41 Brilliant [+ Easy] Ways To Save Money On Travel

41 Brilliant [+ Easy] Ways To Save Money On Travel, saving money trips, ideas for road trips, traveling tips for saving money without a jar, money saving ideas before you book a trip, cruise, lodging, ways to save money once you reach your travel destination, how to hack your budget and enjoy the best vacation of your life, wanderlust, #moneysavingtips, #traveltips, #wanderlust, #savingmoneytips, #savemoney, #savemoneytravel, #traveladvice, travel advice

Blame it on the ‘gram all you want, but I think it's a fair assumption that we've ALL craved a little travel in our lives at some point. I mean, how can you not with all those gorgeous pictures of Greece and the French Riviera?! Before you go taking out a bunch of debt and destroying your credit score to fly across the globe, you're going to want to read this post. I'm all for “trip of a lifetime” experiences, but those moments are a lot easier to come by when we do some planning (and saving) to set ourselves up for a stress free vacation! Can you imagine stretching your dollar to make it all the way to Italy, only to eat ramen the entire time?! I don't think so!

This post is sponsored by Lexington Law. Thank you for supporting brands who support TCM. As always, all thoughts, opinions, experiences, and advice is my own.

Table of Contents

First things first, like I just mentioned, you don't want to take out debt or destroy your credit with your travels. This post will teach you loads of smart and easy money moves to ensure that doesn't happen. But before I can share those with you, I want to stress financial responsibility. Meaning, get yourself out of debt before you travel! I'm not talking about student loans or mortgages here, I'm talking about your credit card debt. If you need some help repairing your credit, click here to get your free consultation call with the professionals at Lexington Law. They specialize in helping their clients with unfair, inaccurate, and unverified credit report items.

41 Brilliant [+ Easy] Ways To Save Money On Travel

Preparing for your trip:

Travel friendly credit cards

Like I said earlier, your credit score is going to come back around in your travels!! If you've been bitten by the wanderlust bug, then consider getting a travel rewards card. This way you can build towards rewards points and upgrades for your next trip all year long!

Do it responsibly – meaning ensure you meet the minimum requirements and your credit score is in good standing. If you're traveling out of the country, make sure you have a credit card and debit card that will allow you to avoid international transaction fees too!

Feeling nervous about applying for a new credit card? Check out this post on What You Need To Know Before Applying For A New Credit Card.

If you're nervous about applying for a new credit card because you credit score isn't great, contact the professionals at Lexington Law. They specializing in credit repair focusing on items that may be unfair, inaccurate, and/or unverified on your credit report. They start by doing a credit report analysis, then they handle the credit disputing process, and escalation process if needed on your case.

Call them for your free credit report analysis today by clicking here.

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Travel insurance

While this isn't a “way to save” on your upfront costs – nor a necessity for all trips – it's something to consider if you are booking a trip more than 6 months in advance or leaving the country for more than a week in my opinion. Heaven forbid there is an actual emergency! You don't want to add insult to injury by being out thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars, so that little upfront cost will save your LOADS. I wouldn't do this for a trip I'm booking next week to another state, but we did it when booking our honeymoon more than 6 months in advance, and because it was a trip longer than two weeks that took 12 hours of travel to get to.

Consider “shoulder” season

Shoulder periods are basically the off-times of the year. They vary across different points of the world. Here in the U.S. they generally correspond with post-school breaks (September, everyone just went back to school!; January, everyone just finished winter break; April, everyone just finished Spring break!). Do your research and take advantage of those off times!

Always be flexible

If you have a set location in mind, be flexible about WHEN you go. If you have a fixed time you can travel, be flexible about WHERE you go. If you do that, you'll definitely find some ways to cut overall costs on your trip.

Ask for travel related gifts

If you're planning your wedding, start a honeymoon fund. If it's just your birthday or general gifting holiday (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) ask for cash or gift cards towards your upcoming trip. Sometimes people can feel odd just handing you a wad of cash, but if you let them know what it's for, they may be far more inclined. Plus once you go and send them photos of the portion of the trip they helped you with (this dinner was on you, Thanks Uncle Joe!), they'll feel more inclined to keep doing it. If they are still set on gift cards, ask for travel related ones or general ones that you can apply to your airfare or lodging.

Meal plan

As someone who went on far too many road trips as a kid, I can attest to how gnarly you'll feel if your plan is to eat cheap on the road. Instead, meal plan at home leading up to your trip; this way you can save that money towards your food budget while traveling. Nothing is worse than feeling bloated from your travels, and then adding in that greasy, salty dollar french fry every day because it's all you can afford. Or worse, going to an ultimate food destination and only being able to afford basic fast food.


See if your employer will allow you to divert a portion of your paycheck into a savings account that you only use for travel. This way things are out of sight, out of mind and you aren't tempted to dip a toe into your savings.

Self employed? Consider signing up for a savings app that will either crawl your bank account and pull loose change towards a savings goal you set up; or a savings app that rounds up to the next whole dollar and puts that money away for you.

Leave and return mid-week

Airfares and room rates are typically cheaper during the week.

Sign up for all the loyalty programs

While at your destination, or just browsing the internet, make sure to sign up for all the loyalty programs that don't require a credit card to join. This way you can take full advantage of free upgrades and earning points.

Rent out your place

While your gone, you mine as well rent out your place to offset the cost! List your place with a vacation rental site and ask a neighbor to keep an eye on things if you're nervous.

Airline Hacks:

When should you shop for airline tickets?

This is tricky, since every location and season will cause this to vary a bit. In general, according to this article, the average best time is 70 days out. In the article they break down more details by season and location too.

One thing I know first hand though, airfare is NOT like hotel rooms, you want to book in advance for the best deals. It's rare that they will drop their ticket prices the night before since they assume most people are in urgent need at that point. I've found a good bit of luck two weeks out though.

What are the best days to book your actual flight?

Historically, Tuesday and Wednesday are not only the best times to buy your airline tickets, but the best days to book your actual flight for too! Also, if you're traveling around a holiday, consider booking ON the holiday (e.g. flying out on Labor Day versus the day before or after) for the best deal.

How should you shop for your airline tickets?

Incognito baby!! In case you didn't know, once you start searching for airfare, your device gets a cookie… sounds nice, right? Nope! That cookie is does some technological voo-doo and basically will start upping the rates on you. In other words, the more you watch the flight, the more it'll start increasing. Always browse for airfare using a “private” or “incognito” window to avoid this!

Another hack for shopping for airline tickets: Look at both round-trip and one way flights. I've found some of our best deals by booking two one way flights, versus a round trip. We got the best overall rates this way, since often times the departing rate we want will be cheaper than the return rate one week, then the next it's flipped – it's a smart way for airlines to hedge their bet. One way tickets also give you more options for airlines, so you don't have to get stuck on a budget airline both ways if you don't want too.

Subscribe to airfare alerts

With that said, you can and should subscribe to airfare alerts! There are a few websites and apps that do this, they basically allow you to set your preferences of location and timing and will send you alerts when a deal pops up. No funny business and super helpful.

Bring your own food

While you can't bring beverages through security, you can bring your own food. Personally, I'm not a fan of actual airplane food and most airports have less than desirable food spots, thus I like to pack my own food. Keep in mind though, if you are bringing fresh fruits, some airports won't let you bring them. For instance, on our way back from Hawaii, I wasn't allowed to bring the fruits with me as it's a policy to prevent cross contamination among the islands.


“Get it when you land”

A motto I live by! My goal is to never check a bag. Not only does it save money, but it saves you time and a potential headache of a lost baggage.

So even as we head off on our first ever cross country flight from FL to CA with a baby, we are still only bringing our personal items and carryons. I'll be sharing how we are doing that on my Youtube channel so subscribe here!

Wear your bulkiest items

If you are trying to stick to the carry-on life – or just trying to meet baggage weight requirements, wear your bulkiest items! I always wear my heaviest shoe and a couple of sweaters under my coat if traveling to a cold place. This keeps me cozy on the plane, and light on baggage.

Pack items that'll save you money while you're there

This varies depending on our location. If we are going on a road trip, we always bring our Vitamix with us so that we can make our morning smoothies once we get there. It's a huge cost saver on breakfast. We also pack our coffee maker, which is a thin glass beaker, so we can save on daily coffee trips.

Use your dead space

We maximize space in our carry-ons by using “dead space.” Inside that glass coffee maker I just mentioned, you'll find underwear and socks galore! Not only does it keep the glass safer, it allows me to create storage using what would've been “dead space.” We also pack things in our shoes and pockets. My goal is to leave no corner unused!

Play with packing styles

The worst way you can pack your suitcase is typically just by folding things in squares and layering them in. Instead play with packing styles. Some find that the Marie-Kondo method of the fold/roll works best. Others prefer (while slightly messier) the lay and fold.

The lay and fold is when you pile all of your items flat and unfolded on top of one another. Lay them flat in the middle of your suitcase and push down as if you were pushing the crust into a pie dish. Then fold the edges in. This has been the biggest space saver I've found. Other people swear by packing cubes as a way to maximize space while staying organized, but for me, that's seemed like an unnecessary expense and I'm trying to save money!

Lay everything flat over your suitcase, and push it in like the photo above! You then just fold the edges in and it fills every nook and cranny!

Not pretty at first, but actually limits wrinkles and creates a ton of space! 

Pack an e-reader

E-readers are slimmer and smaller than the average book. I can fit mine in my cardigan pocket! Plus, if you finish your book, you can just download a new one! As an added money saving bonus, you can even download library books for free to your e-reader!


Rental Cars

The early bird gets the worm: If you are getting into your destination early, like before 8 or 9 am, consider booking the cheapest car and you'll likely get a free upgrade. The idea here is that most people book the cheapest car, but most people haven't returned their car first thing in the morning. Meaning they are low on supply and you're more likely to get the free upgrade at the same price since supply of what you actually booked is lower.

Public transportation is your friend

Skip the rental car if you're going to a major city. Instead look into their public transportation. Whether it's their buses, subways, trains, or even bike services, there are probably cheaper and more efficient ways to get around than a car.

Book overnight trains

Not only are overnight trains a little cheaper, you'll save on a nights worth of accommodations too!

Destination and accommodations:

If you're looking for ways to save money while traveling, there's a lot to consider when it comes to selecting your destination! Here are a few ideas to keep in mind no matter what your budget is:

One-Tank Escapes

Meaning it only takes you one gas tank to get there! Usually locations about two hours away from your home, they are a great blend between a staycation and a road trip. Best part? You'll save money! You can save on accommodations (if you choose to come home that night) or food (if you choose to pack your own from home).

Living in South Florida, we are fortunate that Disney trips fall into this category for us! Even if you don't have the happiest place on Earth in your one-tank escape, there are usually loads of beautiful nature preserves or parks in this range no matter where you live!

Road trip

Road trips are fabulous because you can see SO much while sticking to a budget. You can book a trip to Northern Cali and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway over the course of however long. Booking hotels last minute is usually a great way to save (they tend to drop their rates to fill up the empty rooms when booking for the same day). Plus you can stop and see as many places as you'd like without having to hop on and off flights.


Cruises come at every price point and can be a great way to see a lot of destinations without having to take multiple trips. Once again, your standard booking rules apply: book during shoulder season, either last minute or in a few months in advance to get the best rates.

With cruises, you'll want to do some extra math though. Does it make more sense to do an all-inclusive or pay for things as you go? Price out the cost of doing a meal package, drink package, excursion package, etc. in advance versus just dining onboard when you're there.

