For me, travel means going with my family. I have two small children, so this means three things:
- Lots of meals
- Lots and lots of wardrobe
- Lots and lots and lots of buying unnecessary things if I don’t plan accordingly.
And not planning accordingly can certainly add up.
Here are five tips I picked up along the way for traveling cheap.
1. Go Local
Going local doesn’t mean staying close to home. It actually means not missing out on engaging with the locals in the area you are visiting.
Take it as a free and honest advice about the best things to do in a destination. Yes, you can also get those tips from a concierge at your hotel, but these people are usually paid to give you “tips on it things to do with your family”.
More often than not, locals engage in free or inexpensive happenings in the city so they can provide you with a great source of information.
When we moved to Hawaii, I spent hours scanning for best tips – both online and offline. It was rare that I could find a pastime activity to do without an expensive price tag. Most of those things were out of my budget, too.
Especially since I didn’t know the island all too well, I decided to meet some locals. I worked as a preschool teacher, and my colleagues at work would help out with things to do.
It was them who showed me the hotspots and best inexpensive places to take my children.
This opened up a new world for me and my family, one I would not have known about otherwise.
2. Pack your own food
A good (frugal) habit I developed along the way was to pack snacks.
It can be for the car ride, for a bus trip, a hotel stay, or a picnic. Preparing snacks make take up some of your time, but the cost-effectiveness is huge. Taking snacks with us saves us lots of money.
If we are staying at a hotel and the breakfast is included, it’s easy to pack up stuff and go out for the day. Our snacks are readily available, and I don’t have to worry about spending money for lunch.
3. Find a great deal site
I’m proud to admit – I print coupons for restaurants or stores to save money.
There are also a lot of deals to be found both online and offline on the vast majority of theme parks or other places we plan to visit. Just one of them to mention is TravelZoo – take a look at their website and you’ll see what kind of discounts I’m talking about.
4. Use your smartphone wisely
Your phone is not there just to take pretty pictures – although, I must admit, I’m happy I had to ditch that old camera when I bought my last phone.
That smartphone you are carrying can also be your little travel guide. There are tons of apps to use for travel purposes.
5. Lunch Over Dinner
You may not have thought about it, but there is one little travel secret I noticed. Lunch options cost less than dinner ones.
If we have to eat out, sometimes I choose to eat lunch instead of dinner at a restaurant.
The menu looks practically the same, but the lunch prices are definitely less expensive. This money can be then geared to other activities on our trip.
6. Using A Pet Sitter
Instead of paying huge fees to put your pets in a kennel or cattery use a house sitter. The are many sites you can sign up too and you can even find long term house sitters if you headed away for an extended trip. Using a house sitter ensures your pets stay in their familiar surroundings and stick to their usual routine. It also can give you the peace of mind that your home will be secure and well looked after while you are away.