5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Travel

Travel can cost a bundle, but there’s no reason to bang your head trying to find a good deal. I’ve found several simple ways to save money without spending countless hours on the Internet researching. Here are five easy ways that I use to to save money on travel.

Sign up for E-mail Alerts

Mac Computer

Go to the Websites of airlines, hotels, and rental car companies and sign up for their email notifications. Visit sites like Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Airfare Watchdog, and Priceline to set up price alerts. Is there a certain route you’re looking to fly? These alerts will notify you when the price drops. Sign up for TravelZoo’s Top 20 or ShermansTravel’s Top 25 weekly newsletters. They scour the Web for all the best deals. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars and scored luxury hotels in New Orleans and San Francisco from their weekly emails. Don’t want to have an inbox full of travel-related e-mails? Set up an account that is only used for this purpose.

Sign Up for Coupon Sites

Milford Sound Cruise

With sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, it’s easy to score deals in your own backyard. Why not sign up for notifications in the area you are visiting? I did this for my trip to New Zealand. I bought deals for a cruise, a train tour, and dinner, while saving over 50% off the regular prices.

 Be Flexible

Florence Train Station

If you are flexible, your chance of saving money increases. Try to fly on off-peak days {Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday}; often prices are drastically lower on those days. Consider flying out of a less-expensive airport, even if it means driving a bit further. Stay over Sunday. Friday and Saturday nights are normally the most expensive; the other five nights of the week are often less expensive. Don’t have your heart set on one specific location. Make a list of the places you’d love to go and keep an eye out for deals for those locales. If your heart is simply set on going to one specific place, consider the off or shoulder seasons. Not only are the prices cheaper, but the crowds are smaller.

Pick Up the Phone

Paris Phone

Sometimes scoring a great hotel deal is as simple as picking up the phone. There may be times that third-party sites {Travelocity, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc.} are the cheapest, but not always. Call the hotel directly, not the corporate 1-800 number, and ask for the best rate available. Even if you’re traveling out of the country, money could be saved by simply making a cheap international call.  Be sure that you’ve priced the room on their Website, as well as third-party sites. If the hotel can’t beat the price, ask them to throw in parking, breakfast, or Internet for free. Sometimes that is worth more to you than a slight discount. Always ask for an upgrade, and be sure to mention a special occasion you may be celebrating. What’s the worst they could say?

Find a Good Credit Card

NZ Car Rental

Plastic is powerful in the travel world. Credit cards normally offer the best international conversion rate, thus saving you money. Don’t be fooled into buying car rental insurance. A good credit card will cover your rental in the event of damage. Make sure you read your credit card terms and call the credit card company to ensure you are covered before declining insurance though.

A little planning goes a long way when it comes to travel. Knowing you’ve gotten a great deal on something you were buying anyway makes it that much sweeter. Who doesn’t like getting more for less? Besides, the more you save the more you can travel.

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25 Comments
  • Fiona
    January 31, 2013

    Great advice, but my favourite is having a sneaky Absolut vodka and lime while you’re signing up for E-mail alerts;)

    • Leah Travels
      February 1, 2013

      Some companies only allow you to sign up for email alerts if you have a vodka & soda in hand. Don’t blame me. It’s not my policy. I simply comply.

  • Anita Mac
    January 31, 2013

    Groupon in a destination is a great idea! Hadn’t thought of that. I generally try to travel in the shoulder season – money savings aside, the shorter lines and less wait tend to be my preference!

    If I am staying in one place for a few days, I like to buy a bottle of wine at the local store and sip on it in my room as I get ready to go out – keeps my bar bill a little lower.

    Great tips Leah. Happy travels.

    • Leah Travels
      February 1, 2013

      Yep, I normally buy a bottle of booze if I’ll be at a place for a few days, too. Very good tip.

  • lola
    February 3, 2013

    i save a lot on hotel stays by shopping for deals on Jetsetter.com

    • Leah Travels
      February 4, 2013

      Yep…love Jetsetter!

  • D.J. - The World of Deej
    February 3, 2013

    Good tips Leah…I’m a big fan of the Travelzoo Top 20.

    • Leah Travels
      February 4, 2013

      I really like Travelzoo and it seems that they always have a lot of stuff involving Houston. I’m not sure if it’s regional marketing or what.

  • Great advices. I use some of them, but I didn’t try the rest. I’ll surely give them a go

    • Leah Travels
      February 4, 2013

      I couldn’t hurt to try!

  • Kieu ~ GQ trippin
    February 4, 2013

    I’m with Daniel.. LOVE Travel Zoo Top 20!

    • Leah Travels
      February 6, 2013

      I just got Travel Zoo Top 20 today and there’s a whole boat-load of stuff for Houston. IAH to Dubai for $700? Perhaps….

  • The World Wanderer
    February 4, 2013

    Awesome tips! The only one I can’t do with my job is be flexible. 🙁

    • Leah Travels
      February 6, 2013

      I know, Erin, I’ve been there. You get a great summer though.

  • Traveling Ted
    February 4, 2013

    Great tips. I especially like the Groupon alerts in different cities.

    • Leah Travels
      February 6, 2013

      Yeah, Ted, I think that’s how we got the deal on that Chicago architecture cruise last spring.

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel in Twitter)
    February 4, 2013

    I follow most of these but I really need to do better on the Groupon-type of sites. Great tips for folks to stretch every dollar, Leah! Oh, add finding a sugar momma/daddy to the list please.

    • Leah Travels
      February 6, 2013

      I figured the sugar momma/daddy went without saying.

  • Pola (@jettingaround)
    February 5, 2013

    Being flexible is probably the best piece of advice one can give/receive. I’ve gotten great deals on flights when I wasn’t planning to go anywhere… And of course, credit cards – definitely key. Good tips.

    • Leah Travels
      February 6, 2013

      The good thing about having wanderlust is that often times you don’t care where you’re going as long as you’re actually GOING. Great deals are found that way.

  • Lisa
    February 7, 2013

    Good tips, and finally ones that are unique! So many people usually give the same advice. Thanks!

    • Leah Walker
      February 10, 2013

      Well, thank you so much, Lisa. I’m glad I could give you some new tips.

  • Toscane vacances
    February 11, 2013

    This is nice information for me, because while traveling I spend lots of money in lots of things but After reading your post I have got some really nice and very easy way to save money while traveling….I would like to forward this to my other friends….

  • Jenny
    March 2, 2013

    This is a convenient site that feeds your information into Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc. all at the same time: http://www.bookingwiz.com/

    • Leah Walker
      March 5, 2013

      Great tip! Thank you. I’ve not heard of that site.

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