5 Travel Hacks to Save Money on Your Next Trip

Although summer is coming to a close, the next big travel season is kicking back up again thanks to the holidays. It might feel too early to think about holiday travel, but let’s be honest, those Halloween decorations are already creeping onto store shelves.

According to Skyscanner, August is the best month to book flights domestically while September is ideal when booking international travel. If you’re looking for ways to save money on your next vacation, there are other travel hacks to keep in mind aside from good timing.

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1. Sign-up for travel deal alerts

Spending time scouring travel websites for the cheapest flights and deals is time-consuming. This is especially true if you’re considering multiple destinations or if you haven’t quite decided on where you want to go.

Instead of devoting countless hours comparing flight costs, using a travel deal resource, like Scott’s Cheap Flights or GTFO Flights. These alerts can help you narrow your research and find flight deals of up to 90% off. Simply sign-up for email alerts and you’ll get information on competitively priced flights for domestic and international destinations.

2. Be flexible

If you have the luxury of getting away at any time, being flexible with your vacation dates can help you secure affordable flights and accommodations. According to FareCompare, a travel website, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are usually the cheapest days to fly. Also, it found that weekdays are usually more affordable than weekend flights for international travel. 

One of the best travel tips when looking for flights on a budget is using the Skyscanner app. It offers a nifty feature for spontaneous travelers under its “Last Minute” recommended destinations section. Here you’ll find the best flight deals on domestic and international trips, including the specific days for the deal and popular attractions in the area.

3. Capitalize on credit card rewards

Aside from taking advantage of flight deals and keeping an open mind when it comes to your out-of-office dates, using a rewards credit card for travel purchases is one of the most valuable travel tips.

These credit cards let you earn rewards on your everyday purchases, like dining out and at gas stations. You can then redeem those rewards for travel expenses, like at your favorite hotel or to pay for part or all of your flight costs. As long as you’re using your card responsibly by paying off the entire statement balance each month, rewards cards can be a lucrative tool for savvy travelers.

4. Pack like a pro

Checking in luggage is not only costly, but it’s also cumbersome. Instead of cramming your entire closet into your travel bag, being thoughtful about what you pack— and how— can save you money. And if you’re traveling with the family, whittling down your travel wardrobe can save hundreds in roundtrip checked baggage fees. 

Most airlines let you bring a carry-on bag for free. Challenge yourself by sticking to one carry-on luggage when traveling. It might sound impossible if you’re guilty of being a chronic over-packer, but sticking to a “travel capsule” wardrobe can help.

The general rules of a travel capsule wardrobe are:

  • Selecting 10 items or less (this includes shoes)

  • Choosing a definitive color scheme (solids and prints, in neutral tones, are helpful)

  • Sticking to wrinkle-free fabrics that can be hand-washed 

  • Identifying items that can be used in at least three different outfits

  • Layering for warmth, instead of packing chunky pieces and fabrics

The goal is versatility without sacrificing comfort and style. Once you’ve selected your 10 items, wear your heaviest or bulkiest items on the plane while packing everything else in your carry-on bag. Pro tip: roll your clothing to save space in your luggage for other items, like shoes, toiletries, and electronics.

5. Explore like a local

Visiting all the tourist hotspots might be on your vacation bucket list, but these attractions are often pricey and crowded. If you’re open to getting off the beaten path, consider asking the locals for their personal recommendations. You’re more likely to encounter a hidden gem by avoiding curated tourist traps and doing as the locals do.

Related: How to Practice Good Tipping Etiquette While on Vacation

If you still want a guided experience, consider researching free city tours or visiting a public museum which can be free or low cost.

Following these travel tips can help you get the most value out of your vacation without losing out of a memorable experience.

Jennifer Calonia