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! (But honestly, this stuff changes frequently so sign up for deal alerts on Airfare Watch Dog, Google Flights or Skyscanner.)
Sign up for hotel loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, Hilton HHonors, etc.). You’ll earn free nights and receive extra perks such as free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Some hotels even offer additional discounts by booking directly with the hotel, rather than a third-party.
Another option is renting a timeshare—not only are they typically cheaper than most hotels, but you get amenities you wouldn’t find with other forms of accommodation. A few places you can book these timeshares are on Booking.com or RedWeek.
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. Some great sites we frequent are Travelzoo and Groupon.
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 complimentary breakfast. It may be small but enough to start your day and treat yourself to a hearty lunch later.
On road trips or long day excursions we always pack lunches for the kids. You just never know what you are going to encounter or when we will be able to stop for a meal.
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 city passes (some city passes even include transportation!)
WHERE TO SPLURGE
It’s not really a vacation without some indulgences, right? What we do splurge on are experiences. If we are in a different part of the world, we want our children to leave with an appreciation for the culture and environment they’ve just visited.
But most importantly…we aim to connect as a family!
(Disclosure: Burbs2Abroad was not compensated for this review. As always, our opinions are our own.)