When you travel for work or for leisure, you will always encounter unexpected expenses. Travel is also getting more and more expensive for many around the world, as a result of downtrodden economies and skyrocketing gas prices. However, there are many ways that you can save money and steps to take when you travel on any budget, even the tightest one.
Eat food from the grocery store, instead of going out to eat.
When you go out to restaurants, especially in other countries where the exchange rate may not be in your favor, you usually end up spending more than expected. This also goes for alcohol as well. Drinking out at restaurants and bars adds up very fast, and when you are drinking, you are also likely to spend more money on other things.
Do your research.
Comparing your trip options before and during your travel will ensure that you are knowledgeable about the prices of fare and amenities, and that you will not pay more than you need to for something. Researching your different options will also help you decide more easily which one is the right one for your budget and travel needs.
Find alternate modes of transportation.
In many countries, it is often much less expensive, not to mention more interesting, to find alternate modes of transportation to the standard rental car or taxi. For example, if you take the trains instead of flying in Europe, you not only get to see more of the sites, but you save a ton of money. In England, taking the public bus and looking for options like Megabus rather than the tube, high speed rail, or underground subways is much less expensive. Megabus also operates in the United States and Canada.
Buy your tickets in advance and on certain days of the week.
Buying your airline or bus tickets right when you know your travel dates will not only make sure that you actually get a ticket for your trip, but will also most likely save you up to hundreds of dollars. This is especially true for long distance travel and trips overseas, since airline tickets to other countries usually start off at around 400-600 dollars a year before the travel date, but then often increase to over 1,000 dollars within the months leading up to the pane’s takeoff.
This is also often true with cruises and other forms of overseas travel- as space gets more limited on the vessel, demand for tickets increases. Thus, the operators can charge more per ticket. Many travel agents also believe that buying tickets on Wednesdays gives travelers lower rates. It is certainly true that if you are departing or returning on a high traffic day, such as Friday or Sunday, your ticket prices are going to be much higher.
Check your accounts.
It may sound like common sense, but many people forget to check their accounts often when they are on vacation, especially if they feel comfortable with the budget they have afforded themselves. However, especially in foreign countries, it is easier to lose track of how much you actually have in your account than most people think. There is also a chance that you have been charged extra fines that you might not know about. For example, maybe your card got three times for that bus pass instead of one. You will never know unless you check, and if you wait until the time you get back home, it may be too late to get your money back.
If you are travelling, especially if you are on vacation, it is difficult to keep track of your expenses. However, cutting travel costs and paying close attention to your finances when you travel will help you travel more in the future, and keep your trip from becoming a financial detriment. Better to come back with extra than in debt.
Ellen Cho travels extensively from her home base in Seattle and is devoted to keeping costs low, from Seattle airport parking to an affordable Singapore hotel.