There is no doubt that traveling can be expensive, but there are always easy ways to cut costs. My friend Karyn and I are traveling to London next week, and I am bracing for the steep prices. To avoid some of the high costs and still enjoy ourselves, I’m recalling all the ways we can save money while still having a blast.
Here are a few tried and true budgeting tips that we use each trip:
1. Look beyond hotels for accommodations.
Hungary is one the most affordable cities that we have traveled too but in my search for places to stay I discovered that hotels in Budapest were incredibly expensive. Apartments for rent, however, were unbelievably inexpensive. We stayed in an apartment in the main part of the old town and paid only $128 for three nights. It was a studio apartment, with a great view in the perfect location to explore the area. Check out vrbo.com or airbnb.com for some alternate places to stay.
2. Look for accommodations that include breakfast.
Breakfast included is one of the main details I look for when booking a place to stay. That is one of the easiest ways to save money on meals. Get breakfast, and then grab a piece of fruit as a snack for later. London is one of the priciest places to find a hotel, so it is lucky that not only did we find an affordable hotel in a good area, we also get breakfast to take off some of the costs.
3. Carry your own snacks.
When touring a city, you can get so wrapped up in sightseeing that you forget to take a break for meals. By the time you realize you are hungry, you end up paying for overpriced snacks or meals out of desperation. By starting the day with snacks already in your backpack (we like granola bars and gummy bears), you can ward off hunger long enough to find a reasonably priced meal.
4. Make lunch count.
Dinner tends to be a bit more pricey than lunch, so instead of eating a lot of sit down meals plan on eating a larger meal at lunch or eat a late lunch. It will save costs considerably. Find some food trucks (I have a list ready for London) or take advantage of the mid-day meal deals.
5. If renting a car, make sure it’s a diesel.
Last time I was in the states, diesel cost more than unleaded. That is not the case in Europe. Diesel gas is the most inexpensive, and it is no secret that diesel lets you travel farther than unleaded. On our 10-day trip around Ireland, we had the diesel rental car for eight of those days and had to fill up once, plus the top off when we turned it in. It is for sure a money-saver.
6. Travel in the off-season.
Of course, summer is a popular time to travel to Europe. School is out, the weather is nice so it seems like a great idea. But that is also when the prices tend to rise. Europe is just as pretty in the fall and winter as it is in the spring and summer. While it may mean packing an extra layer or two, it’s worth the savings.
These are just a couple of ways to not put a huge hurt on your wallet while still enjoying your vacation.