February 23, 2015

5 Surprising Ways to Save Money While Traveling

5 Surprising Ways to Save Money While Traveling

You too can have this on a budget… Playa-Paraiso-Beach

1. Book a MORE expensive flight.

Sometimes the cheapest flights are false economy. Key examples of this are:

– when the cheapest flight leaves to early or arrives too late for your airport transportation e.g., you have to pay after midnight surcharges for cabs or shuttles, or you’re not able to take public transportation to/from the airport when you usually would do so. Other examples might be when

– you miss the last boat to an offshore island,

– getting from an airport served by budget airlines is more expensive

– your bag fees, seat selection, and meal charges add up to more than a full service airline

– you end up spending a lot of money on wifi, food, and drinks in the airport because of a long layover

– the cheaper flight involves keeping your rental car one day longer (rental cars are charged in 24 hour periods)

However, the #1 reason to book a convenient flight is that when you’re tired you’ll usually make stupid decisions e.g., leave your purse in a cab, or get suckered into buying rental car insurance you’re already covered for.

2. Eat out rather than self-cater.

There are many places in the world where self catering is more expensive than eating out for meals.

Self catering is often more expensive than eating out because of:

– the typically higher cost for self catering accommodation (maybe due to a higher cost of the lodging, or maybe because it results in higher transport costs to less central locations)

– buying ingredients in the supermarket adds up to more than eating at restaurants.

3. Stay at a hotel rather than a hostel.

There are quite a few times in our traveling careers when staying at a hotel has been cheaper than booking two dorm beds or a private room at a hostel.

For example,

– in New York dorm beds can be $50! A hotel for two people can be found for less than $100.

– in San Francisco and other places I’ve paid less for a 4* hotel on Priceline than the cost of a private room at the HI Hostels.

Airport hotels are often great bets for your last night (or first night) at a destination. For example, you can get to the airport cheaper in the morning for your flight, and you’re more likely to be able to check in early after a long day of traveling than you are at a hostel. Being able to check in early, which most hotels will permit, sure beats trying to keep your eyes open till 4pm when you can check into your hostel. You won’t need to go spend $8 on coffees at Starbucks to stay awake.

4. Book a MORE expensive rental car.

– Very cheap rental car rates are often so cheap because they don’t include insurance or don’t include adequate insurance (the might include the legal minimum liability insurance, something like $25,000, which may not cover the costs of injuring someone). Make sure you don’t end up double or tripling your expected rate because you have to buy insurance at the rental counter.

– The cheapest rate might also have fine print like you’ll be charged for a tank of gas and need to return the car EMPTY (you might need a couple of extra bucks to get you the normal “pick up full, return full option”)

– For people who aren’t covered for liability through their existing insurance, you can get around some of the issues with liability insurance renting cars if yo buy a multi trip policy that covers rental car liability or buy a named non owner policy.

5. Book packages.

Sometimes packages come out cheaper than their constituent parts. When you’re searching on airfare sites click over and check out that package rate. Use the package rates as a ballpark figure for your trip costs and work down from there, perhaps based your own research time on $20 or $50 an hour in savings.