Once the stress of the holidays has subsided, you can welcome in a New Year and with it, new travel plans may be on the horizon. However, after all that holiday shopping… you might be going into 2018 with a slightly stressed pocketbook too. The enrichment that comes from travel can often be dampened by the expense of flights, hotels, car rentals and attractions. If you are looking to travel more in 2018, but you don’t want to go broke, never fear.
We have come up with a few tried and true travel hacks to try out in the in the new year that could help you save a great chunk of change!
Go on the Free Walking Tour
All too often, travelers arrive at a destination a bit clueless about what to see, what to do and where to eat. As a result, you might dine at the pricey tourist traps or pay full price for entry fees that aren’t always necessary. One of the best ways to get to know a new city without paying a premium is by taking a free walking tour. These days it seems almost every major city offers some sort of free walking tour. These tours will often give you local insight and suggestions on places to eat along with what to see and do that are more budget-friendly than the tourist traps. Usually, you are also only out a tip or donation for the tour.
Frequent Fliers, Join an Expedited Security Program
While expedited security programs can cost you money up front to join, they can actually help save you money in the long run. Long security and customs lines can mean missed flights which in turn adds up to more money spent at the airport, on hotels and additional transportation. If you are a frequent flier, 2018 is the perfect time to join an expedited security program like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. If you plan to fly internationally even just once this year along with several domestic flights, consider Global Entry for a better use of money as it includes TSA PreCheck.
Become the Ultimate Price Matcher
A great deal of saving money on travel comes merely by searching for the best price, from flights to hotels to car rentals. If you aren’t searching to price match on these costs of travel, you are probably losing money. Saving on travel often just boils down to due diligence. Always keep checking the rates for your hotels, car rentals and flights. If you find a better deal, especially one beyond your hotel’s website, for example, you can often ask for a price match and an additional percentage off the rate.
Be the Squeaky Wheel
In a day and age where everyone has a cell phone, it is ever important when it comes to saving on travel to be the squeaky wheel. Just as the squeaky wheel gets the oil, the traveler who takes to social media or email can often see additional savings. For example, my flight from Madrid back to the U.S. was canceled and rescheduled the next day. I emailed my concerns to the airline about how they handled the problem. In addition to some cash compensation, I was also awarded the equivalent of a domestic ticket in miles. Being the squeaky wheel does come with an asterisk though. Be sure to be rational and polite when you are filing a complainant to see better, cost-saving results and of course, don’t abuse the system!
Purchase Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a growing industry and it’s easy to see why. With unpredictable weather, shaky political conditions and general problems, it’s no secret as to why travel insurance is slowly becoming more of a necessity, than a nicety for travel. One of the easiest ways you can save on travel is simply to prepare for the worst. Most of us spend the most on travel when a problem does arise such as unexpected food poisoning or lost luggage. You can save a great deal on missed flights, a wrecked car rental or medical problems if you spend just a little bit more on travel insurance for the trips you think you’ll use it. For example, after the hurricane season of 2017, travel insurance could save you thousands in 2018 on that August trip to the Caribbean.
On Overbooked Flights, Volunteer and Reap the Rewards
Travelers can always save a great deal of money if they are flexible with their dates and times of travel. 2018 is the year to be that volunteer on a flight that is oversold. After a rocky year of bad publicity from overbooked flights in 2017, airlines had to step up their policies on overbooking. As a result, many became more generous in what they will give you if your flight is overbooked. If you are more flexible in 2018, you can often make money on your flight if you happen to be booked on an overbooked flight. Be the volunteer and request your appropriate compensation. You’ll often receive cash along with a flight rebooking just for being a willing volunteer. Of course, be sure you know what your airline is supposed to give before you volunteer to jump ship.
Every year, it seems as though travel gets more and more expensive. However, with a little ingenuity, you can still go where you want to go and your bank account won’t be crying out as a result if you explore some of these budget-friendly travel hacks.
What travel hacks are you looking to implore to save money on travel in 2018? Share your ideas with us in the comments below.