Save money on travel with these great budget travel tips and tricks. With everything from saving money on airport parking fees by using Park ‘N Fly to finding the best hotel rates, these tips for budget travel will help you take those amazing trips without breaking the bank.
About once a week someone asks me how do you travel so much? Isn’t it expensive?
The short answer is, it can be. The longer answer is that it doesn’t have to be if you’re smart about it. There are so many ways to save money on travel these days, it’s possible to travel the world without breaking the bank.
I can’t go into every single way there is to save money so I’m going to focus on my top six budget travel tips, tips that work for any trip regardless of where you’re going.
Budget Travel Tips & Tricks
Budget Travel Tip #1: Bring Your Own Food
This one may seem obvious but not many people do it. Airport and airplane food is expensive. Eat a big meal at home before you head to the airport and bring your own snacks along for the flight. It’s a big money saver, especially if you’re traveling with an entire family who all wants a $10 burger and fries at the airport. And don’t forget to bring empty water bottles, a lot of airports have water fountains or restaurants that will give you a cup of ice water you can transfer to your water bottle after you go through security.
Budget Travel Tip #2: Use Park ‘N Fly Airport Parking
Obviously the cheapest thing to do would be to get someone to drop you off and pick you up at the airport but when the airport is far away or the flight times (aka 6AM) are just terribly inconvenient, leaving your car near the airport is a better option. Most airports these days have pretty expensive airport parking and a great way to save on easy airport parking is to park at a nearby Park ‘N Fly instead.
Not only is Park ‘N Fly Airport Parking typically the less expensive option, parking at Park ‘N Fly instead of a remote airport parking lot also comes with the following perks:
- Being able to reserve your spot online ahead of time so you know you have a spot (and save money booking online!)
- You can prepay for your parking ahead of time, making it faster to get parked and get home after your trip
- They pick you up and drop you off right at your car so you don’t have to haul luggage to a shuttle spot
- They make sure you get to your car safe (I love this since I travel alone so often)
- Their drivers will help you with luggages, perfect for families traveling with kids and lots of bags
- Many lots offer special services like car washes, oil changes, pet boarding, and more while you fly
- With a new mobile app and website launching in July, parking at Park ‘N Fly will be easier than ever.
Park ‘N Fly is celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017, 50 years of great service and happy customers like Alisia Eliott who actually met her husband at a Park ‘N Fly in this romantic parking lot love story. That’s a great one to tell the kids years later! And for customers who fly often, Park ‘N Fly has a great Frequent Parker Loyalty Program that gives you one free day of parking for every seven paid. I’ll definitely be taking advantage for our 17 day Europe trip in May, that’s two free nights of parking! Pretty sure the actual airport parking lots aren’t going to give you free nights no matter how long you stay!
Budget Travel Tip #3: Book Travel Ahead of Time
There are two sides of this coin – either book travel ahead of time or book travel last-minute using last-minute deals. I’m all for the booking travel ahead of time if you know where you’re going to go and when, especially if there is say only one good itinerary for your trip. For instance, I’m headed out on a Royal Caribbean cruise this coming Sunday and there is only one non-stop flight that works time wise for getting us in before the ship leaves on Sunday and that gets us home on Sunday after the ship returns. When I looked at the flight a couple of weeks ago, it was about $200. One week later, the flight had jumped to $700 because there are only so many seats on said flight.
If your travel plans are more flexible, waiting and getting last-minute discount fares can also be a great option. But if it’s not flexible, I recommend booking ahead of time for as much as you can when you see a good price on your ideal trip. There are also often discounts when you book a certain number of days in advance like the London trains we’re taking in May – they have discounts for 90 days, 30 days, and even 14 days in advance. And the discounts are significant, especially when traveling with a large group.
Budget Travel Tip #4: Book Direct
I mentioned before that I love to look at discount travel sites to get an idea of prices and good deals that are going on. But I very rarely actually book anything through a discount site. When I find a deal, I always go and book directly through the site if possible. If the deal isn’t listed on their site or isn’t available for some reason, I’ll contact the place directly to see if they’d be willing to price match the discount site. Often times the discount sites take a cut of the sales, so I’ve found that hotels, attractions, spas, etc. are normally happy to meet the price to keep all the sales themselves.
Often times I’ve found that booking direct actually gives you extra perks, such as getting a free breakfast or free parking included if you book direct. This has definitely been true as I’ve been booking hotels for our Europe trip – discounts for booking direct and booking nonrefundable rates ahead of time.
Budget Travel Tip #5: Get a Travel Rewards Card
I won’t go into a lot of detail on this one because I already did in my post about why I love the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card but if you want to travel cheap, I’d definitely look into the various travel rewards cards out there. You can get free miles, flights, discount cards, and more just by paying for things you normally buy with your credit card. I’d say half of my flights every year are booked using my Southwest Rapid Rewards points. These are 10 of the best travel card reward offers going on right now.
Budget Travel Tip #6: Try Out Rentals Instead of Hotels
There are so many budget friendly lodging options these days. Try one of those instead of a hotel when travel, especially if you’re traveling with a large group that would need multiple hotel rooms. Use these tips to pick the perfect vacation rental for a large family or these tips for getting the best Airbnb rental to make sure you’re getting the best rental at the best price!
And there you go – all of the ways that I’m able to travel around the world regularly without completely clearing out my bank account. What are your best budget travel tips and tricks?