My wife, Monica and I are like most people.
We form part of the middle-income working class.
We need to get by every month and think about how to balance revenue and expenses on a weekly or monthly basis.
But, after year-long savings and planning, we finally can decide on our next holidays.
It still does not mean that we will have a crazy shopping spree when we travel.
We are both travel enthusiasts, who love bang for your buck travel plans.
I will give you our ultimate money-saving tips while enjoying your next vacation:
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1. Be flexible on your travel plans
My first saving hack will be to keep your schedule as flexible as possible when you decide on the dates of your travel.
Keep tabs on airlines like Southwest or Delta for their special offers or deals.
As soon as news break about great sale prices, jump in and save $$$!
You can also use apps like Skyscanner to give you all travel fares during your chosen dates to your destination.
As for which destination to go, you can save money by going during the off-season, where prices will be lower due to lower demand.
2. Check Groupon or Klook for best deals on attractions
This is one of the best money-saving tips that my wife and I recommend a lot to our friends.
At your target destination, you will be tempted to visit the famous landmarks, impressive gardens or lively concerts.
Don’t be like the regular chump who will buy tickets at the attraction’s counter at regular prices.
We live in a digital world and using it will reward you with coupons or discounts for the same attraction.
Give it a go and visit websites like Groupon or Klook for best deals or even the attraction’s own website to seek out the best prices.
Our favorite website to look for promotions is Klook and we use it all the time when we want to go traveling. We always check for sim cards and attractions via Klook because we know they actually give you a very good price.
Check out Klook here (by signing up, you’ll receive a $3.2 gift! How cool is that?)
3. Browse incognito
The digital world can be rewarding but can also be tricking you as your browser allows travel sites to receive your travel history and raise prices.
My saving hack is to enable private browsing or clearing your cache, and avoiding ripoff prices.
4. Prefer Airbnb rather than a hotel
I personally prefer AirBnB rather than hotels.
I save a lot of money with AirBnB as prices are generally lower (20-30% lower) than hotel prices.
The local host of an Airbnb can be very helpful as he/she can give you advice and hints about what to do in the city.
In many listings, prices include a washing machine/dryer at your disposal to wash your clothes.
You will avoid paying the high prices of laundry in a regular hotel. Sign up to Airbnb so you will get a cool offer! (By clicking this link you will get a $34 discount off your first trip and we got some commission too! a Win-win for us!)
5. Avoid minibar or the morning breakfast if you stay at a hotel
Okay, you may prefer a hotel rather than an Airbnb, as mentioned above.
In that case, if you want to save money, forget that the minibar in your room exists in the first place.
You can get the same stuff at the corner shop in front of your hotel, rather than paying much more just for the sake of convenience.
In the morning, you can skip the hotel morning breakfast and find some cheaper street food.
The added benefit is that you can have a lot more choices when opting for street food.
6. Bring an empty bottle at the airport and avoid paying overpriced water
I would have loved that prices for products like food be the same everywhere we go.
But it is astounding to see basic needs like bottled water being sold at rip-off prices in airports.
Therefore, one trick I always do is to bring an empty water bottle (my recommendation!) in my backpack.
After you’ve passed the security check, you can use the empty bottle to fill it up at the nearest water fountain.
And voila! Fresh drinking water without the expensive price tag. One of the easiest things to do of all these money-saving tips for you!
7. Avoid unnecessary add-ons during your flight
My next saving hack is to keep your flight booking and amenities simple.
To save money, there is no need to pay for add-ons like priority boarding or the extra legroom space.
If there is no in-flight screen or entertainment, bring your own tablet or laptop, filled up with your favorite movies.
No need to take out your wallet to pay for entertainment.
8. Use a luggage scale
In the past, due to my little travel experience, I was faced between paying excess baggage charges or throwing out stuff that I bought during my vacation.
And of course, I chose the former and had to cash out around $250 to return home with my stuff.
Well, after this traumatic experience, I decided to add this as one of my many money-saving tips and to always carry around a luggage scale. A luggage scale like this one is perfect to check on the weight of your suitcase prior to departure.
