Want a guilt free splurge on your next trip? Here are 5 easy ways to find extra money.
There is nothing I love more than tracking down a great deal and if it's travel related- all the better! Our travel budget is never as big as our travel dreams, so making ends meet requires some bargain hunting, some crafty savings strategies, and some savvy travel hacks. There are a lot of lists out there that focus on all the ways you can cut back on your budget to find extra money to travel. Personally, I love these lists - there's a lot of inspiration to be found there - but they're not always realistic (or palatable) for everyone, ourselves included.
Instead I thought I'd look at 5 easy, creative, pain free ways you can save or find some extra money for your next trip, whether it's $25 or $250. Get ready to start indulging your travel dreams, big and small!
$25 - Trade coffee for wine
I love, love, love the moment you check in and see your bed after hours (or maybe even days) of travel. Wouldn't it be nice to unwind with a great meal and treat yourself to a bottle of wine? But if you're anything like me you DO sweat the small stuff, like an extra bottle of wine here or there, because you know that small costs can add up quickly. So here's the compromise - and the challenge. Can you give up your favourite treat (or vice) for one week before your trip? Just one week, I swear!
For me, that vice is coffee shops. Small expenditures while writing in a coffee shop can add up really quickly. For someone else, it might be giving up one night of your usual take out or brown bagging your lunch for a few days. Cut out a few treats at home and you can afford a few more treats - much more memorable treats -during your trip. You won't miss those lattes one bit when you're ordering your first bottle of local wine, guilt free.
And as an added bonus? Chances are your favourite treat - like mine - is less than healthy. We'd likely all benefit from living and eating more healthfully before we travel.
$50 -Win the luggage game
What's the best trip to try traveling with carry-on luggage? Your next one! (No matter where it is.) It's time to take the plunge and start saving. Traveling with just carry-on luggage is certainly challenging, but I've always maintained that the rewards are well worth it. No more worrying about lost luggage. No more wasting time at check in or hanging around the carousel. And no more paying for checked bags!!!
At $25 per bag per flight, you'll be spending a minimum of $50 a person for each trip. A couple who take three round trip flights a year would save at least $300! I'd much rather use that money for a guilt free purchase at a market; maybe some homemade jewelry or a silk scarf (or coffee, lots and lots of glorious Kona coffee! See, who needs the coffee shop?)
Still convinced you need more luggage? Why not see if you can have your cake and eat it too? Checked luggage fees are waived by Canadian airlines for military and police members and those carrying humanitarian supplies. Your reward status or your airline branded credit card might entitle you to free checked luggage as well. Read the fine print and ASK!
$100 - Buy a guidebook
Sometimes you need to spend money to save money. In a world of apps, crowd-sourced review platforms - and even travel blogs! - do you really need a guidebook? My answer is a resounding YES and I never travel without one.
A guidebook will tell you what day of the week the museum or art gallery is free to visit. A guidebook will tell you which restaurant offers a special half-price chef's tasting menu. A guidebook will help you pull together your own free walking or cycling tour. And the trusted voice a guidebook will reassure you when you take the plunge into budget travel. It will walk you through your first hostel visit and it will you know what discount tour providers are credible and which should be avoided.
$200 - Try the $200 Challenge
When I committed to my first $200 Challenge, I thought it would be a one time thing, an experimental travel exercise to challenge preconceived notions about budget travel. I wanted to prove that 2 people could travel for 2 days and only spend $200. And I wanted to prove that you can travel WELL for $200! The $200 Challenge in Boston included lobster - not too shabby!
The $200 Challenge has had an interesting side effect. It's become a bit of a blue print for people to cut their travel costs in half -yes, in half! If you want to trim $200 (or much more) from your trip budget, challenge yourself to do your own $200 Challenge. You'll save at least $200 compared to traditional travel costs and it's also a great way to step outside your usual travel box!
$250: Go all inclusive
Everyone has their favourite breakfast and for us it's often our biggest meal of the day when we travel. A great breakfast fuels our busy day and I'm convinced that hearty, healthy meals are the key to helping us get over jet lag. But while breakfast may remain the best meal of the day, it's definitely no longer the cheapest. We don't exactly go to fancy places but even two bagels and two smoothies can ring in at $20 - and don't get me started on how much it can cost for full platters with juice and coffee on the side!
We've found that the price difference between just a hotel room and an all inclusive package can be pretty close to the price of those gourmet breakfasts we favor. By upgrading to an all inclusive deal, we're still spending the same amount as we would for hotel + breakfast (or pretty close to it), but we're getting so much more. Suddenly there IS such a thing as free lunch after all! Even if still eat some of your meals off property you're still enjoying a nice savings.
And what can you do with a bonus $250? Why, anything you want! Hire a private guide for the day. Indulge in some spa treatments. Use it to fund a few bonus days of travel later on in the year - and maybe set out on your own $200 Challenge!
Let's hear it for making more travel possible!
Ryan and I haven't travelled as much and as far as we have because we're secretly filthy rich, or because we work for an airline, or because we have a wealthy benefactor (though we wouldn't turn one down!) It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of planning, and every now and then we come across a savvy tip that makes all the difference and we know that we have to pass it on. We'd love to hear from you and learn about your best savings tips!
Spill your secrets! What's the craftiest thing you've done to save money when you travel?
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