How to Have a Rich Vacation Experience for Less Money

There are a number of travel costs you can control with a little bit of planning.

Jul 21, 2014

When you go on a big trip, there are some expenses, such as admissions to tourist attractions, that you can’t do much to avoid. But there are also a number of other costs you can control with a little bit of planning. Follow these tips to make the most of your vacation without making money mistakes.

Savor and Save: Food

Your goal should be to savor the localized cuisine of places you visit, while simultaneously keeping your food expenses reasonable. And it’s a shockingly easy goal to achieve. Even if you are traveling abroad, you will almost always have access to grocery stores. If you will be staying in the same place for several days, consider renting an apartment or condo so you have a kitchen; it’s usually a better value than a hotel anyway. Buy breakfast from the grocery store to save yourself the restaurant markups. Splurge on large lunches out because they are usually less expensive than dinner. Then grab a lighter evening meal from a street vendor or get supplies from the grocery store and cook it yourself. TripAdvisor is a lifesaver when it comes to avoiding tourist-trap restaurants and finding the tastiest deals all over the world.

Know Before You Go: Transportation

Aside from searching endlessly for the lowest plane fares, there are some transportation savings you can realize rather easily, especially while visiting a large, modern city. Learn about public transportation alternatives in the place you’re visiting. Identify when subways and buses are a viable option. Oftentimes, it’s more cost-effective to buy a multiple-day pass for public transportation if you’re planning an extended stay in a big city. Many large metropolitan areas stateside also have a discount transportation service called Uber which is faster and less expensive than taking a cab. Map out your routes in advance. That way, you’ll be less likely to get lost, become frustrated, and end up spending more cash on outrageous cab rates or extra subway tickets.

Guide Yourself: Activities

Identify which touristy activities you want to do ahead of time. Then print out information about the places you’ve decided to visit and bring them along to read while you’re there. You can also use a detailed travel book. This trick will save you from paying for a tour or audio guide. You and your traveling companions can even take turns reading the information aloud to keep things interesting. It’s a great way to get all of the insightful details behind historical landmarks and the like, without paying an unnecessary premium. Another money-saving vacation technique comes in the form of sightseeing packages. Cities like London and New York City offer special passes that give you admission to multiple attractions for a discounted price. Some even allow tourists the ability to skip lines.

Planning a large trip can feel overwhelming. Make it more enjoyable and cost-effective by starting early and taking the time to work out the important details well in advance. Use the recommendations above and you could enjoy a high-quality vacation on a surprisingly low budget. Get another leg up on your travels by reading about how to start saving for your big trip.

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