Rules of Saving Money on Travel, Airfare, and Food
One of the top factors preventing most of us from traveling is cost. Even during stable financial times, no one wants to pay extra, so make sure you know the rules for saving money on travel, airfare, and food. Savings? Yes, please!
Do the Math
- Rule: ALWAYS budget fares based on the FINAL total.
When it comes to airfare, it’s not as simple as it used to be. Now that airlines have discovered the power of bare minimum airfare and advertising, saving money on flights is a tricky business. Discount a la carte lines like Spirit and Frontier have amazing ticket prices but don’t forget that fare doesn’t include bags or getting an assigned seat which can be very important for traveling families. Make sure you run that ticket price to the very end to get your final total to see if that cheap airfare is really a great deal.
Make a Call
- Rule: Always call the hotel or resort and ask for discounted rates after you’ve done some research.
Third-party websites seem like a great deal and easy for travelers to use. However, they are costly to hotels and take a bite out of the profit. If you can eliminate the middleman, you are likely to get an even better deal on your stay and/or perks those third-party websites can’t offer you. Make sure you scout out deals online and then call the hotel and ask if they can beat the discounted rate you found online.
Time It Right
- Rule: Having a flexible schedule will open the door to better savings.
When you travel matters. Generally speaking, the summer is peak travel for a lot of hot spots. However, places like the east coast see a surge in the fall with foliage-fans. Make sure you do some research on your destination to find out when the peak travel season is because that will also mean peak prices. For example, during the summer and holidays, Disney World hikes up the prices thanks to a surge in demand. However, the fall enjoys a cool down in temperature, crowds, and prices.
- Rule: Watch out for minimum occupancy prices.
While cruise lines are becoming more relaxed on solo adventurers, be careful to read the fine print. Often, you’ll see prices “based on double occupancy” or “per person” fares. Make sure you won’t be stuck with paying for the second traveler who isn’t there. It’s not uncommon to see 100% markups on single occupancy rates.
Credit Card Conundrum
- Rule: Be picky about your credit cards, rewards, and fees.
Use a filtering site like Nerd Wallet to help you find a credit card to fit your travel needs. Instead of having multiple cards for different benefits like travel rewards, no international fees, or low APR, the site can help you find a credit card that will cater to all your needs. Having multiple cards can get you into trouble and it’s just more work for you. Limit it to one travel card to rule them all.
- Rule: Dine out for lunch, stay in for dinner.
At most restaurants, their lunch prices are more affordable than their over-sized dinner portions. You’ll get the same food and same experience for a fraction of the price. When you’re traveling, it’s always a great money saver to dine in whenever you can, but either way, swap your quick-service lunch for a quick-service dinner and you’ll save some cash.
Do you have any tips on how to save money on travel and food? Share them with us in the comments!