10 money-saving hacks to cut your travel costs

FILE- (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

The rising prices of goods and services across the board have many Americans revisiting their previously planned travel adventures.

According to a Forbes Advisor/OnePoll survey, 91% of Americans said inflation has negatively affected their travel plans. As a result, people are being forced to travel less and cancel or postpone their existing vacation plans due to mounting inflationary pressure on household budgets.


But before you completely write off the possibility of vacation, here are ten ways to cut travel costs.

5 Money-Saving Hacks When Planning a Vacation

When looking across all the elements of a vacation, such as transportation, accommodations, food, and activities, there are strategies to shave costs off each one. Here are travel-saving hacks at the trip planning stage and ideas for responsible spending at your destination.

1. Use Apps and Credit Card Points

Free shopping apps, such as Fetch Rewards, are a way to earn gift cards with little effort to help reduce travel costs. Download the app on your Apple or Android device and scan your shopping receipts for points. Fetch users can earn points on retail, grocery, and gas purchases.

Fetch app users can also earn points easily by referring friends and family. When they sign up with Fetch Rewards using your referral code, thousands of points will be added to both of your accounts. In addition, reaching the minimum rewards balance allows Fetch users to redeem points for gift cards.

Travelers can redeem their points for gift cards such as Airbnb, Delta and Southwest airlines, and Uber. Paying with a free gift card can help cut these significant travel expenses. Transportation can add up to and from the airport and around a vacation destination. Using gift cards to pay for the flight and Uber costs can save travelers hundreds of dollars.

Before making any travel arrangements, check out the travel section in the Fetch app’s Rewards tab for gift card options.

2. Keep Travel Dates Flexible

Travelers looking for a deal need to be flexible with dates and times when searching. For example, early morning or red-eye flights are well-known to be less expensive, as well as traveling during the weekdays rather than on the weekend.

3. Search Incognito and in the Afternoon

People may not realize that websites track their searches. Many people have encountered a situation where they go to the same site to check ticket prices, and the cost keeps increasing. It’s not just because the ticket prices can change throughout the day. Websites also track these searches and intentionally increase prices to motivate people to book their tickets quickly.

The best way to not fall into this trap is to search on a browser in incognito mode. Travel experts also say it’s best to look for tickets in the afternoon rather than first thing in the morning.

4. Consider All Types of Accommodations

There have never been more accommodation options for travelers. Between standard hotels, Airbnbs, local vacation rental websites, timeshares, and hostels, there is a wide variety of price points to choose from.

5. Consider Package Deals

Some websites offer package deals such as flight, hotel, and car rentals, which can be less expensive than booking everything individually. It’s worth pricing out different packages and comparing them when shopping. When booking, don’t forget to purchase through money-making apps, giving you a portion of your spending back.

5 Money-Saving Hacks While Traveling

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, keep applying responsible money habits to stay on budget. Mindful spending can ensure you’re spending your dollars on what matters most to you on vacation, whether eating at a specific restaurant, admission to a particular attraction or doing a certain tour.

6. Use Local SIM Cards and WiFi

Surprise roaming charges could bust your travel budget if you travel out of the country. Instead of racking up international roaming charges, insert a local SIM card into your phone and pay local rates.

Also, many tourist attractions, restaurants, coffee shops, and even entire cities offer free WiFi. Take advantage of the free options to check your email and text messages, but be careful when making purchases using a credit card because it may not be secure.

7. Don’t Overpay For Currency Conversion

Travelers should avoid currency exchange in airports and tourist areas where they may charge high exchange fees. Instead, download one of the free currency converter apps, or check websites to track exchange rates, so you know how much you should be paying.

8. Eat at Restaurants Only Once a Day

The cost of constantly eating out can add up quickly. Making meals at your accommodations can cut travel costs, especially as a family. Grocery delivery services make it easy to get all you need for breakfast, packed lunches, or even easy dinners.

Shopping at local markets for fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, snacks, and treats is not only a way to explore the city and its local cuisine but can make for cheap meals as well.

9. Use Public Transportation

Instead of paying for a rental car, Uber or taxi, ride the local transit. Use public transportation, whether the subway, bus, or cable car trams, to get around the city. Not only will it cut down your expenses, but you won’t have to stress about parking.

10. Watch Your Activities Spending

When visiting a city for the first time, many travelers like to see the attractions such as museums, monuments, and famous sites. But many have an admission fee, which is most expensive at the gate. Consider alternatives such as multi-day passes allowing tourists to pay one cost and enter multiple locations or Groupon offers.

Balancing paid attractions with free or low-cost activities will allow you to explore your destination while staying on budget.

That Trip Might Be Closer Than You Think

Using these ten money-saving strategies when planning and enjoying your vacation can help people travel even during inflation. As a result, you might find that you’ve cut costs enough to make a trip possible or even afford another one this year.