Many recent studies have found that people now value experiences more than material possessions, which means many wanderlusters are wondering how they can fit a trip into their budget. Traveling to great locations for memorable experiences doesn’t have to break the bank. Instead, we found the eight expert tips for how to save on your next trip. So get your bags packed, because you’ll be jetting off sooner than you think.
1. Put Tech to Work
“In the era of technology and gadgets, your smart phone can be a handy money-saving travel buddy. There are apps on the market for everything including: travel guides, maps, phrasebooks, and even torches! Download these and you'll save not only a wad of cash on paper travel guides, maps and phrasebooks but also a lot of space in your case meaning less chance of excess baggage charges.” - Experts at SkyScanner.net
2. Pack Your Own Snacks
“You can save money on high the costs of airport cuisine by bringing along a reusable water bottle and your own snacks. If you have a long flight or several layovers, include protein bars or dry oatmeal that you can make on the plane—just ask your flight attendant for a cup of hot water. Include a few re-sealable plastic bags, so you can divide up larger snacks to last your entire trip.” - Jon Lal, Contributing Writer, US News
3. Stay Near Major Subways or Bus Stops
“Look at a city’s transportation system map. Then plan your stay near major subways or bus stops to save real money.
In Washington, D.C., a night at many hotels in the heart of the district averages $252.
But just jump across the Potomac to Arlington, Virginia and the average nightly rate drops more than $120. It’s just a ten-minute subway ride away from most places you’d need to go.
This also works well in Brooklyn, instead of Midtown Manhattan, and in the suburbs of Chicago.” - Peter Greenberg, Travel Writer
4. Search for the deals
“We often think to look for coupons for small purchases, but forget to look for discounts on trip expenses. From hotels and car rentals to flights, top brands across the U.S. to offer discounts to help you save you money on your vacation. Look for discounts on vacation excursions and new vacation clothes, which will help you prepare and save at the same time." - Marco Piu, General Manager of Couponbox.com
5. Let Locals Show You Around
“The site “Gibby Road” went live in in August with more than 100 local “gibbies” in three states. The guides sign up, explain the experience they offer, and provide a bio and their contact information on the website… But the coolest thing about the site—and others like it—is that each individual offers highly specified tours, usually around a particular theme.
You can go on a food tour in Brooklyn or San Francisco for instance, but there’s plenty that are more eccentric featuring places and things you likely didn’t know were a thing. In Detroit, for instance, you can go on a music tour with a longtime Detriot dweller and music industry vet. In Joshua Tree, CA, there’s a “surreal” art crawl with a local film producer featuring little known installations in the desert and a visit to Junk Dadaist, an outdoor museum.
In Palos Verdes, CA, an adventure-loving ski instructor takes you to test drive a Tesla along the coast. Detroit’s every growing hipster haunts are the focus of a tour of the Motor City's increasingly vibrant Downtown.” - Liza Weisstuch, Budget Travel
6. Don’t forget to check deals at National Parks
“2016 was the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service. This year is Canada’s 150th anniversary, and in celebration it’s offering free passes to any of its 47 national parks (plus historic sites and marine conservation areas).
Sign up for the Discovery Pass throughout 2017 to take advantage of this amazing offer, and you only need one per family. (The pass has already proven to be extremely popular since the Parks Canada site crashed soon after making the pass available in early December.)
Start planning your trip now to visit the likes of Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, renowned for its majestic beauty and the Cabot Trail highway, and the world-famous Banff National Park (pictured), Canada’s oldest, in Alberta.” - Meredith Rosenberg, Travel Channel
7. Book Early
Try to book your flights in advance whenever possible. The general rule of thumb is to book two months out for the the best deal. Timing can be tricky and prices fluctuate so be sure to keep tabs on airfare by using an app like Hopper or Google Flights.
8. Pack light
“If you can fit everything you need for your trip in a carry-on bag, do it. If you can't, it's time to reevaluate what you think you need for your trip. Expert budget travelers save money by skipping checked-bag fees, which can add up quickly on even the most basic itineraries. If you're flying anywhere in the U.S. on United, Delta, American and other major carriers, it will cost you a bag fee of $50 round-trip for a single checked bag.
Our advice: Make a packing list, eliminate anything you absolutely don't need for your trip, and waltz onto the plane with a truly ultralight bag. (A few airlines, such as Southwest, still allow up to two free checked bags; I still recommend packing just a carry-on, though -- it's not just a good habit, it's also good insurance against lost or delayed luggage.)” - Josh Roberts, SmarterTravel.com & contributing writer for USA Today
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years. She is currently a lifestyle blogger and the editor of Whooo’s Reading and Carpe Daily. When she's not writing or editing, she's trying new DIY projects around the house or training fitness clients. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.