Traveling on a Budget

How I Save a Ton on Travel Expenses

Updated on March 21, 2020 Updated on March 21, 2020
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"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." —Martin Buber

You work hard and you want to play hard too.  I’m right there with you and personally I think taking an awesome vacation is the best reward for working hard all year-long.

Traveling has always been very important to me and I’ve been very lucky to have taken many vacations and even lived abroad with my family. Throughout the years my family and I have developed a few tricks which we’ve used to save a ton on travel expenses.

I find it especially easy to overpay on travel so I’d like to share a few of our tricks to help you save.  Since you’ve already committed to spending a lot of money on your trip, companies don’t really have to work that hard to get you to spend more than you need.  So you need to be vigilant if you want to get more vacation for your money

Book a Professionally Planned Trip

Save a ton on travel with Groupon Getaways!

I’ve got to admit, I’ve planned very few of the trips that I’ve taken.  Either my parents when I was younger and now my fiancé do most of the planning.

It’s a ton of work and it can be really stressful.  You want to have the best vacation ever but there is just so much research required and life doesn’t just slow down so you can plan a vacation.

Last year my fiancé and I were browsing around looking for ideas for places to go and we stumbled upon Groupon Getaways.  One trip that really stuck out was their trip to Australia!

The trip included round trip airfare from LAX, airfare between Brisbane, Carnes and Sydney, 10 nights in hotels across the various cities we stayed in and a ton of activities (like snorkeling the Great Barrier Reefs or hiking though the Daintree Rainforest).

All of the above was $2500 a head or roughly $250 a day (hotel and excursions included)! Assembling this kind of deal yourself would be impossible without connections in the industry.  Round trip airfare between LAX and Sydney is a minimum of $1500 per person.  That would mean all of the hotels, activities and inter-country flights would have to break down to less than $100 a day.  That’s just not going to happen.

I definitely recommend Groupon Getaways because I took the trip a trip of a lifetime though them and it was a great experience!  LivingSocial Escapes has very similar offerings and I’ve heard great things from my friends who have taken their trips. Really, it just comes down to which deal site has the trip that you want to take.  All things considered, these sites come up with deals that are very tough to beat!

Discover Cool Excursions And Save

The first big vacation my fiancé and I went on was to Spain.  We pieced the entire trip together ourselves and wound up flying into Madrid, staying for 4 days, flying to Barcelona, saying for another 4 days and then flying home.

Europe was a bit easier for us to book and organize ourselves because it is pretty modern and there are tons of reviews for various hotels and whatnot on the internet.  That said, we only loosely planned our daily activities and relied heavily on our Lonely Planet guide (best travel guides EVER!).

While our Lonely Planet guide was great for covering the need-to-dos and must-eats, we found ourselves at a loss for what to fill most of our days with.  We wanted to experience the culture, explore on our own and mostly stay away from tour guides.  After a lot of searching the web in our hotel room, we came across Viator.

Viator is basically a local hub for fun things to do.  You don’t even have to be on vacation for it to be useful.  More importantly, they pride themselves on being cheaper than everyone else and if you check back often, you’re likely to catch a deal in action!

We booked vespas and drove around Barcelona, experienced a real non-touristy salsa club and went to a killer local jazz club.  We got our ideas from checking Viator’s website (and app), booked everything though them and then just made sure we were there when the events were about to start.

Overall it was an excellent experience.  We got all of our activities dirt cheap and we only bought tickets for them maybe 8 – 12 hours in advance!

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Get A Slick Pad For Less Than A Hotel

Save a ton on travel expenses with AirBNB

The years of the hotel monopoly are over.  Now normal people can compete directly with hotels and as with all forms of competition, we win. AirBNB is a cool new startup from Silicon Valley and they’ve refined the lost art of apartment rentals.

It use to be that you would need to research for hours just to find a hotel.  The hotel would most definitely be over priced but you would have no easy alternatives and since you’re in a foreign city you don’t want to risk your vacation by doing business with some random person.

AirBNB lets you rent your apartment while you’re on vacation (to help pay for your vacation) and rent someone else’s for a very reasonable price.  When I was in London with my family we stayed at an apartment in the center of the city.  We had a full kitchen with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and it came out to be less than the price of the Marriott for a smaller room!

I’m still experimenting with AirBNB and I may try to rent out my Condo for my next trip.  I will definitely be renting an apartment to stay at though because we wound up saving cash and having a better experience when compared to the cookie cutter hotels we were use to.

Do More on your Vacation, Save a Ton on Travel!

Use these tools to your advantage and don’t throw your money away.  No matter if you’re looking for a pre-planned vacation, a way to make money while you’re on vacation or just some things to do while you’re there; there are plenty of tools that can help you while saving at the same time!

Do you have any unique tricks you’ve used to save money on travel? Be sure to share it with us in the comments!

Andrew Fiebert - Chief Nerd
Andrew Fiebert is a thirty-something soon-to-be father of twins, a self-professed data nerd, and has worked as a Data Engineer for Barclays Capital and iHeartRadio. He's spent the past six years growing LMM into a multi-six-figure business with over 500 hours of free personal finance education that reaches over 1 million people every month. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science and has been featured in Quartz, Forbes, Business Insider, and The Telegraph.

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