Traveling is fun and educational, but it unfortunately comes at a cost that makes it a luxury and an occasional treat for many people. In fact, people spend an average of $1,979 annually on summer vacations alone, not to mention the money spent on other trips throughout the year. If you've caught the travel bug but are worried that you won't be able to afford a trip, here are 5 tips to keep your traveling cost effective.
Book Directly With the Airline or Hotel
It is very tempting to use websites that offer travel deals when you are looking to book your transportation or lodging, but use them for research purposes only-at least initially. If you see a price that looks unbeatable, contact the airline or hotel directly to see if they can match the deal. Oftentimes, the hotel (airlines are less likely) will be willing to match the deal plus throw some additional perks in for booking with them. Deal sites take a percentage of the earnings when someone makes a reservation, so odds are the company will appreciate you working with them.
Join a Loyalty Program
This is especially easy to do if you tend to go on the same types of vacations, such as on cruises or to all-inclusive resorts. If you are loyal to a brand but aren't currently enrolled in their rewards program, sign up ASAP so you aren't missing out on collecting loyalty points and credits. Some companies treat their most loyal customers extremely well and offer perks such as free dining, spa credits, and many other things. If you do not have a brand that you prefer, try to pick one that has many locations so the odds are good that you can patronize the brand wherever you travel.
Look for Last-Minute Deals
Particularly in this very strange time that we are living in, there are many travel deals to be found by booking last minute. If Bermuda cruises are your dream, for example, and your travel dates are flexible and you can be ready to leave at any given moment, this is the perfect way to save money on a dream trip. For trips like cruises especially, prices are sometimes reduced drastically as the cruise draws near and the ship is not full. Contact your preferred cruise line to see if there are any deals to be had, and enjoy the thrill of being ready to take off at a moment's notice.
This is easier said than done, but many airlines charge additional (and expensive) fees for overweight baggage. There are ways to avoid these fees, but the most important one is knowing exactly what your airline considers overweight and not going an ounce over that number. 50 pounds is the usual number, but this is not always set in stone. If you are lucky enough to be going somewhere where laundry can be done, this can greatly reduce the amount of clothing that you need to bring. If laundry won't be an option, just try to be practical in packing and only bring things that you will absolutely need.
Learn About the Best Times to Travel
One of the best times to travel is on holidays. This may seem odd, but consider that many people who travel for holidays intend on spending the entire holiday with their loved ones, and won't be returning home until after the celebration. The same goes for weekday travel. Because of work schedules and other factors, many people travel on weekends, making this a more pricey time to travel. If your plans can be flexible, travel to your destination on a weekday and enjoy reduced transportation costs and lower hotel fees.
Traveling does not have to break the bank and can actually be done in a very cost-effective manner. Follow these easy tips and you just may be able to visit more places than you ever thought possible.