Should you drive? Should you fly? Is there a cheaper hotel in the area? Wherever you’re able to cut cost during vacation is a huge plus. While you’re trying to decided if there are any areas where you can trim your vacation plans, you may want to consider some of the points below to see if you can save even more and travel for cheap. Booking last minute vacations can be extremely therapeutic.
House-Sit or House-Swap
If you are looking to travel you could potentially swap houses with another person or family. There are websites that will allow you to register for a small fee and list your house available for a swap for an entire year. The length of time you will swap houses depends on the needs and wants of both parties. In addition to house swapping, if you are looking for a place to stay elsewhere, you may want to check Airbnb. Airbnb allows people to rent a room in their home or even their entire home out to others who are visiting the area. Oftentimes Airbnb is cheaper and you get more of a feel for the people who live in the area that way.
You can also consider house-sitting. You can check Mind My House for listings of people looking for someone to watch their home while they are away. If you are lucky you’ll get to go to a place like Miami and simply take care of someone’s home. This also means that you will actually get paid for traveling to the location in which you are house sitting. It is almost like getting paid to travel.
Look for Bargains for Travel
There are a plethora of travel websites that offer bundling deals as well as deals on flights, hotels, rental cars and everything else you could possibly need on your next vacation. One of the best places to check for travel deals is Groupon. The website/app has a section called “Groupon Getaways.” If you go to this section you can usually find amazing deals on packaged deals, hotels, flights and more.
If you are looking for a more competitive edge on pricing where your vacation is concerned, you may want to consider bidding on your vacation on Priceline. If this is something you are interested in, you can check BiddingforTravel for acceptable bids for your vacation getaway.
Volunteer and Travel
Obviously if you are seeking a relaxing vacation, volunteering isn’t the way to go. However, if you are simply looking to travel and see different parts of the country and the world, volunteering is a great way to do that. If you are looking to get involved in a volunteer program, some organizations cover everything up to your flight out. Most of the volunteer programs abroad deal with development, teaching English or crisis relief. You can also see different parts of the country by checking volunteer opportunities with your local Lions Club, Rotary Club or Optimist Club.
Don’t Pay For Things When You Travel
The biggest mistake people make when traveling both in and out of the country is paying for things that are free elsewhere. Don’t pay for breakfast when there is a hotel down the road that offers free continental breakfast. Don’t pay for WiFi when there’s practically free WiFi everywhere (and there’s probably a Starbucks close by). Although these things seem small, they can add up over the span of a week while you are on vacation. Be sure that you are 100 percent certain what you are paying for in the fees for the hotel or resort. Also do not forget to check into loyalty programs with the place you are staying. Sometimes these loyalty programs can offer further savings and perks for your trip.
Carpool or Hitchhike When You Travel
Okay – hitchhiking is not all that safe so we don’t recommend it. However, carpooling while you are on vacation is a great idea. Some hotels offer shuttle services to the more popular attractions in the area. You can also set up a carpool prior to your trip by using websites like hitchhikers.org. Although hitchhiking takes far less planning than carpooling, carpooling is the safer option. There are places throughout the world, like Cuba, where hitchhiking is simply a part of life though. Just be sure to keep your safety in mind when making the decision to hop in the car or not.
Be Flexible With Your Travel Plans to Save Money
If you can be flexible on your arrival and departure dates, you can save a ton of money. Oftentimes this is not an option for people because they have to get back home to return to work or other responsibilities at home. If you can swing some flexibility into your dates though, you can usually get plane tickets cheaper if you are willing to be a “standby” flight. You can also get cheaper hotels with some companies if you book last minute. Last Minute Hotels is a Travelocity-linked site that offers discounts for people booking their hotels within 48 hours of their stay.
If you aren’t set on a time of year for your trip, you can also shave a significant amount of money off your vacation by traveling during “down times.” For example, Disney World has a few weeks out of the year that are considered to be “dead weeks.” If you book during this time you will receive discounts and, an added bonus, there won’t be that many people crowding the parks.
Some people are able to travel because of the type of work they have chosen. Some companies pay for their employees to travel while others have chosen the life of a travel journalist. However, even if you aren’t in either one of these lines of work, you may still be able to provide your services and be able to travel. You can do this by transporting vehicles. Some companies offer vehicle transfers. For instance, if you see a car on CarMax.com that you like it may not be in your area. Car Max will pay someone to transport the vehicle to the Car Max nearest you. You may also be able to transport vehicles privately. Sometimes when people relocate they need someone to drive their car behind the moving truck to their new location. This is a great way to make money as well as travel to new locations.
Look for a Travel Scholarship
Scholarships are not available to everyone but it is an option that is definitely worth checking into, especially if you are a student. Many colleges and universities have been aiming to make their students more well-rounded in international travel. You can receive scholarships to study abroad. While this is usually something available to students during their undergraduate years there are also a few options for adults seeking their graduate degree.
Enter Travel Contests
If you have some extra time, there are an immense amount of travel contests available. All you really have to do is Google “travel contests” and hundreds of pages of results will be returned. You may have to write something or submit a photo but you will receive cash or a free trip in return (worth it). Airlines, cruise lines, resorts, tourism boards and adventure travel companies also offer “prize” trips often. In fact, many people who gamble on cruises win free cruises that you can take within a few months. Many people aren’t able to take cruises every few months though so they often go unused. If you’re simply looking to travel, investing a little time and energy into travel contests may put you on track to traveling the world sooner than you thought.
Follow the Expert Travelers
This tip is one that many people should follow. If you are looking to travel the world but don’t have a ton of money to do so, follow travel experts. If they are making a living at traveling or traveling often they know where to get the best deals as well as the best places to go in whatever area you are visiting. A personal favorite travel blog is Nomadic Matt. There are many sites like Matt’s where you can simply sign up for email notifications about travel deals and tips.
How do you save money when traveling?
Photo: Flickr: Moyan Brenn
Amanda is a full-time website manager and blogger. She is currently hacking her debt by saving money and investing, all while trying to kickstart a family and enjoy her adult life. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends, entertaining (throwing parties), reading, doing puzzles and kayaking.