Traveling is fun and relaxing, but let’s face it, the costs of getting away from it all can be a little intimidating and stressful. While we can’t make all those financial considerations go away, we can offer a few quick and easy tips to lower your costs while traveling.
Credit Cards Can Reward You for Travel
A credit card can make the whole business of travel a lot more financially feasible. It’s secure, convenient, and gives you a way to spread the expenses out in a way that’s easier to manage.
However, some credit cards deliver better benefits than others. USAA offers a variety of credit cards, each customized to unique patterns of spending. This versatility means you can choose a credit card that actively rewards you for those purchases you’re likely to make while traveling. The USAA Rewards American Express Card, for example, gives you double rewards points for gas and triple for dining out.
Cashback rewards are another excellent way to shave down your travel costs. You can even use the cash you earn back toward a vacation to fund a future getaway!
Find Ways to Get Thrifty With Food
Food costs are often one of the highest “hidden” costs of a vacation. Those meal and snack expenses rapidly add up, and it’s all too easy to spend big money impulsively when you’re away from your daily home routine.
It is, however, entirely possible to eat well on a budget while traveling. TIME offers these useful suggestions for budget diners, with an emphasis on looking for authentic local foods rather than the usual tourist-trap fare. You can also save a lot of money by getting a room with cooking facilities. Your gold standard is a room with a stove. Build a trip to a local market into your vacation adventure, and have fun cooking with whatever you find. Making cooking a part of your experience away is an excellent way to save money and double-down on the joy of exploring a new place.
Oh, and step away from the minibar! It’s always priced at a premium.
A Bit of Research Goes a Long Way
A lot of those more significant expenses while traveling happen for lack of useful information. Knowing the lay of the land before you arrive can make it much easier to find good deals on everything from local restaurants to equipment hire to day tours.
Here’s the good news when it comes to research. It’s easier than ever before to find quality local data about where you’re going. Lonely Planet exists for precisely this reason!
The Lonely Planet budget travelers section provides a wealth of ideas on how to travel well on a limited budget. You can even sign up for their weekly newsletter for a steady stream of bargain-basement inspiration.
A straightforward way to travel for less money is to lower your expectations. A luxury vacation is always going to cost more than one where your main goal is to seek adventure and push out of your comfort zone. So before you even begin budgeting and planning, think about whether an intrepid experience fits your lifestyle. The more adventure you’re willing to brave, the fewer luxuries will hit your back pocket — for many, that’s a win-win.
We hope you have fun and save some money on your next adventure!