I LOVE to travel!!! I’ve written about this before and probably won’t stop here. Traveling is my favorite pastime. We put off home projects for years because we would look at our money and go “hmmm… we could get new floors OR we could go to Mexico?” Travel will win with us every single time!
That being said… travel isn’t cheap. It costs a LOT of money to leave your house. I go into a trip with more money than I intend to spend. And that typically works out well. This past year was a SUPER year for us trip wise. We were fortunate to be able to go to several cool places and I loved EVERY second of it. I’ve learned some tips on traveling that may help you as you prepare to travel in 2018!
- If you don’t have a credit card that gets miles…get one. I know, I know… that goes against everything Dave Ramsey has EVER said. Pay it off every month. Don’t spend more on it than you can pay off. I’ll say it ONE more time– PAY. IT.OFF!!! BUT- let those miles rack up!
- Hotel points! Start earning them! Even if you only stay in a hotel once a year, ask to be on their point system. That one week a year in a hotel could equal 1-2 nights free throughout the year. Did someone say…FREE date night?!?! My husband is a Hilton point guy. That particular system pretty much means (and it can depend based on double point offers,etc) that every 5 nights adds up to a free stay. We are in a unique situation in that my husband travels at least 6-10 nights a month for work. But even if he didn’t travel as much we would still be earning points! Those points DO add up. Give it a try. Maybe there is a free stay in your future 🙂
- ASK! When you get to your destination ask the front desk for whatever it is you need. Most hotels will pass out toiletry item bags for free. Keep those and store them for your next trip OR for when you have company. Then you can sit it out in the guest bath and look like the best hostess EVER! 🙂 Ask the front desk for coupons, for recommendations, for free stuff! I don’t mean to go in and be a beggar but ask “do y’all do a social hour in the evenings?” “Do you guys do 1 free room service fee per stay?” Find out what you ALREADY have at your disposal. It boggles my mind that people are often afraid to ASK. Why? If you are afraid to ask get your spouse to!
- Book a hotel room that has a kitchen. When we travel as a family we ALWAYS stay at the Homewood Suites by Hilton. They have a full-size (semi) kitchen. Full fridge, microwave and 2 burner stove, no oven. BUT that means I can pack lunch meat, mac-n-cheese to cook for my picky eater, and bring my own drinks! They provide breakfast and a social hour (drinks and snacks during the weekdays), I can bring things for lunches and snacks and then we are only out one BIG meal for dinner. It’s perfect! It’s a fantastic way to stay and SAVE!
- Speaking of Asking– when we were heading to Chicago back in October my husband asked if they had any upgrades available for free. What do ya know? He comes walking back holding 3 First Class tickets! Upgrade for free, baby! What is the worst that could happen? They said no. That’s it. Totally worth the ask!
- PLAN AHEAD! You KNOW that the airport/hotel gift shop jacks those prices up. You have GOT to plan ahead. Hop on pinterest and find lists to help you remember items to pack. Headphones, ibuprofen, motion sickness pills, toothbrush… all of those things could break the bank! You cannot bring liquid into the airport but over the past two years I have seen an increase in the “Filling Stations” in airports. Bring your empty water bottle through security and then go fill it up. A bottle of water at our tiny Little Rock, AR airport is no less than $5 bucks. It’s crazy!
- Before we go on a trip I ALWAYS check to see if there are any promos to use on Uber or Lyft. And I go ahead and type in the destination address so that I know what to expect. I don’t want ANY financial surprises on a trip.
There are a MILLION ways to vacation on a budget. This just scratches the surface of some ways we travel on the cheap! Have a question or a suggestion–send it to me in a comment or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!