Let’s start the new year by planning to travel! Travelling is amazing but can be a very expensive activity. So, I always look for opportunities to go traveling – when I can fit it in with studies, work, and family – without spending too much money. This is my guide to save money on travel in 2018! There are couple of steps to go through, to make sure that you get the best deals possible.
Key takeaway: Always check several website for the best price and always look for cashback rewards.
This post contains affiliate links! which means that whenever you click on one of the links and buy something, I will get a commission. This will not add anything to the price that you would have payed otherwise. However, you will get a cash bonus using my links.
Planning to save money on travel
If you already know that you want/need to be in a certain place at a certain date, book in advance. Of course, you can try your luck and hope for last minute deals. But most times you will be a lot better off, having booked everything in advance. Plus you get the added bonus of not stressing out about not knowing how you’ll get there.
If you’re the more spontaneous type, last minute deals will be your best friend and can help you to save a lot of money on travel. However, you might also get lucky and find that prices on flights and hotels haven’t increased too too much. I have been on a couple of spur of the moment travels, and lucky for me, they all turned out great!
My general advice for finding cheap travels, is to always – always – always check and compare several sites, both for flights and accommodation!
Travel insurance sucks when you don’t need it, but is the best thing in the world when you do… I have an annual travel insurance that covers any “standard” travels (less than 30 days). On top of that I always book using my Mastercard, where you can add insurance and save some money. Even though travel insurance can seem like a waste, it’s honestly the best thing if you’re one of the unlucky ones to have something happen during your travels.
Always remember to check for flights in incognito mode (unless you’re using cashback-sites since they will not work if you’re in incognito mode)
To save money on travel, researching where to buy your flight tickets is key! I use Momondo to find flights, since I often find the cheapest flights there.
If you want to utilize any cashback services (like Ebates + check out my guide on how to save money on online shopping), there are several other services to use:
Expedia.com (10% Cashback $10 Cashback by using this link)
justfly.com ($8 Cashback $10 Cashback by using this link)
and more, just take a look at the Ebates website.
Accommodation, for me, can make or break any holiday. I spend an extreme amount of time scouring the internet for the right place to stay and the right price. Again, I will always check several websites to make sure I get the best price! There are several options to save money on travel and find the most for the least:
I just found out about Ebates Hotels, which offers you 7% cashback ( $10 Cashback by using this link). Now I checked it against booking.com and found that they matched in price (on the hotels that I chose to compare). Again, always check different sources. These are the ones that I always check before making a booking:
Booking.com: My favorite (when you book 10 stays you’re upgraded to a ‘Genius’ member and get better deals on hotels you get a cashback of 4% through Cashrewards (where you get a bonus of $10 after your first purchase))
Another great benefit is that you can actually book a long time in advance but not pay until right before you leave. However, booking.com also offer non-refundable options which are much cheaper, so if you’re sure about going, I would recommend that option to save money. Just be careful! I have tried booking a stay and then ended up not going.. Money wasted..
Trivago: I always check this website to see if there are offers way lower than Booking.com (including cashbacks).
Package Deals can be really great, both in terms of saving money on travel and in terms of insurance. In Denmark (I have to admit that I’m not sure about other countries) when you book a package deal (flight hotel) you automatically get a guarantee that if the travel company goes bankrupt, you will be refunded part of your expenses.
Expedia.com, which is actually my all-time favorite website to book package deals through. If you’re smart about it, you can actually save some serious money on your travel:
Sign up for Ebates (use this link and you’ll get $10 after your first purchase of $25 or more) and receive up to 10% cashback various offers from Expedia.com remember to add the Ebates button to your browser, because it will notify you when you’re on a website that has cashback.
Sign up for Expedia on the website and get 10% off of selected hotels.
Download and use the app to book your travels and receive double Expedia points, which can be used to book travels in the future.
All in all, you can save a good bit of money on travel using this method.
If you’re renting a car to go on a road trip and you know you’re going to stay in one place/city for the first or last couple of days of your trip – consider renting the car from the day that you leave that city/place. That way you can essentially save two days of renting the car including parking fees.
When booking either accommodation, package deal or flights, you are often prompted with offers to rent a car. Instead of immediately marking them as spam, check out their prices – they might actually be fairly good. Other than that, I look at:
Europcar and Sixt (which both offer caskback of 5.6% through Cashrewards + $10 when signing up through this link) or
Carrentals.com, you get 2.5% cashback through Ebates.com $10 when signing up through this link you get 20% or 25% on weekly rentals (time limited offer from Ebates).
When renting a car, pay close attention to the insurance that they will always try to hook you with. I’ve experienced that the price of the insurance (day-to-day basis) compared to the actual payout minus the own risk fee, is often way too much (especially on long term rentals – more than a couple of days)
Food can easily be the cheapest or most expensive part of traveling. I like to eat well, and therefor often spend a little more. However, where I can, I’ll cook the food myself and then splurge once or twice on a visit to a local restaurant. When booking accommodations, I will usually go for either hostels, campgrounds or apartments with a kitchen/kitchenette. That way I know that I’ll be saving a lot on food, since I will be able to quickly prepare some at the hotel/hostel/campground.
Depending on where you are, local markets are often the best and cheapest way to find food. Furthermore, the food there will be authentically local and make for an interesting experience. If you will be driving a lot, get yourself a cooling bag to store your food. Then you can shop for bread, meats, cheese, fruits and veggies for several days and make your own sandwich on the road plus you can buy larger bottles of water or drinks that will be cheaper.
Activities can be a very expensive and big part of a trip and if you’re looking to save – this will be a very good place to do so. Of course, some activities will cost you money, so unless you can make do with not doing those activities, try to find out if there are ways to save on booking them:
Either book directly from the vendor (or through a travel agency that can offer package deals and might have cashback services) and ask for discounts such as student discounts or non-rush hour discounts. If the activity is offered by several vendors – check their prices and notify vendor 1 that vendor 2 has a better offering – they might offer you a better deal.
Other than that: Prioritize! If there is one activity that you absolutely have to do and you know it’s going to cost you a lot of money – do that activity and then find other activities that are free:
Hiking and tramping
City walks (find your visited city’s local website and Social Media sites)
Public displays, shows and concerts (again look at the city’s local website and Social Media sites)
I hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully got some inspiration and tricks for booking your next adventure!
Travel safe 🙂
See how you can apply some of the same principles when shopping online – see how here!
If you need some travel inspiration, check out my travel blogs (Mainly Australia and New Zealand – for now)
Get ready to travel