How to Remain Frugal While Traveling
Have you ever gone on a vacation only to return to an exorbitant credit card bill? I know I have! You almost need a vacation from the vacation you just took! Your stomach sinks and you feel completely sick. Well, keep these tips in mind next time you’re planning a get-away and you’ll come home relaxed, guilt-free, and with money in your pocket!
1. Don’t pay for a flight….EVER! My husband and I never travel unless we have earned miles ahead of time. It is extremely simple and all we do is rotate credit card offers. We sign up for cards with his social one year and the next year we use mine. However, I encourage you to be savvy with them. If you feel you can’t pay off the cards then DON’T sign up. It’s much better to use your own money that you’ve saved to pay for flights if you feel you could go into debt with new credit card offers. We always pay them off each month. Also, always sign up for the cards that will give you the biggest return. Southwest and Chase offer some great rewards!
2. Don’t park your car at the airport. This is an average of $13 a day for airport parking. And even if you go with a competitor and have a coupon you’re still paying for it. Why not ask a friend? Surely you have someone that would be willing to drop you off and pick you up! Tell them you will do the same whenever they need help and you can swap. It is just much better than paying an exorbitant parking fee. You’ll want to save that money for your vacation!
3. Bring Snacks. If you’re traveling with small kiddos, and you’re either flying or driving, you must bring snacks! Even if you don’t have children snacks for you and your spouse are always money savers. Apples, bananas, small individually wrapped almond butters, items like that, will save you tons of money rather than making costly purchases at an airport or even gas station.
4. Only bring carry-ons! My hubby and I have gotten into the habit of only packing carry-on luggage. To check a suitcase is $50 for both ways! That’s a lot of money! Pack smart and you won’t have to be price gauged.
5. Use points for hotel stays. You can also sign up for cards that offer rewards for hotel stays. I know the Marriott does one and I’m sure other hotels do as well. I did this recently for an upcoming trip. My friend paid $650 out of pocket and can you guess how much I paid? Nothing! Nor did I have to pay anything for my flight. All that I have to pay for is food and other activities we decide to participate in! You can really have cheap vacations where you actually feel free to spend a little money because you’re not weighed down by travel costs!
6. Buy food to eat at the hotel during your stay. Limit how many times you go out to eat and budget for those rare occasions. My husband and I went to the nearest grocery store when we went to Hawaii and bought lunch items and other snacks for when we got hungry. We also had a set budget and ONLY used cash on the trip. That way we couldn’t lose track and get carried away! The vacation really becomes a vacation because you’re not coming home with a huge credit card bill you can’t afford! The next time you plan a trip I hope you keep these tips in mind. Not only could you have a free vacation, but you could also end up spending significantly less during your trip! Now who wouldn’t want to come back to a relatively nonexistent credit card bill?