Love to travel? Save a little cash and still enjoy your vacation with these budget travel tips! This post was originally featured as a guest post I wrote for Monday Lunch Trio
Hey friends! The past couple weeks have been pretty busy lately, working hard on getting some new posts published. I have lots of great ideas, just sometimes life happens and it falls to the wayside. That just means I’m human and not perfect by any stretch of the imagination 😉
I’m a few days behind on this one but I wrote a guest post over at my friend Wendy’s blog on Monday: 6 Budget Travel Tips for Your Best Vacation.
I don’t consider myself a huge traveler compared to some other globe-trotters out there, but I have done a fair amount of traveling, especially recently with my blog. Between Mexico, Las Vegas, California, Chicago, and other places, I gathered a few ideas about saving some cash on traveling and vacations.
6 Budget Travel Tips for saving money on vacation (and still have fun!)
Nothing’s better than a well-deserved vacation after a lot of hard work! Sinking your toes into the sand and relaxing by the pool is one of life’s great pleasures, but you want to make sure your vacation isn’t interrupted by worries about costs adding up or blowing your budget.
If you’re trying to stick to a budget, traveling can be a tricky thing: you want to make the most of your time exploring new, amazing places but you don’t want to break the bank or get into debt enjoying yourself. There are so many things to spend your money on, especially in popular vacation destinations!
Just keep tabs on exchange rates so you know what you’re really paying for things. If you’re working on sticking to a budget but want to get the best experience on your vacation, then here are some of my budget-friendly travel tips to make your next trip awesome (and affordable):
1. Find the closest supermarket and stock up
Once you get to your hotel/resort, find local supermarkets and stock up on snacks, bottled water, allergy-friendly staples, etc. If your hotel or resort doesn’t supply bottled water for free (some will, double check), they can be expensive at your hotel and any small shops in tourist areas.
Just be aware that not everything in those supermarkets will be cheaper either. Some items will be lower priced than in America and some more.Just keep tabs on exchange rates so you know what you’re really paying for things.
2. Avoid cabs and taxi’s when possible
A huge cash suck, cabs can run upwards from $20 per person for short trips in San José del Cabo. The local bus system runs all over the area and is only $1 a person. Unless you have to be somewhere at a specific time, skip the cabs. Get some exercise and save money by walking, running, or biking where you need to go. Many places offer bicycle rentals and it’s a great way to site-see!
3. Get discounts on excursions
Try to plan your excursions and outings ahead of time so you can find discounts. If you booked a vacation through a website like Expedia, they will often have local companies that they partner for excursions that may have special prices or discounts of the week. Before you go, shop around online to find good prices in the area so you’re not stuck paying top dollar at the last minute.
4. Get all-inclusive
Eating out is a huge expense when traveling and getting an all-inclusive resort helps keep spending in check. Even if you’re interested in all-inclusive hotels or resorts for just the drinks and food and nothing else, this will save you a good chunk of money and you don’t have to carry a lot of cash or cards around with you.
If you don’t like the idea of eating at your resort most of the time, try eating 75% of your meals at your resort/hotel and set aside money to spend on special trips to local restaurants.
Find an all-inclusive that has several restaurants to choose from so you have plenty of options and don’t get bored. It’s okay to spend a little more on a better all-inclusive resort with more options, since this will actually save you some money in the long run.
5. Beware the prices at small shops and boutiques
The mark-up in some of these stores is double or more what you can find at larger retailers in the same areas or shops in less touristy areas. If you really want to buy something at a boutique, make sure it’s something special and unique, not something that can be found at a big-box store down the street.
If you can find the same souvenirs and items at local supermarkets for a fraction of the price of boutiques, save your cash and get it at the big box store. Only buy specialty items at boutiques that you can’t find anywhere else.
6. Cut deals and barter at markets
If you find local markets or street vendors with items that you love, don’t be afraid to barter. Most markets, vendors, an even shop owners are willing to barter within reason. If you want to get something for a bit less, ask! It never hurts to ask politely 🙂
The biggest takeaway should be this: decide what is really worth spending your money on and try to pay for most of it ahead of time. There is always something around the corner to spend money on when it comes to vacations (especially in tourist areas), so sit down and decide what you really want to get out of the vacation.
If you simply want relax on the beach then you won’t have to spend too much! If you want to get out and see lots of things you will end up spending more, but budget for that ahead of time. Choose wisely and spend money on experiences rather than material things – you won’t regret it!
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist