I travel a lot and as a small business owner I am always looking for ways to save money while providing a level of conform that will allow me to arrive at my destination refreshed and ready to do my best. Over the years I have met some really savvy travelers who have devised some brilliant and innovative ways to stretch a buck. You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to save money, all you have to be is a traveler with a desire to get the best for less. If you are that kind of traveler here are 10 money saving tips from my savvy traveling friends.
Sure saving money on airfare is great but how often is saving money on food as we travel is overlooked. Our first 3 tips can help stretch your dollars while having a tasty dining experience.
1. Book Accommodations That Serve Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one you shouldn’t skip to save money. Before booking your accommodation, make sure they include breakfast in the rate. That way, you can fill up on free food and eat lighter later in the day.
2. Plan Your Meals – Figure out where you will be and eat before you actually go out. This is not just good for your wallet, but your stomach too since you will probably find economical restaurants that tastes great.
3. Stay At Accommodations With Kitchens
Grocery shopping and cooking your own meals is not only healthy, but also budget-friendly. It’s also fun to discover new grocery items you don’t have at home. Even if you don’t want to cook every meal, incorporating it into your eating itinerary will save you a lot of money.
4.Pack Your Own Food For The Airport & The Flight
Let’s face it airports have mastered the food business, the selections even in the small regional airports are rather good as the major fast food players, Subway, McDonald’s and alike are now feeding travelers. However, the prices for that Big Mac or foot long sub are typically 10-20% higher than their off-airport locations. The TSA will allow passengers to bring sealed packages of store bought and homemade food. Clearly your selection will be better and you will save a ton of money. Save big money on water by bringing your own TSA approved empty bottles and simply filling them at airport water fountains.
We all know about Expedia, Priceline and other online booking sites for travel. Here are 4 tips that can save money as we go beyond the box of air travel.
5. Night Train and Flights – If the transportation is going to be long, consider traveling at night to save money on accommodation and many hours of time. Many people have a tough time sleeping on these, but it’s all mental. Once you get used to it, you will be able to have a good night’s rest.
6. Take the Slower Transportation – If flying is too short for you to take advantage of sleeping while traveling, take a bus ride. When you are sleeping, you won’t mind that the bus ride is 7 hours.
7. Car Rental Coverage – Some insurance and many credit cards have car rental coverage so take advantage of those when you rent a car. All you have to do is pay with the credit card that will cover you. (Just make sure you decline the coverage from the rental company when they ask)
8. Gas Up The Rental Car – If you are renting a car and need fuel, just fill her up with regular gas since that’s what the car rental company uses anyway. Also, decline those services that fills the gas tank up for you. Even though it seems like the advertised price is cheap, they charge you for a full tank of gas regardless of how much is left in there when you bring the car back.
The world of travel discounts are there for the taking. Tips 9 and 10 are about finding and taking those discounts.
9. Reward Points – Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler, sign up for those reward programs since you might qualify eventually. It’s all free anyway and if you finally get enough points, you can get always get something free.
10. Age, Student and Membership Discounts – Many attractions like theme parks, museums and others have discounts for senior, children or students. If you are traveling, remember to take your ID and membership cards (e.g. AAA card) with you that might qualify you for these.
Bonus Tip: Ask
You will be amazed by the upgrades, discounts and freebies that can be obtained by simply asking. However, be aware that the key to asking… and then receiving is to be nice. I urge you to be nice to the front desk clerk, the person behind the rental car counter and always the airline employee. These folks have a difficult job and they deal daily with a fair share of gruff. A smiling, pleasant and understanding attitude from you will go a long way toward the savings you deserve.
The Bottom Line
I have always viewed travel even business travel as a wonderful adventure; however the adventure can be so much more fun when you are saving money. Save travels and have fun saving.
P.S. I am always looking for ways to save money during my travels and to pass those money saving tips to others. Join the fun send me your tips to me at email@example.com . I will pass them along in my next travel tip blog.
When not traveling Marben Bland is the CEO of The Marben Bland Group a consulting firm focused on high-performance leadership, career coaching and business innovation. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org