I’m by no means an experienced traveler, but these are some things I learned on our recent trip.
1) Avoid baggage fees. Pack light, so you can avoid the now ubiquitous baggage fee. If you can manage to only bring a carry on you will save $30 or more roundtrip. (check with your airline for fee schedule) We avoided a $50 fee by checking the weight of the luggage at the airport and then moving some heavier stuff from the hubby’s bag to mine.
Learn more: 5 Tips For Packing A Wardrobe To Travel
2) Avoid seat upgrades. They usually aren’t worth the extra $15. If you get bumped to a better seat or first class though, by all means take it!
3) Use the web to find a good deal on a rental car. We used USAA to check prices for rental cars (imperative for the hubby’s business part of the trip). Renting the same car on the rental company’s site would have cost us over 60% more!
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4) Don’t pay for car renter’s insurance. You’re already covered by your auto insurance. Carry a copy of your insurance card just in case.
5) Check in for your flights online and print your boarding passes before arriving at the airport. This mainly saves time, but if the airport is packed it is WELL worth it.
6) Get a good map and/or guidebook of your destination. Whether you are driving or walking a map is essential. If you have a smartphone make sure it’s charged each morning so you can use it in place of a map. I found a larger selection of guidebooks at the bookstore in San Francisco than I saw elsewhere, if I needed one I would have chosen there.
7) Skip the airline food. It’s overpriced, over-processed, and generally tastes terrible. Instead have a hearty meal before getting on the plane, and bring a few snacks if it’s a long flight. When they offer you a free drink, get water with no ice. IT will help keep you hydrated which is essential to staying healthy.
Learn more: 7 Tips For Smooth Travel Transitions
8 ) Use public transportation if at all possible. It’s the best way to see the city for cheap, and see residents living their day to day lives. You may also be able to find an amazing deal like San Francisco has, a multi-use pass. Our passport enabled us to use the $5/one way cable cars multiple times, as well as the subway, buses and streetcars.
9) Spend on the parts of the trip that are important to you. Maybe a posh hotel is worth the cost? Or eating at a top-rated restaurant? Maybe for you it’s the souvenirs, or seeing all the sights? For us it was a combination of a nice hotel, good food. We saved by using public transportation, eating cheap at breakfast, and using a discount on our hotel which put the fancy hotel in range of most of the cheaper hotels in the area.
10) Set your budget and relax. Come up with a plan for how much you will spend, and make sure to add a margin of 10-20% extra just in case. Knowing how much you can spend really simplifies things, and for us it made our trip much more relaxing.
Learn more: Five Travel Tips For The Budget Traveler
What tips do you have? I’m sure a more experienced traveler has more tricks up their sleeve. I will say that going on a trip has made me realize how much I love to travel, so we’ll be adding a savings category for travel next month.