I mean I’m addicted.
Nothing quiets the soul like getting to see the world, meeting new people, trying new food and waking up in new places.
Back when I worked full-time, lived at my parents and was child-free, every holiday (and I was a teacher, so I had quite a few), I would jet off to somewhere new.
While I certainly wasn’t very good with money back then, I still had some sense to look for deals or ways to save on my travel adventures.
And now that we are a single income family, with two children, I try to save every last penny when it comes to travelling.
This is how I do it:
This is seriously SO simple. I really don’t understand why people don’t shop through cashback sites. I mean, all you have to do is click a couple of buttons and then go through your normal online shopping process – and you save money! It’s so easy, I promise it’s worth a few extra seconds!
How much can you save? It all depends on the site and what promotions they’re currently running. For instance, Expedia and Priceline typically give 2% cashback on Swagbucks, but right now they’re running promos with up to 11% cashback! Ebates.ca offers 4% cashback on Expedia (right now there’s a promo for 8%) and 2% at Priceline (promo for 4% right now).
2. Bid on Rooms
I kid you not, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by bidding on my hotel rooms with Priceline (don't forget to use ebates.ca, ebates.com or swagbucks to get cashback when you book). I’ll admit, it takes some time to get the lowest deals, but it’s really worth it!
Do a normal search to see what’s available where you want to go first. Then, find the lowest priced room at the star level you want to stay (that’s most likely the room you’ll get – but not always). Bid around 80% lower than that price. If that bid is rejected, bid 75% after their permitted time (usually 24 hours) passes (or be sneaky and your travel companion do the next bid). Continue doing this until you get the room!
3. Stay in a House
What better way to immerse yourself in a culture and the real life of your destination, than to rent someone’s home there! Not only will you get to experience life as a local, but you’ll also be able to save money too! Sites like Airbnb and HomeforExchange can hook you up with a place to stay almost anywhere.
4. Stay with People
When I traveled Guatemala, I did a language Immersion program. The school offered me accommodations with a local family within walking distance to the campus and gladly accepted. It was honestly the best experience ever! This family had a beautiful home, and my room overlooked a spectacular garden. They also had 4 other rooms that they hosted students in. We all shared meals together that the host family prepared - so I got 3 daily homemade Guatemalan meals - amazing! I made incredible friendships and memories there, while at the same time supporting a local family and saving money.
5. Get an ISEC Card
The ISEC (International Student/Youth/Faculty card) gives its members discounts worldwide! I used this card while backpacking through Europe, and saved tons! I saved on train tickets, hostel bookings, and even about $400 on my flight! It’s seriously worth the $15 for a mobile card or $25 for a mobile and plastic card! You do have to prove that you are a student or faculty member, so maybe time to enroll for a class or two?
6. Get a Journey Pass
If you’re not a student, youth or faculty, and the thought of going back to the books makes you cringe, while a little more expensive, a Journey Pass can also give you exclusive discounts and offers. You get a 14-day trial for just $4.95 and after that it’s $24.95/month (until you cancel), but with it you get discounts on all-inclusive travel, cruises, hotels, food, fun, car rentals, airline tickets and even free hotel room upgrades! Definitely a handy membership to have when planning a trip.
7. City Passes
If you are headed to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, NYC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay or even Toronto – check out City Pass. Each City Pass is unique to the individual city and offers amazing discounts (some over 50%) on admission to the most popular tourist locations, and often front of the line access! Why pay more money to stand in line?
8. Group Buy
Whenever we travel, we head over to Groupon and Wagjag to see what savings are available in the city we are headed to. In doing so, not only have we saved on meals, but also discovered amazing little local places that we would have otherwise totally missed!
9. Call Home for Less
I don’t know about you, but my cell phone roaming charges are insane! I spent 4 days in Vegas, and had over $300 worth of roaming fees when I got back home!!!
Now when I travel out of Canada, I look for worldwide sim cards offered by sites like Mobal. That way, I know exactly how much my out of country calls are going to cost and of course can snap more pictures directly to Instagram!
10. Protect your Stuff
Did you know that 12000 laptops are lost each week in the US alone? 8000 of them are never returned because the owners cannot be found.
It’s no surprise that during the hustle and bustle of travelling, things get misplaced. How many movies and TV shows have you seen where an airline has misplaced an item leading to calamity in the protagonist’s life?
Fortunately, Okaban has an awesome service allowing you to register your most important valuables, so if they get lost in transit, they can be more easily recovered and returned to their rightful owner.
So there's my top 10 save on travel tips.
How do you save on travel?