Pack light and have a plan. Make you sure you have all your toiletries, hygiene items, and medications (including over the counter medicines). They will be cheaper to purchase before you leave home.
One bonus to having your own vacation rental is the ease of doing laundry right in your unit. This will allow you to wash and dry your clothes, saving you room in your suitcase. Packing light saves you check baggage fees. If you do decide to do any shopping, wait until the end of your trip. This gives you an opportunity to scope out stores for the best prices. Don’t buy the first souvenir you see and, if the culture encourages it, bargain a little before you buy,
Be strategic when dining out. Eat like a local and take advantage of off season specials, as well as farm to table, in season produce. Experienced travelers know to use their mid-day meal as their ‘splurge” meal, when prices are significantly less than dinner. If you’re going to indulge in alcohol, do so at the restaurant, or pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy. Ask locals where their favorite places to eat and drink are and venture away from the tourist destinations. Locals are more inclined to share their secrets during the off season as well. Local food trucks and farmer’s market will give you a true foodie experience at a fraction of the cost. When travelling, pack your favorite snacks for the airport, train, or car ride. The candy and chips will be much cheaper at home, allowing you to save some of your food budget for local favorites and specialties. Staying in a house, condo, or apartment? Try brewing your coffee at home. Breakfast is an easy choice for this one.
Explore free admission days for museums and galleries. Many of the world’s best and most famous museums have free admission days. If you’re a student or travelling with one, look for student discounts. Think out of the box and think about old churches and other places of worship as a museum. Their art and architecture will be similar to the museums designed and built during the same time period. Look at Groupon and other discount sites for discounted admission tickets or entrance fees for local attractions. Social media will have the most up to date information on rates and hours. If you’re staying at a hotel, the concierge is a good source for information about free or reduced priced tickets and they may have complementary passes to hand out as well. It can’t hurt to ask!
Travel within your destination can eat up a big portion of your travel funds. If you must rent a car, be sure to download a gas app to help you find the cheapest fuel. If you can, public transportation allows you to cheaply and safely get to your destinations. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about parking, or getting lost, and you’ll feel like a local!
With a little planning, some flexibility, and some financial discipline, you can stretch your travel budget so that you’re paying one star rates for a five star trip.