Cruises offer a wide variety of activities too, so it can be helpful to figure out what entertainment you'll want to book in advance, which ports you plan to hop off at, etc. to budget accordingly. Every cruise experience is going to be different, so there isn't a steadfast rule on “packages are going to save you more” or “pay as you go is the way to save money!” Really consider what you want out of a trip and then ask yourself if the cruise will meet those desires before booking.

Consider what you need in accommodations

Depending on your budget and taste, you may want to stay at a campsite, resort, or hotel. Consider your needs to make the decision on what type of lodging is best for you. For instance, when we travel, we like to stay at hotels that offer in room fridges and microwaves. This way we can eat leftovers and save on food while traveling.

For others, they'd prefer a smaller room in the middle of all the action. Get a full grasp on any fees associated with your lodging beyond the actual room too. For instance, sometimes they will charge you a parking fee, resort fee, Wi-Fi fee, additional taxes etc. and before you know it, you're looking at a great daily room rate, but a few hundred dollars in add-ons!

Book directly with the hotel

Pro tip: Book directly with the hotel… via phone. Most third party sites take a hefty percentage of the room rate – which is often the same if you book via the hotel's website directly. By calling the hotel, you can often negotiate a lower rate (since they were already giving up a percentage to that third party site anyway!).

Stay over Sunday night

Most hotels offer deals on Sunday nights – and it's a double win because traveling out on a Monday is often cheaper than on a Sunday

Opt for a vacation rental

In many cases, opting for vacation rentals instead of a formal hotel will give you the most bang for your buck. Just read reviews thoroughly and be wary of scams. Always pay via credit card in order to further protect yourselves from a scam. If you do end up in an unfortunate situation and need help repairing your credit score from unfair, inaccurate, or unverified charges, you can get a free consultation with Lexington Law Firm here.

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Consider a home-swap

There are sites today that allow you to exchange homes with other travels. You can also ask friends if they want to do this too. It's a great way for everyone to save on lodging and ensuring the other party is taking good care of your home since everyone kind of has skin in the game so to speak.


We do this a lot actually; especially in congested areas like LA. We will plan a couple nights in a prime location with more expensive room rates, then over the weekend nights we switch hotels to somewhere more remote that typically has lower rates in general, but still loads of things for us to do. This way we kind of get the best blend of everything without having to break the bank.

Stay with friends (or friends of friends)

Of course, tapping your network is also a great way to save money. If you don't have any direct friends in your destination, ask if they have friends of friends. You'd be surprised by how many people are excited to open their doors.

Things to do when your there:


Most museums (especially the big name ones) offer free entrance either on a particular day or during specific hours. Visit the museums website and look up the “free times” and pencil that into your trip.

Check the local calendar

See what the local city or town has on the calendar. You'll be surprised by how many festivals and free events are often offered, you just need to be in the know! The town we live in actually had to put a cap on how many festivals per month since the mainstreet was getting shut down every weekend! We still do one festival a month, and during certain times of the year, movies in the park every Friday and a farmers market every Saturday.

National and state parks

National and state parks are a great way to spend some time without spending a lot of money. Often times they will either ask for a small donation or have you pay a parking fee.

Follow the 6 block rule

You know what they say… don't eat from the golden arches when in Rome! Actually, I don't know if anyone other than my mother says that but it was a big rule of thumb whenever we were in Europe growing up. She's not wrong though, diving into the culture and asking around for the best places to eat, shop, explore will typically lead you towards not only a more enjoyable experience but a cost effective one.

Which leads me to the 6 block rule: never eat within 6 blocks of major tourists sites. Instead, ask the locals for their favorite restaurants. Chances are they are delicious and reasonably priced. As someone who lives in a tourist town, I can attest to this rule of thumb. Restaurants within 6 blocks of hot spots are usually double the price and half as good as some of the further spots.

