Traveling around the world is my passion, hobby, pastime, or whatever you want to name it. I just love traveling and I take my family where ever I go. So even they love it, al least that’s what they say. Over a period of time, I have developed a habit of saving enormous amount while we are on a trip. This helps us to save some amount for the next trip. Let me get to the point and help you with few personal finance tips while traveling that can really save some money.
If you are on a short vacation, say for a couple of days, remember to pack your snacks. When I am driving out for few days I carry string cheese, apples, and carrots.
A note on apples: To avoid sleep while driving, not is as effective as apples.
If you can manage to pack a lunch that can last a couple of days and lots of snacks, much of your money spent on eating in expensive restaurants can be reduced.
A day before you commence your trip, visit an eatery or a grocery store near your house and buy lots of snacks. Same foodstuffs at a tourist location or a crowded place or even a convenience store near gas pump will cost much more.
If you don’t like eating packed food, or carrying them, get some coupons. These discount coupons are quite inexpensive way to eat while traveling.
Carry lots of water with you. Something that’s freely available at home costs much outside. Lastly, be proactive and not reactive.
If your trip involves lots of driving, carry a cash-back credit card with you. I have also found that better quality of petrol provides better mileage. Probably, this is the only way to save money in this category. You cannot replace gas by anything else like water or beer.
Sometimes, my employer reimburses the amount spent on gas. So I get the whole amount back plus 3% cash back.
Living in hotels is very expensive while on a vacation. For me, hotel was a major factor affecting our travel budget. Not any more. I reserve my rooms online well in advance. Several portals like MyPoints or Ebates offer a cash back scheme.
If you are a regular traveler, it’s wise to become a member of holiday clubs, or loyalty clubs that offer discounted stay.
Most of the time when we are traveling, we halt at any hotel on the way. However, since last year I have developed a new strategy that has helped me save a lot. Before going for a tour, I jot down the names and numbers of all the hotels in and around the place we had decided to halt at. I also jot down the details of hotels that are about one hour’s distance from our expected halt. This way, we have started to get the best deal.
Also, while selecting hotel, check weather it includes a free breakfast. When I travel with my family (5 members), it saves a great deal of money.
This is not a very frugal suggestion, but I am ready to pay $20 to $30 extra for cleanliness. I wouldn’t opt for a hotel that has creepy cockroaches and long hairs on the bed, just because it’s cheap.
If your family includes a kid or two, do make a note of malls on the way before starting your journey. The play area in a mall is the best refreshment you can offer your kids while traveling.
It’s good to save money while traveling but not at the cost of your life. If you are very sleepy while driving, get yourself a room to sleep, if not for whole night, at least for a couple of hours. Okay, if you want frugality here, get an energy drink and get going.