Cheap Travel Hacks For Your Next Vacation
Craving a getaway ASAP but concerned about your budget? Travel costs can add up, whether you're taking a road trip to a tiny cabin, visiting a scenic campgroundon the beach, or taking a jaunt to your favoriteEuropean city. The food, lodging, and gas and/or flights can cost one, two, or even three months' rent. Not to worry – here’s how to cut costs on your next summer vacay so you can enjoy the perks of cheap travel without the money guilt. Bon voyage!
Stay For Free
There are a few ways you can score a free place to stay as long as you are flexible with where you want to go. I recently did a home exchange a la The Holiday that was fantastic and free! My exchange partner stayed in my home in Sonoma, CA, and I stayed in their Brentwood home in LA for Thanksgiving (a holiday week no less). Try sites like HomeExchange.com for domestic and international swaps or score a free guest room or sofa at Couchsurfing or BeWelcome.com.
Work For Your Stay
This is actual fun work if you’re into it. Become a pet or house sitter at Trusted Housesitters. Or better, become an organic farmer! WWOFF connects you with international organic farmers seeking a helping hand. In exchange, you get cheap travel lodging and a pretty cool experience on your travels. You can also apply to be asummer au pair if you're traveling solo, like kids, and can take the time off.
As more workers maintain remote status, the post-pandemic trend is to rent a 30-day spot for sometimes cheaper than you would a weekly spot. And now Airbnb is featuringSplit Stays where you can travel, say all summer, with multiple locations during your stay.
Stay in A Hostel
Look For Free Lodging Perks
Try booking a hotel with perks like free continental breakfast, happy hours, mini kitchens or laundry service so you can cut costs on eating out and/ortravel lighter (no baggage checking fees!).
Accrue miles via credit card (check out The Points Guy’s Credit Card Tips and Travel Hacks) for free airline flights. Use the card to shop groceries and every day expenses you’d spend anyway to build mileage (and pay off each month to avoid interest).Try apps like Hopper, which allows you to set alerts for destinations and predicts if prices will change, letting you know whether to “Wait” or “Buy Now.” Google Flights and Kayak can send you different price alerts for your potential destinations and websites Priceline or Expedia will scour the internet for the best travel deals. You can also sign up for Scott's Cheap Flights to get an email digest of the most affordable flights from your location — so as long as you can be spontaneous about booking, you can potentially score a super affordable deal.
On the Road
Connect with other drivers who have extra seats and are heading your way via BlaBlaCar. You can also rent a car from locals via Turo for cheaper than a traditional car rental place. Outdoorsy connects you with RV, camper van, and travel trailers for your next roadside adventure.
Attractions + Food
Wherever you’re going, visit the local Visitors’ Center for discounts off attractions, especially if you’re a student, teacher, or under 26. Schedule your trip around free museum days, free outdoor events and festivals, and other attractions. If you plan to take in a lot of sights, pick up a city tourism card, which might offer you discounted or free access to the major attractions and museums, as well as a free ride on public transit.
Look at taking buses around too, which can be a fun local experience and a great way to take in the town on the cheap. Connect with locals viaAirbnb Experiencesfor affordable and unique local activities, or dine in at Eatwith, where locals will invite you over for a homemade meal. Visiting the local grocery store is an attraction in itself and can save you a ton on eating out. Local candy and nonperishables make great not-too-spendy souvenirs and travel gifts!
Got friends in cool places? Reach out to them about swaps, short stays, free/cheap things to do too. Find a way to get away that is good for your soul and your pocket. Enjoy!
- This Home-Sharing Network Is Helping Women Travel More Safely ... ›
- 8 Free Travel Sites and Apps for Planning Your Next Vacation - Brit ... ›
- The 10 Best Rental Apps To Vacation On The Cheap ›
- How To Get A Free Vacation - Brit + Co ›
- How To Plan A Campervan Rental Excursion - Brit + Co ›
- How To Plan Your Next Vacation Based On Your MBTI Type - Brit + Co ›
- How To Find Cheap Flights - Brit + Co ›
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.