Travel is seen as something that’s too expensive for people to do often and many only enjoy one vacation a year or none at all. But with these simple travel hacks you’ll quickly realize that travel can be more affordable than you think. From hacks that could save you hundreds of dollars to even just a couple of dollars a day, it all adds up and could mean that could spend a few extra days on vacation or book a whole other trip.
1. Go Incognito
When booking flights you have to browse in an incognito or private browser to avoid cookies that follow what you’re doing online. Travel sites will track what you’re looking for and can bump up prices when they know which flights or destinations you’re interested in and the last thing you want to do is be paying more for a flight! An incognito or private browser makes sure you’re not followed and you’re free to do flight research without worry of higher prices.
2. Sign Up for Email Alerts
One of my favourite travel tips is signing up for airline and other travel companies newsletters so you can stay on top of sales and be one of the first to know. In fact you should do this for any airlines that fly frequently from the closest airport to you or to destinations that you to visit. Many airlines have incredible sales and by getting notifications in your inbox you could save hundreds and be on your vacation sooner than you think!
3. Spend to Save
Travel hacking with credit cards in the US is very popular and extremely easy with so many different cards available to collect points for hotels, flights and vacation rewards. Unfortunately, in Canada it is not as easy but it’s still possible, especially if you’re a frequent flyer. There are also cards that will give you points for travel just for spending money on daily expenses. If travel is something you want to do more of, get a card that will help you save even as you’re spending. With this tool, you can compare travel rewards credit cards in Canada so you can choose the best travel credit card for your spending habits and maximize your savings.
4. Go on Free Tours
Many cities around the world offer free walking tours. This is very common in Europe, which is definitely a place where you’re going to want to be saving money. Many tours are done through hostels or your accommodation can recommend a free tour. The tours vary from 1-3 hours and at end you’re asked to pay what you can or what you thought the tour was worth. So even though the tour isn’t completely free, you still get to set your own price based on your budget and you get to orient yourself around the city and learn about the history.
5. Always Bring a Water Bottle
This may seem like a basic idea but the amount of people I see wasting money on buying water bottles daily kills me. The price of water in airports is ridiculous, tourist areas jack up the prices and at restaurants the price can get costly as well. Bring a water bottle that you can fill up throughout the day and you could be saving yourself a significant amount of money.
6. Use Your Student ID
Students can save a lot just by flashing their student card. Many tours and attractions offer a slightly discounted price, sometimes even half of the original price. I’m no longer a student but my college ID doesn’t have a date on it so I still use it to get those awesome discounts!
7. Exchange Your Money in the Right Places
I always avoid exchanging money at banks. And I avoid taking out foreign currency from banks too. I’ll figure out how much money I want in a foreign currency by using an app such as XE Currency Converter, take out the equivalent in my local currency and then get it exchanged at small kiosks that are often found at malls. They usually have the best exchange rate and I can tell from using the XE app. Banks often charge you a fee for taking out a foreign currency as they often have to order it. Avoid that fee by going somewhere that have foreign currencies on hand.
8. Do the Math
Many tourism boards or transportation companies offer discounted rates for city passes or travel passes. These aren’t always the best deal. You have to do the math to figure out if these passes are worth it for you. Find the activities you want to do and where you want to go and calculate the costs. It could be cheaper to do certain attractions or legs of a trip separately.
9. Be Flexible
The number one reason why your trip is going to cost more is because you’re not flexible. I understand this can be hard when booking time off of work but it could save you a lot of money of flights, hotels and all-inclusive trips. Keep your eye open for sales by signing up for emails, set up price alerts on flights and check prices often in incognito mode. Often times flying a day before or after your ideal date could be cheaper! I use the Skyscanner app to see prices across an entire month so I know the best day to fly on.
10. Travel During Off-Season
Off-season travel, in my opinion, is the best time to travel. Things don’t get booked up as quickly, bookings are cheaper and there are less people at tourist spots. But the main reason to travel during the off-season is to save money. This obviously varies depending on the destination and some off-season travel can bring worse weather but often times the weather can be just as nice as summer or even better because it’s not as hot.
Some of these are the best travel hacks and are so simple you can implement them right away, others take a bit more planning. But for the effort that you put in you will save and you will be able to travel more. Many of these tips you can go deeper into to help you find cheap flights, the best rewards programs and more. These hacks are just the beginning to helping you find free travel, which can totally be done if you hack right!