Traveling is good for the soul and while I think you should travel as much as possible, traveling can cost a pretty penny. From my hotel & hospitality background, and the traveling I’ve done since I was young, I have figured out some ways to save some money so you are able to get out there and travel the world! Here are some of my money-saving tips to keep in mind the next time you’re planning a trip:
1. Plan Ahead
Pick a date far enough away to give yourself time to save. By planning ahead, you are able to save money on flights & rooms, and can put a percentage of your paycheck away leading up to your trip. I have figured out that the best prices for flights are usually about 50 days away from when you want to depart, and Googling “Flight from __ to __” gave me the best prices. I also like to do my research and double check sites like CheapFlights or Skyscanner just to make sure I’m getting the best deal.
2. Have Flexible Dates
By planning ahead, you are able to be more flexible with your dates. I have found that being flexible really comes in handy. I always like to start with my ideal travel dates, but check up to 3 days before and after to see if I can save some extra money. I have also found that booking a rental car with your flight (should you need one) can save you money as well!
3. Travel with Friends
Traveling with friends is so much fun and can really help save a good chunk of change. I did this one year on my birthday with a group of girlfriends and it was a blast. We all split the cost of the room and were able to get something a little nicer. We booked a room with two beds, so all four of us fit perfectly. Even if it gets a little crowded, the money you save in the end will be totally worth it.
4. Hotel Reservation
I used to manage a hotel on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and always suggest booking your rooms directly through the hotel. This way, you can get all the details and make sure that where you’re staying is exactly what you want. However, I also suggest using sites like Booking.com and TripAdvisor to find deals. Almost 100% of the time, the hotel will match the rate that they’re offering on the third party site because they would rather not give up the commission. I have also been able to do this with Groupon. Groupon is usually one of the sites with the lowest rates so I always like to check there before booking, as well. One thing I will say, is always check the hotels cancellation fee. A lot of hotels change their cancellation during peak season and you don’t want to be penalized for having to change your dates. If you’re looking for something larger than a hotel room, but don’t want to pay for a suite, opt for an AirBnB.
PS – if you have friends that live in a place you’ve never been, ask them if you can come and visit. This way you can see a new place without the heavy cost of a hotel room.
5. Restaurant Reservations
Eating out can really start to add up, so I usually like to hit the local grocery store for snacks, beverages, and breakfast items to keep in the room. However, when you travel, you have to dine out and experience the food (my favorite part of traveling!). While I was managing the hotel I used to work for, I did a lot of concierge work and would book restaurant reservations for our guest’s using OpenTable. Each time you book a reservation, you earn 100 points, and sometimes during slower times you can earn 1000! I always offer to book reservations for my family and friends, too so that my points add up. Once you reach certain goals, you can cash in your points for an OpenTable dining check or gift card. Use this check at any of the restaurants on OpenTable and it’ll pay for some or most of your meal!
I hope this helps, and of course I love to see the places you visit, so tag me on Instagram @alyssakipper and/or leave a comment below with some of your travel tips!