Strategies for Saving Money While You Travel Without Being on a Strict Budget

Vacations are a time to relax and indulge. However, that indulgence comes with a price, and sticker shock can quickly spoil the mood. There are ways to keep costs reasonable without sacrificing fun, guaranteeing the best of both worlds. Below are some cost-cutting suggestions.

Vacation Rental

One of the biggest expenses on any trip is paying for a place to stay. Finding a vacation rental, rather than paying for a hotel, can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a week or two. This is even truer for families or larger groups looking to rent multiple rooms. 

Additionally, a cute rental can also lead to a more authentic local experience, and it often provides far more living and outdoor space than a single hotel room. When searching for painless saving opportunities, this may top the list.

Minimize Restaurant Meals

Exploring local food can be one of the most fun parts of a trip, but not every meal needs to take place in a sit down restaurant. Street food, treats from a local bakery, and even food from the neighborhood grocery stores are all ways to sample the local cuisine without breaking the bank. A vacation rental with a kitchen makes this even simpler, and will mean additional savings. Even better, that money can be put towards a few truly superb restaurant meals, rather than just three mediocre meals each day.

Public Transportation

Using public transportation means saving money on rental cars, fuel, and parking. It also doesn’t need to feel like a compromise, but rather like another way to experience local life authentically. The trick is to do enough research to know when a particular trip is more trouble than it’s worth—for example, when a destination requires multiple subway or train changes to reach, or is nowhere near a bus stop or train station. However, when feasible, public transportation can mean big savings.

Low-Cost Local Sights

Museums, national parks, and historic monuments are generally free or fairly affordable, and are an excellent way to explore the history and geography of any given place. While there may be some more costly tours also worth taking, mixing in more frugal outings as well will result in money left over for future vacations.

Overall, it can be easy and painless to cut costs on vacation. The trick is to pick your battles. Have one nice meal a day in a restaurant, while enjoying the rest in a park or in your temporary home. Take a scenic bus, rather than a taxi or rental car, or visit the local museum rather than paying for a more costly private tour. These cost savings tips will save money without costing any enjoyment.

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