Pages Navigation Menu

Everything Personal Finance

Money Saving Tips for First Time Travelers

Most people put off traveling until they have saved what they consider enough, and even then, they may have to stick to quite a tight budget when on their trip. If you are about to embark on your first travel adventure, you are likely to be a little jittery over your finances. But it is possible to get the most out of your vacation while at the same time cutting costs.

How First Time Travelers can Save Money

Here are 11 tips for saving money when traveling for the first time:

1.      Check the Best Places to Exchange Money

Currency exchange fees can add up to quite a lot of money on any trip. 3-5% is usually the minimum in most countries, but in a few countries they can go as high as 10-15%. In most cases it is better to exchange currency at your destination, but in those destination countries where currency conversion charges are high, it is better to exchange your currency before you leave. Exchanging currency at the arrival airport is always convenient, but usually they offer inferior rates to banks or money changers located away from the airport. All this can be confusing, but if you do some research through online travel forums before you leave, you will be able to find out the best places to change money in your destination country.

2.      Make Use of Wi-Fi as Much as Possible

Making calls and sending texts from abroad is very expensive because of the additional costs involved for international roaming. Your carrier will not only charge for every text or call that you make, but also each one that you receive. To avoid these costs, turn off your cellular data and use Wi-Fi to text and make calls. Make use of popular apps like Skype, Facetime, and WhatsApp that only require an internet connection to keep in touch with loved ones back at home.

3.      Avoid Transacting in Your Home Currency

You will encounter some merchants that will offer you the option of paying for a purchase in the local currency or your home currency. If you choose the latter, the merchant will convert the cost of the purchase from the local currency for you. However, the problem is that the exchange rates that the merchant will be apply will invariably be unfavorable to you, so it’s always best to pay in the local currency.  If you are paying by credit card and offered the facility to pay in your local currency, theoretically there should be no difference, but many travelers say that paying in the local currency usually works out slightly cheaper.

4.      Get Durable Luggage

The tenacity of your luggage will be tested as you travel. A busted suitcase is sure to ruin your trip. So, to avoid spending money fixing a damaged suitcase or buying a new one whilst overseas (which might work out very expensive), shop before you leave for luggage that is sturdy. Get information and do comparison shopping on trusted websites like Luggage Direct, which have wide selections of affordable travel luggage.

5.      Book Mid-Week Flights

Take advantage of cheaper air tickets by traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, which are the cheapest days to fly.  Save hundreds of dollars by managing your vacation travel schedule around these three days.

6.      Book a Multi-Leg Flight

To save money on airfares, sometimes it is cheaper to book a flight with one or more layovers instead of a direct flight. If the layovers are long enough, you can tour the place where you are transiting, thus adding to the number of destinations that you visit on your trip. All it takes is a little creative booking of your flights by comparing the prices of direct flights against flights with intermediate stops. You would think that direct flights would be cheaper because the flight distance is shorter, but there are other factors that come into play such as the demand for direct flights by business travelers and the amount of competition on different routes.

7.      Rent a Furnished Apartment for Long Vacations

Use popular websites like Airbnb to rent great apartments if your vacation will last more than one week. Apartments will be cheaper than hotels and you will get to purchase and cook your own food, which will save you even more money.

8.      Don’t Buy Snacks at the Airport

Even the smallest of items are terribly overpriced at airports because the food and beverage outlets there have to pay very high lease costs. To save money, prepare your own snacks at home and carry them with you for your flight.

9.      Eat at Local Restaurants

You can always find local restaurants by walking a few blocks from your hotel. The food will be often be better and cheaper than hotel restaurants, and certainly much better than those touristy restaurants which populate major tourist attractions. Dining at local restaurants also offers a chance to interact with locals while saving you money.

10.  Buy Tickets from Airline Websites

As you search for cheap flights, you will encounter multiple websites offering great deals and discounts if you buy your ticket using their links. But before you click a link to purchase, visit the airline’s own website to do a final comparison. Sometimes the fare will be lower if you book your flight on their site. You can also take advantage of Travelocity coupon codes at Groupon for example.

11.  Travel Off-Season

Hotels and airlines offer great discounts during off-peak seasons. Avoid traveling during Christmas, Easter and summer school holidays so as to find better bargains. And as a plus, holiday destinations are less crowded in off-peak seasons.

Studies have shown that traveling has numerous benefits. But if you overspend during your trip, there is sure to be a gloomy shadow over these benefits. The tips above will help you enjoy your vacation without going over budget.