Traveling is fun and exciting, but it can also be expensive. Whether it’s a trip to the nearest city or a long-haul journey across the globe, the cost of your flight, accommodation, car rental and food can add up quickly.
Fortunately, there are ways to save on lodging and help make the most of your money. Here are some of our top tips on how to travel on a budget:
Discounts and Packages
The most obvious way to cut your travel costs is to take advantage of discounts or packages offered by hotels and airlines. You can often find these by shopping around with online travel agencies, daily deal sites and even directly with the hotel or airline.
Booking Early and Late
When it comes to booking a hotel, prices fluctuate regularly so it’s important to book well in advance of your trip. Usually, this means booking between two weeks and two to three months before your arrival date in order to take advantage of the best deals.
Paying in Advance
Prepaying for your stay at a hotel can be a great way to shave off a bit of the overall cost, but be sure to check the terms and conditions before you do so. Some hotels will only accept prepaid payments, and others won’t, so it’s important to read the fine print carefully before making a decision.
Self-Service and Automated Check-In and Out
A growing number of hotels offer self-service check-in and out in addition to traditional desk-based check-ins. This can be done via automated kiosks in the hotel lobby, or with a smartphone app that allows for a more convenient check-in experience.
Breakfast and Other Amenities
Several hotel brands now offer complimentary breakfasts to guests. These may include full breakfast buffets or just continental breakfast options, and can vary depending on the hotel. They can include hot and cold items as well as juice, coffee and tea.
Some hotels charge a fee in addition to the standard room and board charge to cover access to various amenities, such as fitness facilities, swimming pools, and high-speed internet. The fees can range from a few dollars per night to several hundred for a week’s stay, but it is worth looking into if you plan to use these services.
Often, travelers choose to stay in hostels because they want to meet other people and socialize with other travelers. Some hostels have common spaces, rooftop bars and swimming pools. They also offer organized tours and pub-crawls, ideal for solo travelers who want to get out of the room but still be part of a group.
Bathroom amenities are provided in many hotels, and most include towels, toiletries (soap, shower gel, shampoo, body/hand lotion), bathrobes and slippers. Non-bathroom amenities may be provided as well, such as pens, stationery, sewing kits and shoe-polishing kits.
Some rooms feature a telephone that can be programmed to ring at certain times during the day. This can be an excellent way to ensure you don’t miss an important event or excursion, and it can also be a great option for getting up earlier than usual.