Bye Bye, Excess baggage fees! Never again!
9. Buy a local sim card to avoid paying roaming charges
Another hack is to purchase a local sim card when you arrive in a foreign country.
Having a good data package in the sim definitely helps to know where I am going (using Google Maps) and to communicate with my loved ones (using Skype or WhatsApp).
No need to rely on inconsistent and expensive roaming charges.
Be sure that your phone is unlocked, prior to your departure.
Like I said in the previous tip, you can find a sim card in Klook for a quite good price and no hassle at all.
When my wife and I go to Bangkok, Thailand a couple of times ago, we always purchased a sim card via Klook and make our travel easier! Because you can pick it up at the airport where you land.
10. Buy a tourist travel pass for unlimited travel
Many countries now promote tourism by proposing some form of a special tourist travel pass for unlimited travel during a specific time.
If you intend to move to a lot of places by the local commute, then the travel pass is for you as it is more economical than paying the regular fares.
However, you may be stuck for a whole day in an attraction like a theme park, leaving your travel pass virtually unused for the whole day.
Therefore, plan your days well to maximize the use of the unlimited travel pass.
Note: Last time when we travel to Japan, we purchase a travel pass via Klook and it’s so easy to pick it up. Check out Klook here.
11. Organize your day
I mentioned about planning well your travel days and I will double down on this point.
Some cities like Tokyo or Paris are packed and their attractions and landmarks can be close to each other.
Check well the locations of your favorite places to visit and combine them all together in specific travel days to save time, energy and money of course.
12. Prefer ATMs than Money Changers
Another saving hack is to save on exchange fees by taking out the local currency through the country’s local ATM.
You will almost always get a better exchange rate at local ATMs rather than from money changers, who may have their commission fees and worse exchange rates.
Be sure to inform your bank or debit/credit card operator about your travel at least one week prior to departure, to avoid any security restrictions.
13. Bargain hard when shopping
If you want to do some shopping, avoiding the popular malls is a must.
My saving hack is to ask where the locals go for their shopping to find better prices but are sure to bargain as well.
And use the cash payment as an argument to reap some good deals.
If it doesn’t work, walk away.
The vendor usually will not want to lose a sale and will settle on a better price.
14. Not everything overseas is cheaper.
You are traveling casually and found a sale on an item you like in a local store.
You may think that this deal is better than in your own country.
But you may be wrong. I’ve been there.
Do your due diligence and compare prices at your store back home or online sites like Amazon or eBay.
You can do this if you want to purchase something with higher prices such as phones or laptops. You may be surprised to find better deals elsewhere.
One of the best money-saving tips that I always do.
15. If it’s free, please do.
In many countries including yours, there is always free stuff to do, without taking out your wallet.
There can be free events, exhibitions or festivals to visit and enjoy.
You can ask your local Airbnb host who will gladly point you in the right direction.
There are also many locals who wish to help and show tourists around and discover their beautiful cities.
It usually is a free voluntary service and has many good reviews from past travelers.
Of course, you can repay the service by giving a tip or handing a souvenir to the helpful guide.
16. Bring your own groceries from home or privilege street food
If you want to keep your food cost lower, you can bring in some basic cheap foods like cup noodles in your luggage to eat during your vacation.
You can also privilege street food vendors rather than restaurants or food court in a mall.
Street food will be a lot cheaper than in fancy places.
17. If you really want to eat at a restaurant
If you really want the restaurant experience, choose to do so during lunch, to benefit from lunch deals and savings.
For drinks, if the water is free, drink it as much as you want and save money in the process.
And that has wrapped up everything that we do to save money while traveling.
Since not all people can travel in luxury, these tips really help us but also we’ve been able to enjoy our trip without worrying about how much money left.
Traveling becomes a breeze when you don’t have anything to worry about, right? We do hope these money-saving tips could help you too.
Let us know in the comment other money-saving hacks that you do while traveling. We would love to know it too!