It always seems that traveling is split right down the middle between spunky idealism and the need for practicality.
Any of the numerous famous travel quotes out there may have gotten you to leave your home at some point to see some other part of the world.
And yet, every trip, even if it’s just a few hours away, needs some level of planning, so you aren’t wasting any time or money. When you’re on the road, money is always the issue. It takes money to drive your car, fill it with gas, stay in a hotel or other accommodations, and get food wherever you’re going.
But not every trip needs to be a big money-suck. There are ways to see what you want to see while keeping your spending to a minimum.
So here are three ideas for keeping more of your money while you’re traveling.
Eat Out Less
We get it; when you’re traveling, it seems like your options are always just restaurants, restaurants, restaurants. That’s just what you do. If you’re away from home, you have to find a new place to eat three times a day. Not so, though.
You can always cook when you’re traveling. It just takes some planning to get it right. You can still buy all the cheaper ingredients you need from the grocery store, pack them away in ice or insulated bags, and cook meals for yourself either at a campfire or in a hotel suite.
Even the more modern options of Airbnbs or Vrbos will sometimes offer you kitchen access to cook your food. It’s entirely possible to save restaurant money this way. You need to get a little innovative!
Wait for the Off-Seasons
Unless you have some absolute need to travel to your desired location at the peak of the vacationing season–i.e., the beach in mid-July or the snowy mountains in mid-December–you can save some travel money by avoiding the high tourist times of the year.
Are you heading to a beach town for a few weeks? If you’re in the United States, why not do it in September? It’s still warm and quite pleasant outside, and yet Labor Day has passed, and school has returned.
Are you going to some cozy winter retreat for a while? Could you not do it around Christmas? Instead, wait for the off-season of January or February. Rates tend to be lower at these times, and you can still enjoy the locale all the same.
Ditch the Drinks
This one is common sense for anywhere you are, whether traveling or not, but it’s just intelligent: when you’re traveling, don’t do the drinks-at-the-bar thing.
We know it’s tempting to want to have a good time on vacation by slinging back a few drinks at the local watering hole, but alcohol is expensive when you’re out. It can add a considerable tab to your whole vacation.
If you like your alcohol when you’re away, consider getting your drinks before you leave and bringing them with you. It’s always cheaper to buy from a liquor store, and although you don’t have that exciting “public” factor this way, your wallet will thank you later.