I’ve touched on this a little bit here and there, but this year did not start out very well. Slowly, each month it’s gotten better and better, due to a change in career, a change in neighborhood and an all-around change in attitude. I think one of the big things that has helped is for the first time all year, I’m planning a trip outside the Midwest. Oh man, it feels so good to be making travel plans again!
Mike and I are heading to Toronto in a couple of months, and planning all the details has been such a joy. More on the specifics of this trip later, but I forgot how much I love looking into new destinations and picking out hotels and restaurants. I got a little bit carried away and started planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta for my birthday in December too.
It was one of my goals this year to visit Canada and Mexico, so I’m trying to make it happen as well. Because I’m trying to fit in two larger trips for the last few months of the year, I’m currently saving up and working on a budget to make it doable. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to save some money, especially when traveling as it’s my most expensive habit. I’ve tried out quite a few different tips and tricks to save money while trip planning and here’s what has worked best:
- Be flexible: The best way to start trip planning is by having no plan at all. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you open yourself up to the cheapest options available.
- Clear Your Search History & Utilize the Right Websites: Your search history can impede your ability to get the best deal out there on airfare and hotels. Before you start your trip planning online, clear your search history and use the right websites to find the best deals. My personal favorites are skyscanner.com, rome2rio.com, and tripadvisor.com.
- Join Ibotta: This app allows you to get money back from your everyday purchases and in the way of rebates, which can be used towards your travels. You can also use it to search for deals on popular travel booking sites.
- Check Groupon/LivingSocial: Either of these sites can provide you with discounts on hotel rooms, dining, and activities. We’ve used both to save money at restaurants when we travel or to book tours and attractions.
- Master Travel Credit Card Points: I am, admittedly, a novice at this skill, but it’s still a great way to get money back when you pay for trips with your travel credit card. (If you’re looking for a great resource on this, check out The Points Guy).
- Use Raise Marketplace: I just started using this online hub for discounted gift cards and it’s quite the handy resource. On it, you can purchase gift card for your trip from airlines, hotel brands, AirBnB, and more for a percentage off the total. As an added bonus, use my code (WANDER20) for $20 off your first purchase (of $40 or more).
How do you save money while trip planning? What are your best travel budgeting tips?