5 tips that seem obvious but are often forgotten or—even worse—ignored
Summer is the perfect time to explore. But when you’re planning all those warm-weather trips, you’ll see the costs start to add up fast. That doesn’t mean you need to cut back on your adventures, though. Instead, use these smart ways to save, and enjoy all those fun summer travel experiences without blowing your budget.
If you want to read some real-world experience on utilizing clever travel hacks, check out these 10 tips. Our writer saved a ton by using the Megabus, staying in hostels and more.
Budget Your Transportation—Sometimes, Flying or Traveling by Train Is Actually Cheapest
The most obvious form of transportation isn’t always the cheapest. When planning any summer trip, compare the prices of flying versus driving while taking into account the total costs. If you can score a great flight deal, you might actually save over that seemingly inexpensive road trip, especially if you have to stay at a hotel along the way. Another thing to consider is train travel. The costs can be quite affordable for certain routes, and you’ll get to enjoy the great scenery at the same time.
Once you reach your destination, you’ll also need to be a savvy spender when it comes to local transportation. Find out whether you can use cabs, Uber, Lyft or a rental car to save money. If it’s a big city, be adventurous and learn how to use the local bus or subway system. You can also rent bikes or find a place to stay within walking distance of the main attractions. With a little research, you can end up saving a ton on local transport.
Search for Travel Coupons
A quick search for discount codes or coupons can make a big difference when booking a trip. Great discounts are available for hotels, flights, rental cars and more that will help you save big when you travel. And thanks to online travel coupons, finding the right discounts for your destination is only a few clicks away.
In addition to coupons, don’t forget to ask about applicable discounts every step of the way on your trip. You can often save just by showing that you’re a student, senior, member of the military or a member of AAA or another group. These discounts are only applied if you ask, though, so if it doesn’t come up as an option when booking online, make a call to find out about the potential savings opportunities.
Pack Your Own Snacks or Look for Restaurant Coupons
It’s usually easy to budget for your transportation and accommodations because those are typically set costs. But the unexpected expenses, including food, can come as a shock during your summer travels. Offset that potential upset to your budget by making some food to take with you on the go. Lots of snacks and meals are easily transportable, allowing you to save a ton over buying pricey airport food or eating at a restaurant.
Also, download the free RetailMeNot app. We recently started stocking several discounts to fast-food chains and restaurants.
Score Discount Gift Cards
Another great way to save when you travel this summer is to buy discount gift cards in advance. For example, you might score a deal where you get a $50 gift card for $40. Multiply that by a few different cards and the savings really start to add up. Just make sure you limit your purchases to places where you know you’ll spend money on your trip. RetailMeNot has discount gift cards to places like Chili’s and On the Border. So check those offers out .
Skip the Tourist Traps and Find Free Entertainment
Beyond the food, transportation and accommodations, you’ll also want to save on having fun. That’s where free entertainment comes in. Before arriving at your destination, research what events will be going on while you’re there. In the summer, many cities and towns have free tours and festivals. You’ll likely find plenty of other places to have fun for free, such as the beach, local parks or museums on a free admission day.
If you want to see some of the city’s top attractions but the admission fees are daunting, find out if there is any type of local attractions pass you can purchase. This allows you to pay a flat rate that includes a significant discount when you visit multiple participating attractions.
With these budget-friendly tips, you’re ready to enjoy some fun summer travel without overspending. If you’re not sure where to head, check out our ideas for last-minute destinations, and start planning today to get the best bang for your buck on all of your trips!