People often ask me how I afford to travel so much. The truth is, I don’t travel nearly as much as I’d like! But, I’m able to take a few vacations a year because I find ways to cut costs here and there while I’m away — without sacrificing the quality of where I’m staying or missing out on things to do and restaurants to try.
These are 4 easy ways I save money while on vacation. Let me know your cost savings tips in the comments!
Lodging: get the biggest bang for your buck
Amenities I look for in lodging include desirable location, free parking, free Wi-Fi, full kitchen, separate living space and an overall homey setting – without breaking the bank. This usually means I’m staying in an Airbnb, which is my preference! Even a “basic” Airbnb can check all my boxes and be cheaper than a 3-star hotel.
TIP: Always skim the reviews to see if the place has any quirks despite its high rating.
Potential Savings: Free amenities + lower nightly costs = $50-$100 per day
Eat breakfast in your PJs
As much as I love food, for me, an omelet is an omelet — no matter where it’s from. That’s why I purchase a few breakfast necessities and snacks when I arrive at my destination. Oatmeal packets or yogurt, fruit, nut butter and energy bars are my go-to, and I still enjoy the local restaurants for lunch and dinner.
TIP: Places without a full kitchen still usually have a mini fridge, coffeemaker and microwave.
Potential Savings: $20-$50 per day when you factor in breakfast, coffee and snacks for 2.
Seek out free or low cost activities
From sunset yoga classes and live music, to boat rides and observatories, there are all kinds of free/low cost activities out there. Try Googling “free activities” and the city name, or check out various local online publications for events calendars. If all else fails, being outside is always free — look for hiking trails or explore the city by foot or bike. The structure in the photo above is James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, which rotates through a glorious light sequence at sunrise and sunset — and is free to experience.
TIP: Outdoor amphitheaters and city parks are notorious for offering fun and free activities. Museums also usually have free days each month.
Potential Savings: As much or as little as you’d like!
Bring a reusable water bottle
How much does a bottle of water go for in the airport now? $5? A reusable water bottle avoids the exorbitant airport water costs, and keeps you hydrated for the duration of your trip. Plus, eschewing plastic bottles for a reusable one is a small way to make a positive impact on the environment.
TIP: Can’t find a water fountain? Walk over to a bar and kindly ask them to fill it up.
Potential Savings:$5-10 a day, depending on how much water you drink.
Tell me in the comments: How do you save money while on vacation?
4 thoughts on “4 easy ways to cut costs — not corners — on vacation”
Great tips ! I always try to make breakfast where ever I am staying if possible. I feel a little healthier starting my day and have already saved money.
Making breakfast is definitely one of my favorite tips to save $ and make room for indulgences later in the day. Thanks for commenting.
I may be heading to Singapore in the next 18 months – I look forward to seeing your posts about it!
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I totally agree with Airbnb. My wife turned me onto renting with and found we have probably saved hundreds of dollars compared with hotels. Really great ideas overall!
Thanks for your feedback, CR E! Glad to hear it’s saved you money, too.