With all the strategies to save money, traveling off-season would be the first recommendation. Airlines, hotels, and tour companies will almost always offer cheaper rates to attract customers. Destinations are less crowded and lines for major attractions are shorter.
If you are flexible on travel dates, fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. Morning or evening flights tend to be less popular and also offer lower rates. When purchasing your flights, book on a Sunday for the lowest fares. On Monday mornings, airlines increase the fares in order to fill seats. And don’t forget to sign up for those frequent-flier programs!
Sign up for hotel loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, Hilton HHonors, etc.). You’ll earn free nights and receive extra perks such as free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Book directly with the hotel, rather than a third-party, to find additional discounts. For significant savings, rent an apartment (homeaway.com is where we booked our recent Paris rental) or stay in a hotel with a kitchenette.
Register for last-minute travel e-mail blasts and remain flexible on dates for better rates. Two weeks in advance, airlines, hotels, and cruise ships will offer discounts if not fully booked.
Avoid taxis—walk, bike, or use public transportation. Taxi fares can add up quickly! If you are in a city for an extended period of time, consider purchasing a subway pass that gives you unlimited rides.
Pass on the upscale restaurants and hunt for street food. Exploring ethnic neighborhoods can also offer unique meals at affordable prices. Also, stay in a hotel that provides a complementary breakfast. It may be small but enough to start your day and treat yourself to a hearty lunch later.
Skip the hop on hop off sightseeing tours and opt for a free walking tour. You make a better connection with your destination and the local tour guides are extremely knowledgeable. Visit museums on free days or purchase passes.
Follow your destination’s tipping etiquette. Tipping in Europe isn’t as generous as in the United States. (Restaurants: 5 to 10 percent are normal in Europe. Taxis: round up to the next euro on the fare.)
(Disclosure: Burbs2Abroad was not compensated for this review. As always, our opinions are our own.)