It’s no shock that travel is expensive. Even the basics — booking a flight and hotel room — can put any budget under stress. Add a partner or even kids into the mix and the cost only balloons. Vacations will never be “cheap,” and even “inexpensive” is a bit of a stretch, but here are five simple ways to save money on travel.

1. Plan ahead for attractions.

Museums, amusement parks and other attractions can tack big expenses onto an already expensive jaunt. You can save money on travel by booking in advance. Check on social buying sites like Groupon to see if there are any deals that coincide with your trip dates and research whether the attractions that you plan to visit accept discounts that apply to you — military, student, AAA, senior and so on. 

2. Compare Airbnb and hotel prices before booking.

Airbnb lets travelers rent spare rooms or even full apartments directly from property owners. Compare these prices with those charged by hotels in the same area. Busbud, a travel and booking website, compared Airbnb and hotel rates in 22 cities around the word. In the majority of cities, Airbnb was cheaper.  In Seattle, for example, you’d save $50 a night on average; in DC you’d save $34.1

3. Sign up for airline and travel alerts.

There are not exactly coupons lying around for discounted airfare, but saving on flights is not impossible. One way to save is to sign up for price and sale alerts. You can do this through pricing aggregators like Priceline or Expedia, but you can also sign up directly with airlines. You’ll receive price drop notifications that ping you when the price falls for flights to and from the cities you choose. You could save hundreds of dollars.

4. Go for the day pass.

When traveling in a city with a public transportation system that you’re planning to use more than twice per day, get the day pass. (The cost of a day pass is often the same as two round-trip tickets.) Not only could you save money, you may also save time. 

5. Redeem credit card rewards points.

Don’t forget about credit card rewards. Your rewards options could help you lower your expenses beyond just airfare to include hotel bookings, train fare and a host of other travel expenses.

If you think you can’t afford to travel on your vacation, think again. Put all of these savings together and traveling might be closer to your budget than you think.


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