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This is it. You’ve saved up all year and now it’s time to book and take that family vacation, or sisters’ trip, or romantic weekend getaway that you’ve been talking about. But just because you’ve done the work to save the money, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be able to stretch it as much as possible. Traveling costs can really add up, but there are some easy tips and tricks you can utilize to make sure you get the best prices possible on your flights, cars, hotels, and rentals, without skimping on quality or customer service.
Best for Solo Travelers
Be flexible with your destination.
Sure, Paris, New York, and London are world-class vacation destinations, but they can be incredibly expensive. Not only will you spend top-dollar on basics like lodging, but everything in those cities usually is priced at a premium as well, like groceries. If you’re open to trying a new destination, why not try a charming small town, or less touristy beach? Try a country that’s not on the top-10-destinations list, or even do some research to explore ways to travel close to home with a day-trip or a nearby city. You’ll not only get better deals on your travel, but attractions, restaurants, and shopping in these less talked about locations will be more affordable too (and not necessarily less fun or worthwhile!). Needs some ideas for where to travel? Start browsing Destinations and Travel Awards on Tripadvisor!
Using the right strategy in buying your flights is one of the most common ways to save money on a trip, if you need to fly at all (road trips also save money!). If you know when and where you’re traveling, do your flight shopping early in the week when airlines are frequently changing their prices, and try to book at least two months in advance. Alternatively, flexibility and last minute deals can be a great money saver if you’re not set on a particular date or destination. For example, flying midweek will often score you better prices, as will flying into regional airports as opposed to city-center airports. Other options, like taking advantage of booking one-way travel to a cheaper city with a connection at your desired destination can also save you money - just remember not to check your bags! Following airlines on social media and through email newsletters will also ensure you’re notified of any special sales being offered throughout the year. And, of course, when you’re ready to book your flight, search for the best prices across different airlines with Tripadvisor’s cheap flight search!
Airlines and hotels want their seats and their rooms to be filled, so you can often get them both at rock bottom prices by booking them together as a vacation package. Some of these options will also include things like tickets to local events and attractions, and sometimes things like rental cars or hotel freebies like upgrades and in-room services. Online travel agencies like Tripadvisor specialize in coordinating these kinds of packages, so if you know you’ll be traveling somewhere that you’ll need to fly and book a hotel and rent a car, or if you’ll be taking another package-friendly vacation like trips to a resort or on a cruise, be sure to check out Tripadvisor’s vacation packages, where you can search by date and destination.
Did you know that most museums have free days, or are free all together? If you want to save money while still fully immersing yourself in the destination you’ve chosen, taking advantage of the many public offerings cities often have is a great way to do so. Look for discounted or free days for museums and other historical attractions, and check the community calendar at local parks for things like concerts and events happening in the green spaces around town. Free walking tours (with the option to tip) are a great way to get to know a city’s history and culture, as well - and you’ll get your exercise in during your vacation too! If you’re looking for inexpensive ways to spend your time during your vacation, Tripadvisor’s Things To Do pages are full of ideas and reviews for thousands of destinations world wide.
It’s always a good rule of thumb to bring your own snacks when you’re passing through an airport or have a long day of travel, but keep a bag packed when you’re out and about in your destination as well to avoid having to buy pricey (and environmentally unfriendly) plastic-wrapped snacks or bottles of water. Take advantage of local markets to do some grocery shopping to prepare a few basic meals or snacks at your hotel or apartment rental, and don’t sleep on the satisfaction of a picnic! This is not to say you shouldn’t eat out - but do choose your restaurants and mealtimes wisely. Try not to pick restaurants that are within 6 blocks of a major tourist attraction in the city, as they’ll often have worse food at higher prices than smaller joints down the road, and if you do want to splurge on a nice meal, choose lunch instead of dinner to take advantage of lower midday pricing. And, of course, don’t forget to check restaurant reviews on Tripadvisor!