The Budget Traveler

To Save or To Spend On

I consider myself a budget traveler. I love nothing better than a great deal and anything FREE is an added bonus. I like being able to take my savings and spend it or even splurge a bit while traveling!


Getting Around

  • Pack comfortable shoes, since walking is FREE!
  • Check to see if there is a local bike program or bike rentals as another option to get around.
  • Check out the public transit that is available, especially in major cities.
  • Check out websites that offer transit passes plus admission to popular attractions (i.e. CityPass).

I always pack comfortable shoes when traveling, since walking is FREE! Some cities offer a self guided walking tour or you can create your own walking tour. Sometimes cities offer FREE or low cost guided walking tours too. A great way to explore and add in exercise!

I research the public transit that is available, especially in a major city. I check to see if there is a cost savings with a multiple days transit pass. I like when cities offer transit passes that work on all available public transit too. I check out websites that offer transit passes and admission to popular attractions.

Reading ALL the Print

  • What travel aspects are refundable and/or non-refundable.
  • Remember to factor in ALL travel taxes, fees and additional expenses (i.e. parking, entrance fees, tips, etc.).
  • Remember to read ALL print too; do not want a hidden something, something ruining your travel experience.

Here is where the research really counts and could really rack up the savings! Determine the mode of transportation (i.e. car, plane, train, or bus). Determine the taxes and fees that come with the different modes of transportation (i.e. parking fees, rental car taxes and fees, taxi fees, FREE shuttle available or not, etc.). Then there could be additional expenses (i.e. airport and hotel taxes and fees, entrance fees, tips, admission fees, etc.). Factor in all taxes, fees and addditional expenses; the bold print, the fine print and the hidden print of taxes, fees and additional expenses!

Remember to take into account the refundable and non-refundable aspects of travel! Sometimes it may pay to spend a little on the front end by purchasing travel insurance. Sometimes it may pay to spend a little more on a hotel room if it is refundable instead of non-refundable. Sometimes it pays to book travel aspects separately and other times it pays to bundle. Remember to check out what your local memberships to warehouse clubs offer in the way of travel too. Sometimes it pays to rent a car off site than at the airport (there could be a premium at the airport).

Eating on the Cheap

  • Check out the local grocery store to stock up.
  • Find your biggest bang when it comes to eating out (breakfast steals, lunch deals, dinner specials, etc.).

Eating out can start to add up! If there is a “hot spot” I want to check out, I see if breakfast or lunch is a better bang for my buck. I will also check to see if there are any dinner specials. I like to stock up at the local grocery store on the non-perishables to have on hand when out and about checking out the sights. You can eat well when traveling and not overspend doing it!

Consider ALL Lodging Options

  • Resort (with all the amenities)
  • Hotel
  • Rental
  • Cabin
  • Camper
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Check out rental options for lodging when traveling! You just might find that a rental apartment or a cabin or even renting an RV or camper are less expensive than staying at a hotel. Plus with a rental you have the space to spread out and a kitchen to use. (saves on eating out). Sometimes it pays to go the resort route to get the best bang for you buck with all the amenities included too. There are plenty of options for lodging and some great websites to check out for your needs!

Travel Discounts

  • Remember if you do not ask you will not know what is available to you on discounts, deals, specials, savings, etc.
  • Check out the local membership warehouse stores for travel discounts (i.e. Costco).
  • Check websites to see if ordering online gives an additional discount instead of purchasing at the destination (i.e. early bird discounts, like $90 for two people online versus $100 for two people at the event).
  • Check out the visitor center or chamber of commerce (may have insider knowledge or access to discounts, specials, coupons, etc.).
  • Check out the hotel kiosk of event brochures or see if the hotel has a concierge service.
  • Read the local publications to see what is going on, especially FREE things to do and see (may have discounts, specials, coupons, etc. inside the publication).

(Photos by RSheridan)

Remember if you do not ask you will not know what is available to you. I am talking not only about the FREEBIES, but the upgrades and everything in between, like deals and specials. Tell the front desk, waiter, etc. that you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary or special occasion, especially if you want that special treatment you deserve. You never know what you might receive if you do not ask and sometimes there is no additional expenses either!

I like to read the local publications to see what is going on, especially FREE things to do and see! I like to locate the nearest visitor center (find the latest and greates vistors guide) or check out the hotel kiosk of event brochures. I like to check out the internet to see what there is to do. Sometimes I discover that if I order online I get an additional discount for attractions and events at times.

Remember to check out the local membership warehouse stores for travel discounts, like Costco. Scored some great savings when comparing and contrasting prices on hotels and rental cars. I know it can be a little time consuming, but once you have your go to sites it becomes much easier when booking travel.

You have to find that balance when traveling what to save on and what to spend on!


About cravesadventure

I love to adventure to new places to create new life experiences. View all posts by cravesadventure

6 responses to “The Budget Traveler

  • Ingrid

    Great info Renee. We too like stopping in at “visitor centers” for free publications and maps on an area as well as the folks working there are ususally a wealth of information. I live in my tennies…..have feet will travel 🙂

  • Minnesota Prairie Roots

    We don’t do much traveling, except to neighboring states, given my husband only gets 10 days of vacation annually (and that’s after 30 years w/ the same company). But I do research online ahead of time and we also pack food for picnic lunches.

    My son went to NYC over Thanksgiving. And although he booked a reasonable bus ticket from Boston to NYC and back and stayed at a hostel, he still found the visit there to be costly. He wanted to see the city from some observation deck, but that would have been $40. Thus that was nixed. He’s on a college student budget and he’s a Midwest boy unfamiliar with the higher costs on the East coast. Even a mass transit pass set him back, I think, $40.

  • megtraveling

    Great tips Renee! I think that the experience of travel is so valuable but it doesn’t have to be expensive… 🙂

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