How To SAVE MONEY While Traveling In 2023
Updated: Sep 25
Your favorite Dallas Magician and his lovely wife in Greece
Nobody likes to spend money where they don't have to, especially when it comes to vacations! My wife and I LOVE to travel and have made lots of mistakes along the way. One of those mistakes was spending huge chunks of money on unnecessary things, when it could've been spent on experiences.
Learn from my mistakes and add these money saving ideas into your next vacation.
Don’t pay full price for airline tickets
One of the most expensive parts of traveling is the cost of the flights. In fact, the initial sticker shock of plane tickets is what scares off a lot of travelers.
You should never have to pay full price for a flight! Scott’s Cheap Flights has helped make traveling WAY more affordable and I haven’t paid full price for a ticket ever since becoming a member. They also have a free program that sends you all of the cheap flights they find; you should totally check it out!
Flights that would normally cost $1200 for a round-trip ticket are suddenly $400. Some of the round-trip deals we’ve taken advantage of are Spain for $350, Ireland for $425, Japan for $475, Italy for $480 and London for $450. For a premium membership the cost is only $40 a year, which gets you first access to the discovered flights and allows you to filter by your desired airports.
Another way to save on airfare is by flying the plane yourself!
Something to take into consideration is even if your initial flight into the country includes a checked bag, your other flights may charge for them. After paying hefty fees for 4 flights our first international trip, we decided that we won’t be victims to it again and started traveling out of a carry on sized back pack.
You won’t have to worry about your bag being lost or rummaged through and it saves you money and stress!
Bonus tip: With limited space available, you wont be able to buy dumb souvenirs that you throw away a year later or eventually sell at a garage sale!
Eat out once a day
It’s tempting to eat as much as you can when you’re traveling. It’s so fun to try new foods and go wild! Depending on the conversion rate and where you’re eating, money can disappear way too quickly.
What we like to do is eat out at a restaurant for one meal per day. We typically get a room that has a mini fridge, and shop at a local grocery store. We’ll start our day with breakfast at “home” and pack a picnic lunch. You can do this on the go, in a park, at the café section of a museum, or anywhere else you can think of. It not only saves you money but also precious time while traveling!
Bonus tip: If you want to eat at a more expensive restaurant, go during their lunchtime hours. Prices are always cheaper!
One of our humble home cooked meals while in Poland
Not traveling Alone? Use Airbnb!
International hotels can be incredibly expensive but they don’t have to be a part of your trip. If you’re not traveling on your own I would recommend using Airbnb.
From renting a bedroom in someone’s home to having an apartment all to yourself, Airbnb has options for every budget imaginable.
It’s a great way to save money as well as give you a little bit more personal space. Every accommodation is reviewed and rated by other users, so you’ll know exactly what to expect ahead of time.
We use Airbnb on every single trip and it has helped us make new friends as well as experience things that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
Traveling off-season is a great way to avoid the chaotic crowds during your trip, and it also can help you save some money. A lot of places are more expensive during peak times like summer or around Christmas, so going in their off-season is a great way to get cheaper prices on travel, accommodations, and attractions.
Each destination will have their own off-season, so be sure to do your research and figure out what time would work best for your trip!
Off-season travel can still be beautiful!
Use public transportation
It can be really tempting to use a taxi as your mode of transportation, especially if you don’t know how to get somewhere. But the problem is taxis are expensive, can be caught in traffic, and could lead to you possibly getting scammed.
My advice is to always try and use the transportation that the locals are using. If the city has a subway or rail line, take advantage of it like everyone else is, it will save you a LOT of money.
Bonus tip: Figure out all of the places you want to visit ahead of time and research what you’ll need to do to get there. The information you will need is: What train line to use, what is the nearest station to your destination, what direction do you need to go to get there, and how to obtain a ticket.
No one wants to stare at a map while you’re stressed out and in an unfamiliar place, so plan ahead and save yourself the trouble!
Subway cars can sometimes be cute!
Book your attraction tickets online AHEAD of time
A lot of attractions are more expensive if you purchase your tickets on-site. I have found that you can usually save at least 20% by booking your tickets online and printing them out ahead of time.
This also can help you save time from waiting in line. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve walked into a museum, looked around, and then walked out to see the same people STILL standing in line to buy a ticket.
The only downfall to this is that a lot of times you have to buy a timed entry ticket for a certain date. If you know your agenda and schedule ahead of time, this won’t be a problem at all.
Sightseeing City Pass
Life would be so much easier if everything were free to visit! The good news is that some big cities offer passes that allow you to go into most of their major attractions for a single price.
What we like to do is cross-reference our list of sites to see, with the sightseeing pass inclusions. We add up the costs of normal admission and compare it to the cost of the pass. When the city pass is right for us, we normally save around $40.
This isn’t something that’s always fool proof, but sometimes it works out great and helps you be flexible with your time.
Take overnight trains to your next destination
If you plan on visiting several countries during a single trip, one of the best ways of getting around is traveling by train.
Combine your accommodation and transportation by using a sleeper train. This way you can get to where you need to go, not waste any daylight, and have a place to sleep for one combined price.
I’ve found that most sleeper train tickets are comparable to one night’s stay in a hotel, which isn’t a bad price when you add in the fact that your hotel is on wheels.
Looking absolutely adorable on one of our many sleeper train rides
Skip the international fees
Some credit card companies will charge a fee for every international transaction. Can you imagine how much that would be at the end of a 2 week trip? Yikes!
The best thing to do is find a credit card that doesn’t have any international fees. After alerting them to your travel itinerary you’ll be able to spend to your heart’s content without worrying about any surprises during your next billing cycle.
So what do you think? Will you be able to start applying some of these ideas to your next trip? I'm not just a Dallas Magician who loves to travel, I'm more importantly a person who LOVES to see my money go farther!
Stay tuned for more travel tips coming up- you won't want to miss out on my top picks for useful travel tools!
Want more? Check out my blog on ideas for a work holiday party!