Traveling is a luxury my husband and I enjoy. We love to travel and see new places! The adventure of experiencing the culture of a newfound place, trying new cuisine, and going to all of the hot spots is something we look forward to. All of these things however don’t come for free. Though, I believe you can travel, be frugal, and still get all the benefits of immersing yourself in the trip completely!
We stayed in a high-end hotel in the Gaslamp District, ate out every night, and enjoyed a ton of the must-see places. How did we not miss anything and do it all on a budget?
1. Travel Sites actually can provide you with some excellent deals. Shop around each one, it takes a little research, but you could end up saving over $400 dollars just by looking at a different site! We also bundled our flight and hotel – and like the commercials say – it saved us some moo-lah. We were able to say in a historic downtown hotel for an entire week with a view of the bay!
2. Research airports. We live in a fairly smaller town out west. Let’s just say that airfare is about $200 extra per ticket because it can be. We were okay with driving a couple hours to a major airport and flying out from there – this saved us $400 dollars! We got a little road trip in together, made it to the airport, and were in San Diego the same day.
3. Pick a central location. We did a little research, found a hotel we liked, and made sure it was close to a lot of things to do.
We were able to walk to the Gaslamp District in 5 minutes…
…20 minutes to the pier…
…and 45 minutes to Balboa Park.
By selecting a location that allowed us to walk or ride the bus places saved us money by not taking a taxi and also provided us with some exercise! Buying a bus or trolley day pass allowed us to travel easily from one place to the other all day.
4. Restaurants.com. I swear by this website. Sometimes you can get great deals and spend $3 for a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant you specially picked out. Mark and I went through the list, looked at menus, and picked several restaurants to try when we were there – and we were not disappointment by one of them! We ate at Italian, Mexican, Afghani, and Indian restaurants. We actually ate at this one restaurant where you sit on the floor for dinner, totally unique! We were able to splurge a little extra and still save money at these restaurants. We still left room for spontaneity, having impromptu lunches and even a couple unplanned dinners. We were able to eat at all the places we wanted to.
5. Pack snacks. Now this seems a little silly, but you’d be shocked at how much you’d save by packing snacks. Before we left, I threw some bars I picked up in the discount bin at my local supermarket, peanut butter, pretzels, trail mix, cheese snack crackers, lots of water, and some nuts in a bag. We were set. We grabbed a few for the plane and we were set. Airport snacks cost an arm-and-a-leg – we had minimal airport food cost because of this. Also, once you reach your destination – track down a convenience store and pick up a few breakfast items. We got two small boxes of cereal for $2.00 that lasted us the whole week and saved us $15 to $20 breakfasts out each morning!
6. Tourist traps. We totally did the tourist thing.
We went to Sea World…
…and Balboa Park.
These also come with a hefty price tag. Mark did some research and found us a Balboa Park pass for under $100 each. This let us into the Zoo for an entire day, all the museums and gardens at the park for the week, and gave us special access to different things around San Diego and the Park! Do a little digging about the destination you are going to and I am sure you can find a City Pass or some great deal that can save you money. If you are still a student, you can get all types of deals as well. If you have Triple A, you can get a 10% discount at some places (we got a discount at SeaWorld because of this)! Just ask for whatever deals they offer and you’d be surprise what you might be able to take advantage of.
7. Asked the locals. They live there; they most likely know what kind of deals are around the area. They will know the best places to go and how to do it cheaply. Hotel staff is a good pick too – ask them for their personal opinion and they can help guide you on their top picks.
With a little digging and research, you can plan a vacation on a budget but it will still be packed with all the things you want to do!
– Katie @ BloomEveryday
What travel tips and tricks do you use to save you money while vacationing?