Stop at the grocery store

First thing we do when visiting a new town is stop at the grocery store. Yes, even before checking into our hotel most of the time! This way we can stock up on fruit and snacks to keep in our room which allows us to avoid overspending on food. If you do the national or state park visit like I mentioned above, you can also pick up goodies for a picnic, rather than picking up expensive pre-packaged food!

Get friendly with locals

Locals always know the best places to eat, things to do, and the best part? They're usually not super crowded with tourists. Plus locals can point you in the direction for more affordable options. You may even want to ask them what they typically pay for activities and things like that. Sometimes concierges at hotels have a relationship and will increase the price for activities on tourists compared to local rates.

Look at meetups

This is a great way to meet the locals, and do the things you enjoy while sticking to a budget. Locally, I know we have several “yoga on the beach” classes that are by donation and full moon circles all listed on meetup sites.

Avoid currency exchange bureaus

If traveling out of the country, one of the largest headaches can be foreign transaction fees and currency exchanges. While sometimes you need to get foreign currency, opt for doing this at an approved ATM or local bank. The currency exchange bureaus at an airport or shopping area can charge as much as 8% on small transactions!

This is why it’s particularly important to ensure you are bringing along a credit card with internationally friendly fees and rules. You can cross off all your bucket list travel dreams, just do it smartly. Before you go to open that travel credit card, make sure your credit score is in good standing and your credit history is accurate. If you need help Lexington Law are leaders in the credit repair field. They offer a free credit report analysis and then help their clients dispute unverified, unfair, or inaccurate items to ensure that your credit report is the most accurate. Give them a call here.

PHEW! Here's to saving loadssss on your next trip!!

Let me know in the comments what your favorite money saving travel hacks are!!

This post is part of my Saving Series! Stay tuned as every other week I share my tips and hacks for saving money on everything from life's major milestones to everyday spending!

Catch up on the Money Saving Series here:

How To Reach Any Savings Goal
How To Save Money For Your First Home Purchase
37 Ways To Save Money When You Have A Baby
How To Stop Overspending Money: 17 Tips To Stop Once & For All
How To Save Money This Halloween: 27 Tricks That’ll Feel Like A Treat
The Ultimate List Of 57 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding
How To Save Money On Groceries Every Month On A Tight Budget
31 Ways To Save Money On All Things Thanksgiving

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List of 41 Brilliant [+ Easy] Ways To Save Money On Travel

  1. Travel friendly credit cards:

  2. Travel insurance

  3. Consider “shoulder” season

  4. Always be flexible

  5. Ask for travel related gifts

  6. Meal plan

  7. Autosave

  8. Leave and return midweek

  9. Sign up for all the loyalty programs

  10. Rent out your place

  11. Shop for tickets on Tuesday and Wednesday

  12. Book flights traveling mid-week

  13. Browse for flights in a private window

  14. Subscribe to airfare alerts

  15. “Get it when you land”

  16. Wear your bulkiest items

  17. Pack items that'll save you money while you're there

  18. Use your dead space

  19. Play with packing styles

  20. Pack an e-reader

  21. Rental Cars: early bird gets the worm

  22. Public transportation is your friend

  23. Book overnight trains

  24. One-Tank Escapes allow you to save on accommodations

  25. Road trip give you flexibility on accommodations and destinations

  26. Opt for cruises that meet all your desires

  27. Consider what you need in accommodations

  28. Book directly with the hotel

  29. Stay over Sunday night

  30. Opt for a vacation rental

  31. Consider a home-swap

  32. Lodge-hopping can give you the best rates

  33. Stay with friends (or friends of friends)

  34. Use museums “free” days/times

  35. Check the local calendar

  36. Visit national and state parks

  37. Follow the 6 block rule

  38. Stop at the grocery store

  39. Get friendly with locals

  40. Look into meetups

  41. Avoid currency exchange bureaus