Many people would love to travel more. In fact, in 2016, Americans forfeited 206 million vacation days. That means that workers
lost $66.4 billion worth of benefits and, according to a new study from Project: Time Off. Americans used to understand the importance of getting away from the office. From 1976 to 2000, the average working American took off more than 20 days a year. Starting in 2000, workers started taking fewer and fewer days off and by 2015, they only took 16 days off a year. Here are some great ways to save money when traveling, so you can use those unspent vacation days and start traveling on a budget.
Fly on slower travel days. Flying a slow travel day will save you on money and anxiety. Use a website like google flights to see which the cheapest days are to fly out. It allows you to see what the cost would be to fly out throughout the week. Also sign up to services that let you know when there are airline sales, one I can't help but recommend is Scott's cheap flights. You can say 25-60% on flights just by checking your email. At any given time, you will get an email on what airline the sale is happening, what months you can book it, and when it most likely will expire. I've seen many times flights that go for 1200 sell for 400.
Build travel into your monthly budget. The average car payment is 503 a month. Do you really need that expensive car you will get tired of in a few months? Think if you chose the class below it, and paid only 350 a month, that would be almost 2000 dollars saved for travel. Do you need to eat out every lunch? You get my drift, once you start thinking how can I budget myself a bit more to be more travel-friendly, you will start to see many areas you can shuffle some cash around to travel. Sometimes as simple as making coffee before you leave for work vs spending 4 dollars at Starbucks every day can go a long way in getting you to hit your vacation milestones.
Don't waste time at a fancy hotel. Do look for one with breakfast included. You are not going to be spending much time at the hotel, so it doesn't need to be over the top. Most of the time you are just paying for the name and can find a comparable hotel a lot cheaper with the same amenities. Also if you like to stay at the same hotel, set up a rewards account. This way as you stay, you can get free hotel stays.
Take advantage of credit card perks. The travel credit card space is becoming increasingly competitive and major banks are releasing new perks and benefits regularly to capture loyal customers. That's phenomenal news for travelers. I myself use Chase sapphire preferred. It allows you to get a 25% bonus by booking travel through them on your points. On top of that, they provide free car insurance, free luggage insurance, and there are even no foreign transaction fees.
Pass on the tourist traps. Tourist traps are the London Eye for 100 dollars when you spend that money doing many other things. Even here in New York, we have them. Times square is overcrowded with rude people and completely overpriced. A free hike, museum, or public landmark is almost always a better experience than the high-priced tourist trap. Many places such as New York, London, and Berlin has city passes that allow you to do many things for one set cost. TripAdvisor also has a great section called "things to do" that will allow you to find cost-effective places to go.
Look for dinner deals. I get it, food is expensive, a friend once told me he spent 2000 for a week of food in Miami. That is enough to literally fund a whole vacation! Not every meal has to break the bank. It's no secret that dining out for every meal can add up. Check Groupon when you get to where you are going. Check the local directory in the hotel as they usually have coupons for you as well. This could be the most expensive part of the trip when you get there, so be very careful how much you spend everyday and don't let it get out of hand.
These are some great idea's on how to save money when traveling. If you have any other questions about traveling on a budget, don't be afraid to email me, or give me a call at (718) 551 - 7131.