Time & Money Management

Travel Destination Hacks: Save Cash While Vacationing

Find budget-friendly travel tips for your next vacation destination. Check out these frugal travel hacks for saving money on attractions and events. Learn how to plan your adventures so that you keep things affordable without sacrificing fun. Your dream vacation can be closer than you think, thanks to these budget-friendly tips and ideas for saving cash while at your destination.#frugal #budget #traveltips

You’ve searched for cheap locations, bargain accommodations, and found the best flights.  Now it’s time to score some deals on the places and events you’ll want to check out once you’re there.  Take a look at the best travel hacks for saving money at your travel destination.

Note: this is the sixth and final post in our Travel on a Budget series. Be sure to check out the additional posts below for more information!

Part 1: Travel on a Budget: See the World for Less

Part 2: Destination Travel Tips for Budget-Friendly Adventures

Part 3: Travel on a Budget: How Timing and Duration Impact your Wallet

Part 4: Budget Travel: How Accommodations Can Make or Break the Bank

Part 5: Travel Smart: Keep Transportation Charges in Check

Part 6: Travel Destination Hacks: Save Cash While Vacationing

Travel destination hack: be mindful

You have a limited amount of money to budget toward your family vacation.  Be mindful of where you want to splurge and where you want to save. Prioritize what’s important to you.  

When we are visiting a new travel destination, we prioritize adventures and activities. We’ll spend money on experiences, like ziplining in Hawaii, going on a cenote tour in Mexico, watching an Italian opera in an ancient amphitheater, or taking a cooking class from an Italian housewife in Tuscany. We can have some amazing experiences while respecting our budget because we trim other things that we don’t value, like fancy accommodations, loads of souvenirs, and eating out at every meal.  

You go on a vacation to visit places, take in the scenery, and enjoy the activities it has to offer. Why travel all that way for a hotel room?  Spend time considering what is most important for you and your family when you travel and allocate your finances around those priorities. 

For example, we stayed in a studio apartment in Princeville, Kauai.  By scoring cheap accommodations, we were able to enjoy several island experiences- including an afternoon DSLR photography class.

Find budget-friendly travel tips for your next vacation destination. Check out these frugal travel hacks for saving money on attractions and events. Learn how to plan your adventures so that you keep things affordable without sacrificing fun. Your dream vacation can be closer than you think, thanks to these budget-friendly tips and ideas for saving cash while at your destination.#frugal #budget #traveltips
A photo from our photography class we took in Kauai.

Travel destination hack: Scope out free activities and events

Kids visit free days 

While researching your destination city, do a quick search for museums, exhibits, or shows that might offer free or discount admissions for kids.  Some places also offer special days where kids get in free with a paying adult.

Many towns and cities offer a variety of free events that tourists can participate in.  Check out street fairs, free concerts, or local markets. Catch a free movie screening or play at a local park.  If there is a lake or beach nearby, scope out the free areas versus paying for access.

Travel destination hack: look for discounts

Check out Groupon and Living Social

If you know the specific places you want to visit or attractions you want to see at your travel destination, scope out Groupon, Living Social, or other discount sites to find deals.

Discount admissions

Check out the top places you want to visit at your travel destination to see if they offer any discounts.  For example, some places offer discounted admission after certain times of the day. Organize your itinerary around these special dates to get the most bang for your budgetary buck.

Also, check on admission discounts.  Sometimes you can snag cheaper entrance fees for students, teachers, seniors, or military. Always ask about travelers discounts (like AAA) or reciprocity agreements, too!  Some places have discount tickets if you have memberships to other venues (such as sister zoos, aquariums, or theme parks) in other cities.

Find budget-friendly travel tips for your next vacation destination. Check out these frugal travel hacks for saving money on attractions and events. Learn how to plan your adventures so that you keep things affordable without sacrificing fun. Your dream vacation can be closer than you think, thanks to these budget-friendly tips and ideas for saving cash while at your destination.#frugal #budget #traveltips

Travel destination hack: find tourism bundles or packages

Search online for location-specific deals & packages

Search online to discover deals and travel packages for your desired destination.  Be sure to check out the local chamber of commerce website for your destination city, as they can have some valuable information.  

Once at your travel destination, visit the local tourist information office for free brochures and maps, or scope out the brochure kiosk in the lobby if you are staying at a hotel. Often you can find coupons or discounts to places you want to see or activities you want to participate in.

Sometimes you might even find the opportunity to sit through a marketing presentation for a timeshare.  If you can handle the high-pressure sales tactics and have an hour or two on your hands, you can score some free tickets, accommodations, or trips for your troubles.

Passes

Cities that cater to tourists often have travel specials, or they cluster popular tourists spots into package deals.  For example, Tampa, Florida has a CityPass that gets you into five major tourist attractions at a 52% discount than purchasing individually.  

Passes might not be the best deal for everyone, especially if you weren’t going to attend all the options- but it can be a great value for some.

Tour Buses

Short on time but want to maximize your experiences?  Check to see if local companies offer hop on, hop off bus tours in the area.  This is a great way to see a city for less cash. I tried this for the first time in Barcelona, Spain, and it was amazing!  I selected which tour package I wanted, walked to the bus depot, bought a ticket, and was off to explore!

The great thing about these tours is that buses stop frequently and you can hop on or off any bus on the route.  You can take your time and enjoy some places for an extended period of time, or you can make a quick stop and hop right back on a bus to the next destination.  Many of the stops are free or included in your bus ticket price, but some had additional fees (check with the tour company to determine final pricing).

Travel destination hack: check out forums for advice and suggestions

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor is an amazing resource to use when planning your next adventure.  Check out things to do, places to see, and read reviews from thousands of travelers!

I have the TripAdvisor app downloaded to my phone and use it whenever we visit a new city or area.  It’s great for finding cool new restaurants, hidden local gems, and ensuring that you get value for your money.  

You can also read about any local happenings, such as farmer’s markets, street fairs, instances of crime, or weather-related issues.  When we were in Cancun, we used TripAdvisor to get updates on the sargassum seaweed issue that was plaguing the coast.

Check out travel bloggers

There are lots of great travel bloggers out there that provide tips and tricks that add value to your vacation.  Check out your destination with a specific search for travel bloggers and see what pops up!  If you have a Pinterest account, you can also find some great itineraries, tips, and tricks from bloggers and travel companies like Lonely Planet, Frommers, or Rick Steves.

Travel destination hack: be outdoorsy

Find budget-friendly travel tips for your next vacation destination. Check out these frugal travel hacks for saving money on attractions and events. Learn how to plan your adventures so that you keep things affordable without sacrificing fun. Your dream vacation can be closer than you think, thanks to these budget-friendly tips and ideas for saving cash while at your destination.#frugal #budget #traveltips

Plan outdoor activities

If getting out into nature is high on your list, consider planning activities or events at local or national parks.  You can read more about US National Park discounts and programs in our post on Destination Travel Tips for Budget-Friendly Adventures.

Camping and hiking are great pastimes that don’t require a lot of money.  A few supplies and some basic outdoor knowledge are all you need to travel on a budget in the woods.

If camping, national parks, and roughing it are far from your idea of quality time, consider sprinkling outdoor activities into your next travel adventure.  Nature walks, parks, and trails are often free and provide a great way to see the local area.

Instead of hiring a taxi or an Uber, consider walking to nearby tourist destinations or renting bicycles.  When we traveled to Lucca, Italy, we rented bicycles to tour the town and rode along atop its ancient walls.  It was one of the highlights of our trip, yet it was incredibly inexpensive.

Travel destination hack: frugal food choices

Pack your food

Instead of going out to a restaurant, opt for discovering a local park and enjoying a picnic. Purchase food at the market and find a great spot to dine with a view.  Or, scout out a place along a boardwalk or city center to enjoy the local sights and sounds with your budget-friendly packed lunch.

Avoid high tourist areas

Another tip is to venture a block or two out of the high tourist areas for your meal.  As you travel away from the tourist sights, you are offered cheaper meals with a more local flair.

Find budget-friendly travel tips for your next vacation destination. Check out these frugal travel hacks for saving money on attractions and events. Learn how to plan your adventures so that you keep things affordable without sacrificing fun. Your dream vacation can be closer than you think, thanks to these budget-friendly tips and ideas for saving cash while at your destination.#frugal #budget #traveltips

Eat out for lunch, not dinner

If you eat out, make lunch the meal to enjoy.  Many restaurants offer lunch specials to draw in a crowd during slower dining hours.  Enjoy a lot of the same options they provide at dinner for a fraction of the cost.  

If the foodie in you cannot resist enjoying the local fare, opt for purchasing from street vendors, BBQ’s, or cafeterias to cut costs.  You can walk and take in the area as you enjoy the cuisine.

Eat at home base

Whenever possible, buy groceries and eat in versus eating out for all of your meals.  Check out farmer’s markets for great pricing on local produce. This is especially critical when visiting destinations with a high cost of living.  

In Hawaii, we enjoyed breakfast and dinner at our condo and spent the bulk of our food budget on lunches while we were out and about (except for one nice dinner, which we splurge on at every travel destination).  

Our meals at home weren’t particularly fancy- eggs and toast, cereal, lunchmeat sandwiches with chips and fruit, or meatless dishes.  We opted for simple meals that didn’t require much prep or clean up because we wanted to spend our evenings enjoying the hot tub and pool. I mean, we were on vacation, after all!

B.Y.O.B.

Bring your own {water} bottle and save money throughout your trip! Pack reusable water bottles that you can refill during your travels. Many places have water fountains or fountain drink machines that dispense water for free. Save cash every time you stop by not needing to purchase beverages (this is especially huge if you’re traveling with kids!).

Find budget-friendly travel tips for your next vacation destination. Check out these frugal travel hacks for saving money on attractions and events. Learn how to plan your adventures so that you keep things affordable without sacrificing fun. Your dream vacation can be closer than you think, thanks to these budget-friendly tips and ideas for saving cash while at your destination.#frugal #budget #traveltips

Travel on a budget and get more for your travel destination dollar

Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean sitting in your hotel or condo because you can’t afford to do anything at your travel destination once you’re there.  Instead, with some forethought and planning, you can arrange for some epic experiences at a fraction of the cost!

Prioritize the events and attractions you most want to see or do.  Trim costs by finding discount tickets or special event pricing. Then, fill your remaining time with free or low-cost adventures.  

Budgeting is all about balance, whether it’s in your day-to-day life or while you’re out adventuring in the world!  Avoid spending money on things that aren’t that important to you by being intentional with your wallet.

If your travel dollars are limited, focus on spending in priority areas and cutting back in areas that aren’t that significant to you (like discount accommodations or meals out).   Make trades where you can, especially if they won’t sacrifice the quality of the experience.

By focusing on your priorities, and spending your travel dollars there, you’ll be able to enjoy an amazing adventure without breaking the bank.

 

Be sure to check out our other posts in this series!

Introduction: Travel on a Budget: See the World for Less

Part 2: Destination Travel Tips for Budget-Friendly Adventures

Part 3: Travel on a Budget: How Timing and Duration Impact your Wallet

Part 4: Budget Travel: How Accommodations Can Make or Break the Bank

Part 5: Travel Smart: Keep Transportation Charges in Check

 

 

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