How to Save Money on Travel – 6 Smart Hacks for Budget Travelers

Now that the world is opening up again, let’s talk about how to save money on travel! Learn these smart hacks for budget travelers, and how to save money on vacation so you can get out there and see the world!

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Save Money on Travel

In tough economic times, it can be difficult to plan a summer vacation if for nothing more than lack of available funds. But vacations can be a wonderful way to rejuvenate and relax to continue on with the daily struggles of life.

Unfortunately not everyone has the money to spend on their dream vacation, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t vacation at all. There are many ways to enjoy a vacation on a budget. Here are some tips how to plan a vacation on a tight budget!

Related reading: 10 Creative ways to save money on a tight budget

How to Save Money on Travel

1. How to Save Money on Travel: Get Cash Back on Trips

Rakuten is a cash back site that gives you a percentage back off your online purchases (and some in-store purchases too). The amount of money you can get back is anything from 2% to 12% or even 15% back from your purchase – this is huge!

Rakuten has partnered with thousands of stores, everything from Amazon to Best Buy, Target to Gap. And there are lots of travel sites and travel companies on Rakuten.

I have been using Rakuten for almost two years now. I love getting cash back on things I am buying anyways. The main issue for me with Rakuten was getting into the habit of using it. I had to get used to going to Rakuten’s website first, and then choosing the site I wanted to buy from, whether it was a travel site, Sephora, Walmart, etc.

I have saved money on travel by buying airline tickets through Rakuten. Since travel expenses usually cost more than clothing or household goods or other expenses, I really try to remember to go first through Rakuten, and then the travel site I’m looking at.

You can sign up for Rakuten for free here (and as a bonus you’ll get a $30 bonus just for signing up!).

2. Use These Discount Sites to Save Money on a Vacation

Using a discount travel site is one of the best ways to save money on travel.

By comparing prices with different websites and companies, the savings can be astounding. The deals should come from a reputable company that you have heard of and is accredited.

Here are four of my favorite travel sites to get great deals for your next vacation:

If an incredible deal is found on a travel website, it probably will not be there for long. Book quickly because websites will often advertise amazing deals for a limited amount of time. There often isn’t any warning for when they will be taken down off the website.

3. Use Undercover Tourist to Save Money on Travel to Theme Parks

If you want to know how to save money on a Disney vacation, you need Undercover Tourist.

Undercover Tourist is an authorized seller of discount theme park tickets to Disney, Disneyland, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and more.

They specialize in both Florida and California theme parks and resorts.

Available tickets will change all the time, but when I checked the Undercover Tourist site, they had deals like saving $61 on a single day ticket to SeaWorld Orlando versus the gate price. That is a huge saving!! If you want a multi-day theme park pass, you can save even more money on a Disney vacation.

If Disney and other theme parks are your thing, definitely check out Undercover Tourist and order up some tickets before you go.

4. Save Money on Travel by Driving

Flying is extremely convenient because a car ride that may take 8 hours would be an hour or less in an airplane. But, with that convenience, also comes a large price. Gone are the days when airfare was reasonable, in-flight meals were included, and bags fly for free.

So, with hiked up airfare costs and any additional costs that airlines may choose to tack on, flying can be very expensive. So, as an alternative when trying to vacation on a tight budget is to drive. Driving may take longer to reach the destination, but, the money saved would ultimately be worth it.

Plus, there is a lot to be said for slow travel! Before having my daughter I had no idea how much fun I would have on road trips with her.

If you’re planning a long road trip with kids, read this post. It gives my best tips for surviving (and loving!) long family road trips.

Related reading: Road trip hacks for kids: how we survived 28 hours in the car with our toddler

5. How to Save Money on Travel: Use Hopper for Flights

One of my favorite ways to save money on travel is by using the Hopper app. Hopper is a flight price predictor; it predicts prices for flights with 95% accuracy up to 1 year in advance.

The Hopper app analyzes prices daily to predict how prices will change, and tells you whether to buy or wait.

Pre-pandemic, I used Hopper to predict the best price on a flight to visit my family and it saved me a few hundred dollars. Hopper states that you can save up to 40% off of your flights, which is pretty darn a lot.

Hopper also predicts the best prices for hotels and rental cars.

Related reading: 6 Tips you need for air travel with a baby

6. How to Save Money on Travel Accommodations: Housing Swap

Another idea for planning a vacation on a budget is to do a housing swap.

This concept entails packing up and moving to another person’s house while they move into yours for a set amount of time. This can give budget vacationers the opportunity to see a new place without having to pay for costly hotel bills.

Also, by having access to a house, a kitchen also will be available, so you’ll save money on restaurant costs. Eating out in restaurants can increase the cost of a vacation super-fast, so cooking meals while away from home will save you lots of money.

Related reading: Epic tips to pay down your mortgage faster

Even on a budget, a vacation is attainable, and learning to be frugal is the key. Don’t think because funds are limited that the vacation is lacking in any way. The most important thing is to enjoy the time away from home, and have fun with the people you’re vacationing with.

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What is your favorite tip for how to save money on travel?

Suchot - The Curious Frugal
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 1 comment
  • Shelley Jobe Shelley Jobe on Jul 13, 2022

    You can also sign up to do house-sitting. I'm currently in Romania for 2 months. I care for a dog, cat and house plants. It is a nonpaid adventure but I don't pay for rent, utilities, etc. Just my food, flight, gifts and excursions.