Frugal Travel Tips: Save Money on Your Holidays


frugal travel tipsHolidays are a special time to get away, relax, and have a bit of an adventure. However, many of us put off big trips perennially due to cost and budget restrictions. With several ways to save before you go and once you’re on the road, you don’t have to let finances stand in the way of your dream trip.

Before you go:

Shop around for airfares

Always check several websites and use those that allow you to pick flexible dates and nearby airports to help you find the lowest fares. Additionally, Bing’s farecast function estimates how flight prices will fluctuate, helping you pick the cheapest time to purchase tickets.

Give up small luxuries

Having a dedicated “rainy day” or travel fund is always a good way to practice some disciplined saving, but sometimes you want that fund to grow just a little faster. For a year, a friend of mine gave up drinking at the pub and instead saved the money he would have spent on pints for a round-the-world trip. Not everyone can rise to this level of commitment, but consider eliminating a small, specific luxury from your daily life and banking that money in a separate travel fund instead. Starbucks every morning? Bacon roll Fridays? Wispa from the corner shop after lunch? A small price to pay for your big trip.

While you’re travelling:

Take your time

The longer a trip you take, the easier it is to save: convenience & speed inherently cost money. Depending on your schedule, this isn’t always an option, but it’s worth being aware of what you’re paying for. As an added benefit, going at a slower pace usually enhances your perception of a place and your travel experience as a whole. Anyone can climb the Eiffel Tower and eat a baguette in a weekend, but how many would say they have a favourite daily stroll through Luxembourg Gardens to ‘their’ boulangerie in the VIe arrondissement?

Be flexible

Flexibility will go a long way in helping you save money, from being able to travel out of season, which has the added benefit of keeping you away from the locust-like tourist hordes. Even just booking midweek flights can save pounds, not just pennies.

Ditch the hotel

Letting a flat for a holiday is much cheaper than a hotel and infinitely more comfortable than a hostel or cheap as chips guesthouse. As an added bonus, having a kitchen means that you can buy groceries and cook for yourself, saving on meals out.

Travel doesn’t have to be something you cut out just because you’re on a budget. Plan accordingly, do your research, take your time, and you’ll find you can still have a blast whilst being frugal!

Readers: Have you made travel plans for the Summer yet?  Have any frugal travel tips of your own you like to share?

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20 Responses to Frugal Travel Tips: Save Money on Your Holidays

  1. Retire By 40 04/15/2013 at 9:49 am #

    We are driving down to California for 2 weeks. In a couple of years, our kid will be old enough to appreciate international trips. For now, we’ll vacation mostly locally and drive. Hopefully we can find affordable hotels.

    • Paul 04/21/2013 at 9:14 pm #

      Sounds fun Joe! Have fun and be safe!

  2. Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin 04/15/2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I haven’t made any plans yet but I can attest that staying a home for rent is much cheaper than a hotel usually.

    • KC @ genxfinance 04/16/2013 at 7:52 am #

      They’re cheaper and a lot more comfortable too.

      • Paul 04/21/2013 at 9:16 pm #

        Thanks for stopping by KC!

    • Paul 04/21/2013 at 9:16 pm #

      My daughter and I look forward to a camping trip every summer. A lot of fun and inexpensive!

  3. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce 04/18/2013 at 3:19 am #

    Great tips here, Paul! Traveling really stinks when you are on a tight budget like we are. I find that creating a savings account and putting a tiny bit of money in there monthly really does the trick!

    • Paul 04/21/2013 at 9:19 pm #

      It takes some extra effort but you can travel fairly inexpensively. Staying with friends and family is at the top of the list!

  4. Amy 04/18/2013 at 7:09 am #

    Having a flat as a base with a kitchen can really save a lot as you can make breakfast, pack a lunch to go sightseeing and you have saved a fortune just on that day.

    • Paul 04/21/2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Good tip Amy!

  5. Felix Lee 04/22/2013 at 9:27 am #

    I actually plan a few months before I plan to travel. I look for best deals and arrange good schedules for everyone so as not to spoil the fun and the budget as well. Planning ahead of time makes a lot of difference.

  6. Mike 04/22/2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Hi Paul,

    Practical consumers will surely love your recommendations. It’s still seven months away before the holiday season starts but we can use these tips on holiday travel and renouncing unnecessary luxury items.

    • Paul 04/23/2013 at 6:16 pm #

      I was thinking Memorial Day and Fourth of July as the beginning of the Summer Holiday Travel Season! ;) Can’t forget Labor Day either!

  7. The College Investor 04/24/2013 at 8:17 pm #

    I agree, renting a holiday home can really save us money if we are going on a holiday with friends and family, but of course it does not have the convenience of staying at a hotel so for some people, they find it better to stay in a place where they do not need to the things they normally do at home and be free to relax and have fun.

    • Paul 04/24/2013 at 9:18 pm #

      That is true Robert. I guess it comes down to what you want out of your vacation. One of the best vacations we had was renting a home on Big Bear Lake in California. It was such a nice relaxing break form the hustle and bustle of the city!

  8. Lauren@Cheap Students 04/25/2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Just passed the information along to my parents who will be vacationing in Europe during the fall. I’ll also be trying to travel once I graduate and will definitely keep the flight predictor and house rental ideas in mind so I can save some extra $’s. Thanks for the tips.

    • Paul 04/27/2013 at 5:58 am #

      I would also recommend Airbnb for cheap house rentals. Congratulations on graduating Lauren!

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