Top Money Saving Ideas for Travel

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Money so easily slips away while traveling. Even the best budget planner is bombarded with unexpected expenses- everything from that cute (and $20 over-budget) souvenir to $15-an-hour parking when you though it was $5-an-hour- the multitudes of little things can really add up, can’t they? (And I won’t even get into the rising price of fuel!).

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And it’s no fun to watch your money go down the drain for stuff like gasoline or pricey fast-food fare. Here are some fresh and time-honored top money saving ideas for travel.

Pack your own food. BYOB. Buy food locally at the grocery store.

Food is one of the costliest expensive while traveling. It’s also a slight safety risk (you hope those street-vendor Mexican burritos or fresh cherries are free of microbes). And even if you do the “fast food” route, you’re going to get lots of fat and salt in your diet, making you a sluggish tourist. Here’s an idea- pack your own food. Stick to non-perishables and individually-packaged beverages.


Realize that bringing your own beverages (BYOB) can save you a bundle of money, because it is with pricey drinks that restaurants make their money. For non-perishables, check out the local grocery stores. There, you can get healthier and less expensive choices (such as, submarine sandwiches or freshly-made salads) for better prices.

Use your vehicle as a camper, or camp out at public camping areas

Top Money Saving Ideas for Travel camper

Not everyone can do this, of course. But if you can, you can save up to half your travel expenses! If you travel in a minivan or SUV, you can remove your seats overnight (cover them securely with a tarp) and make the vehicle interior a mini-camper.

Bring an air mattress (deflatable during the day for easy storage) for comfort. Or, pack a tent to bring with you. Public camping areas are usually very inexpensive. Be aware that you may need to plan ahead and make reservations, especially during the height of the travel season.

Use the Internet to plan your itinerary and find bargains

Websites like and are great places to fine good prices and deals. is a terrific review site where you can get a sneak peek about hotels and attractions. I’ve found some wonderful “off the beaten path” and highly-rated hotels and tourist attractions simply by doing my research homework on the web.

Travel off-season

Top Money Saving Ideas for Travel avoid tourist season

For many places in the Northeast, for example, tourist season slows down from mid-September to early May. This is a great time to find discounts, avoid crowds, drive on quieter highways, and more. Be aware that some parks and natural attractions close for inclement weather and/or seasons.

Think pro actively- avoid future problems

When you travel, there is the chance that someone may get sick or that you may pick up creepy critters such as (shudder) bed bugs. Planning for emergencies saves money AND sanity- pack a first aid kit complete with diarrhea medicine, heartburn medicine, and pain relief tablets. In the United States and abroad, it has been stated that bed bug infestations in public and temporary housing is on the rise.

For preventing little critters from following you home, pack your suitcases in plastic bags or specialized vinyl plastic containers (these have zippers and are disposable). Keep your clothing and linens in the plastic bags, and dispose of them before packing up to go home. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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Final Thoughts for Top Money Saving Ideas for Travel

Travel need not be expensive nor hectic. Saving money in a multitude of little ways helps to squeeze every valuable coin from your budget, so that you can spend your hard-earned money on the really FUN stuff, like on an extra day scuba-diving the lagoon, or that must-have Six Flags beanie propeller hat souvenir! Happy trails!


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