Finding a way to save even 10% on housing can quickly save you hundreds of dollars during your trip. You may be using a few different housing hacks already, but to truly maximize your savings I recommend stacking your rewards.
To stack rewards, pair your accommodation with a travel credit card or frequent flyer program. Often times, these programs have recommended partners that give a discount from 10-20% for booking with them. By doing this, you are able to get a discount on your accommodation, points for your card or flyer program, and potentially perks like room upgrades.
If you are looking to travel even more budget-friendly, try avoiding hotels all together in favor of hostels or AirBnBs. Here is a tip I didn’t learn about until I started traveling: book long stays. If you book a stay of a week or more, most sites give around a 10-15% discount. If you are able to book a month or more, the discount can be as much as 25%.
Even if you are only staying in a place for 5 to 6 days, double-check the weekly rate anyways. You might be able to still save money just by booking that extra night even if you don’t use it! The longer your stay, the more flexible pricing tends to be because you are offering them guaranteed cash.
Yet another easy way to save hundreds on a trip is by reducing your traveling expenses. My number one tip for airfare discounts is stalking flights in advance on Google Flights and getting a little creative. If you go to google flights and put in the location you are traveling from and your destination, you can see a price estimate months out. Google will even notify you via email if a price goes down!
More importantly, you can start to see trends on how far out from a particular flight date that prices start to go up. And you can see the random little days where flights are 30-40% cheaper for no obvious reason. Flexibility is the key to scoring a cheap flight. When planning a trip, I find my flight first and then ask for the time off!
For longer distance travel, price check your desired flight against flights in neighboring countries/states. Certain flights are more popular, particularly by people doing business. This is important because those are the long-distance flights that are more frequent and cheaper.
An example of this is that to fly to Los Angeles, CA from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam typically costs $800 one way with a several hour layover in a different country on the way. It’s not the ideal trip, for sure!
However, if you catch a flight to Los Angeles, CA from Phnom Penh, Cambodia it usually costs around $500. That’s a savings of $300! The best part? It’s also a direct flight! So even if you have to pay $50 for the 1-hour flight to Cambodia, you are still saving $250 and probably arriving earlier with less stress.
Ah, food! What would a trip be without experiencing the local cuisine? Easily my favorite part of traveling is getting to test out the local hot spots.
Just as exciting as food is getting to try out all of the different apps in an area. That’s because these two tips go hand in hand. If you are in a new location, chances are you are a new user to their various food apps. And new users get new user discounts! Take two minutes to check out the local foodie apps and download them to enjoy a quick and easy 10-15% discount.
If you are going to be traveling for more than a week, you may want to find a “go-to” coffee shop or restaurant. No matter what country you are in, food places always have incentives to encourage their customer to come back.
Always keep an eye out for coffee punch cards, rewards points, happy hours, etc. When in doubt? Check out Trip Advisor, which seems to be highly popular in every country.
This is a guest post by Kathryn Rucker. She is a personal finance blogger, business development specialist and founder of CashforKat.com. Her passion is helping others learn how to manage their money so that they can obtain financial independence.