That means you can still indulge in foie gras and caviar, but at a price you’re more comfortable with.

Utilize Credit Card Benefits

Simply having a specific card can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars, and give you access to free food, insurance, or stays! Here is a list of common credit card perks – check before you go to see what benefits yours offers.

  • No international fees
  • Free withdrawals (no ATM fees)
  • Rental Car insurance
  • Access to VIP areas in airports (free food!)

Make the Best of Breakfast

Is breakfast included in your stay? Don’t sleep on it! Not only can you try a variety of the local specialties, but why not grab a snack or two to help you stay fueled throughout the day? Fruit, packaged treats, or even hard-boiled eggs are easy to grab on your way out and can help you stay full without having to impulse buy overpriced snacks.

Take a Pay-What-You-Want Walking Tour

Introductory walking tours are a great way to get acquainted with a location, and most major cities will have companies offering “free” (pay-what-you-want) tours.

Use Public Transportation

Skip expensive taxis and take public transportation! If you plan on traveling to Europe, you’re in luck because every major European city has excellent subways, trams and buses that will take you where you need to go. If you don’t want to use public transportation, check to see if Uber or Lyft is active in your destination. (And if you’re going to Paris, check out our helpful guide to navigating the metro!)

Avoid High Currency Exchange Fees

First rule of travel: never exchange currency at the airport. Instead, find a bank or see if your hotel concierge has a currency exchange. You will also get one of the best exchange rates by withdrawing money directly from your debit card at an ATM, but keep in mind any surcharges you may encounter.

Bring Snacks for the Flight

Simply spending time in an airport can get expensive; between drinks, snacks, and duty-free shopping, your airport time almost requires an additional budget. Pack smart so you can save room for snacks! Cut down on costs by bringing your own treats for the ride, as well as an empty water bottle that you can refill once you are past security.

Find Local Markets

Another way to save money on food is to find local markets. Markets all over the world, from Borough Market in London to Paloquemao in Bogota, offer tasty treats that are easy on the wallet. Heading to a local market for lunch or even dinner will save you major bucks and give you an authentic taste of your destination. Plus, you can pick up items like fruit or nuts to keep you full and happy throughout your trip.

Buy a Vacation Package vs Booking Independently

Booking an air-inclusive vacation package rather than booking each part individually can actually save you a hefty sum. Companies are able to offer better rates when you buy a vacation package, so use that savings and treat yourself to a decadent meal or artisan souvenir, instead.

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