Last week Alex shared 8 Ways To Save Money While Traveling and today she’s sharing 6 more frugal tips for traveling on a budget. She’s got a lot of very useful and insightful money-saving tips.
Alexandra Baackes is an enthusiastic diver and underwater videographer, as well as an on-land writer and designer. She blogs about travel, diving, and living in South East Asia at Alex in Wanderland. You can find her on Twitter talking about fast food cravings and wanderlust at @WanderlandAlex.
Attractions and activities are the reason I travel, so this is often where a huge portion of my personal travel budget goes. Luckily I’ve picked up some tips and tricks along the way to save cash wherever possible.
1. Book Ahead Online
Major attractions like museums, amusement parks, zoos and aquariums often have discounts for booking online ahead of time. When I visited Scotland, I knew I wanted to go to the Edinburgh Zoo. By booking tickets online I was able to pay £27.90 ($43.73) for two adult tickets rather than the £31.00 ($48.59) it would have cost me at the door. It may only be under $5, but I never turn my nose up at a 10% savings! Bonus tip: If the online booking form has a place to input discount codes, do a quick online search to see what you can find. You just might get lucky and save even more!
2. Flash Your Student Card
Especially in Europe, student discounts pop up all over the place. The same zoo mentioned in the scenario above would have gone down to £26 ($40.75) had we both been students. So if you are a student or are traveling with one, make sure the ID comes along to!
Don’t just think of students in the traditional sense of high school or college. When my mom was taking a continuing education class at a local university she flashed her ID all over the place for discounts.
3. Check For The Free Days
If you are traveling domestically, many museums across the US offer free museum days. For example, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is free every Thursday from 5-8pm, while the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is free on Fridays from 4-8pm. Considering the MOMA’s $20 admission fee, a little bit of research can equal big savings! It’s not just museums, either: The Bronx Zoo is free all day on Wednesdays. Look carefully at price lists- certain museums in the US, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, both in New York City, actually have suggested donation fees rather than firm prices. Give what you can. Bonus Tip: When traveling abroad, even museums that never offer free admission may offer free tours on certain days of the week. Do a bit of research ahead of time!
A souvenir can be something local, handmade, and special that is treasured for decades. Or, it can be pieces of plastic junk that end up cluttering up the house for years. I think in general, it’s the ladder. I keep a few general guidelines about shopping when I travel.
4. If It’s Not Local, Don’t Buy It
Travel is a bit of an indulgence in itself, and when indulging in one area it can be hard not to indulge in another. But don’t let yourself go wild shopping for things you can easily get back home if you decide you want them outside of happy-travel-time. When I was in the Cayman Islands I bypassed the cruise ship terminals selling designer bags I could get in a mall back home and instead brought home some local rum instead.
5. Don’t Let Kids Drain The Budget
I don’t have children, but the amount of souvenir stuff I see marketed towards those of munchkin age tells me this is a major draw. You’re on vacation, who wants to be the mean parent saying “no” all the time? When we went on family trips as a kid my parents gave my sister and I a small “souvenir allowance.” Once that was gone, it was gone, no matter how hard we begged for another pair of Mickey Mouse ears.
6. Make An Exception
There is one exception to my usual hard line against shopping while traveling. If I am in a destination where goods can be found for a bargain, such as Southeast Asia, I try to stock on gifts for upcoming holidays and birthdays. This allows me to explore local markets and enjoy looking for unique gifts to take home while saving me big bucks around the holidays. The key is holding off on bestowing your presents as soon as you return home!
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I hope that these suggestions help to show that travel and frugal living don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If you have hints for how to travel cheap, please share them in the comments below! And for an example of how these budget tips work for me in real life, read about how I took a two-week trip to Honduras and spent $56 dollars per day while still scuba diving, zip-lining, and taking catamaran trips. Happy travels!
How do you save money to travel? What are your tips to making the most of your money on your trip? Is it hard to stick to your financial goals when you’re on vacation?
Would you like to be a contributor on a topic related to personal finance or frugal living? Send me an email at: [email protected] (Please know that credit or lending companies will not be considered. Only real people with real stories and real experiences should email.)
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