Cutting costs while traveling can always be tough, but ultimately rewarding if you’re in it for the experience, not taking the comforts of home with you. Here are five ways you can slim down your expenses to leave more spending money without skimping too much—you’re on vacation, remember?
Cut down on lodging
Where you sleep could be costing you the bulk of your trip. If you don’t mind smaller digs or fewer amenities, downsize your hotel room or find a cheaper spot on the edge of town. (We say avoid hostels unless you’re a student or traveling with other guys. You know, if you want to keep your relationship.) You can also find a small bed and breakfast outside your destination city altogether. This method has some of the most noticeable drawbacks. If you need help finding a happy medium between price and utility, try using HotWire.com, which guarantees you both, but not a location.
Book at the right time
Timing the perfect airline booking is an art. Generally, midweek flights are the cheapest and can save you roughly 20 per cent. Save even more if you book your tickets roughly two months in advance—any earlier doesn’t matter, but any later and you’ll see ticket prices start to skyrocket. Also, pay attention to which season you’re booking in. Even if you’re planning on taking off this winter, booking in the summer (a busy period for plane ticket sales) will net you higher costs than if you wait until fall when they drop off.
Having company on vacation brings a social aspect to your adventure, not to mention the practical dimension of safety in numbers. However, a solo trip can help you discover yourself while spending less. Aside from minimizing travel and lodging costs, going alone makes you less likely to spend on wild nights out or lavish shopping trips that a group mentality may pressure you into. Plus, your budget will remain solely dependent on the activities you want to partake in.
Plan out your purchases
Speaking of which, there are several things people guys tend to waste money on that don’t end up being particularly cost-effective. One that springs to mind is busting your budget on beer for a night of revelry, which sounds great until the hangover takes up a whole day of vacation time. If you’re not into haute cuisine, you can also purchase groceries to prepare your own food. Take the money you don’t spend frivolously and spend it on experiences rather than items you can buy anywhere.
Forget what everybody else does
Thanks to technology and new apps, there are hundreds of new, convenient and downright weird ways to get your travel on. Some of these include home-swapping (which is exactly what it sounds like), couchsurfing and Airbnb. Most of these put regular people in touch with travelers, ensuring fairly decent rates and story-worthy experiences.