It’s the ultimate traveller’s high – finding out that person sitting next to you on the plane has paid twice as much for the same seat, or scoring a big hotel discount when other travellers are paying full price. Every seasoned globetrotter has their own tips for saving money on travel; here are the West Coast Traveller’s favourites.
1. Travel in shoulder season
It’s a lot easier to find cheap flights, cheap hotels and great travel deals in the off-season, but you have to do your homework. Is it worth visiting a San Francisco beach if it’s too cold to swim? You’ll find early season deals for Whistler and Mt. Baker, but you’ll have to accept limited snow on the ski runs.
Avoiding major holidays and long weekends is another travel hack – just make sure your favourite museums and restaurants are open mid-week.
2. Get to know the grocery store
Tasting local cuisine is one of the best parts of travelling, but cutting back on restaurant meals will do wonders for your bank account. Plus, wandering the aisles of grocery stores is a great way to eat like a real local.
Book accommodation with a kitchen to save money on meals, and remember that a few cans of craft beer from the local brewery will cost a lot less than a couple cocktails at the bar.
One more place you can find significant savings? Pack your own lunch for the airport, to avoid overpriced sandwiches on the plane.
3. Do your research
Many museums, art galleries and tourist sites offer free admission once a week or once a month. Once you’ve made your bucket list, schedule your days to take advantage of travel deals.
4. Slow down
If you have the luxury of time, consider volunteering in exchange for housing. Many hostels offer long term guests free stays in exchange for a few hours’ work. You can also connect with a local farm to do a few chores in exchange for room and board. Your host will also be able to share local travel tips!
Renting a car may be the fastest way to get around, but if you walk, rent a bike or take public transportation you’ll meet more locals, discover hidden gems, and get to know the city better.
Whatever your travel budget, remember that you always have to spend money to live – whether you’re on the road or not. If you’ve been saving money for travel, now is the time to spend it, and support tour operators and restaurants as you explore!