How to Save Money on Travel and Spend Less

Even though you’ve saved up hard for your trip, it doesn’t mean that you have loads of cash to splash around whilst on your trip.  So how can you save money whilst on a trip?

Having been brought up by my mother’s frugal spending ways and spending much time as a cash-strapped backpacker, I have discovered quite a few travel spending tips, yet not impact on the experience.

This Article You'll Learn Ways to Spend Less While Travelling Including:

So let’s learn how to save money while travelling?

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6 Ways to Save Money on Travel

1.  Choose the Accommodation that Meets ALL Your Needs.

father and son playing in water playground at resort

How to save money on accommodation is not necessarily about staying at the cheapest flea-bitten motel you can find.  It’s about doing your research and finding accommodation that includes as many facilities and amenities that you want to utilise.

If you’re out all day sightseeing then a simple clean bed is possibly all you need.

However, if you are going to be relaxing at the resort with the occasional day trip you may be more interested in what a resort has to offer.  Is there breakfast included, a gymnasium available, additional sporting activities (like yoga or water aerobics), free WiFi and don’t forget a refrigerator in your room for snacks and drinks.

What about if you have kids, they need to be occupied ALL day.  Is there a complimentary kids club, games rooms, even a water park with water slides.  The more the resorts offer’s the less likely you will hear, “I’m bored.”

If staying at a resort is a little over the budget, consider a self-catering apartment or caravan park that has all these amenities.  The bonus – you are able to cut meal or eating out costs by packing food for self-catering.  Though of course, this means a little more work for you whilst on vacation.

Top Trip Tip
Take the time to research all the accommodation options at your destination to ensure you get the best fit your vacation.

Start researching your accommodations here on Hotels Combined*.

2.  Look for More Inclusions.

five people doing yoga an an almond tree

If you don’t want to do the work of cooking and cleaning, worried about the budget blowout of restaurants meals and looking for more options on how to save money on food while you travel.  Why not look for accommodation that has a set price for all meals included.

Up until a few years ago, I was never a fan of the all-inclusive holiday, thinking where is the adventure in that?  But after a stay at two of Bali’s all-inclusive resorts, I discovered there were some real benefits to the all-inclusive holiday vacation.  Three meals a day, snack, drinks, even the minibar – all included.  When it comes time to check out – nothing more to pay!  It’s a great way to stick to your travel budget.

Top Trip Tip
If booking an all-inclusive vacation read the fine print of inclusions and time frames.  We found some hotels offer free alcoholic drinks all day, others only after 5pm.

3.  Pack Snacks

milk, water bottle, snack packs of biscuits and dried fruit

As we’ve mentioned eating out can be a big part of your travel budget and stopping for snacks along the way bumps that budget up even further.  So I pack snacks from home.  It also helps to reduce the amount of junk food being eaten by all of us.  I choose to pack items like rice wheels, crackers with cheese dip, boxes of dried fruit, and muesli bars.

In addition, if you’ve got fussy eaters – like my son was when he was young and would only eat toast, hot chips and pizza when we were away.  I found that by including snacks in my travel packing ensured that his diet had a bit more substance.

I also find bringing snacks

Top Trip Tip
Look for products that provide individual pre-packaged snack-size options for ease of carrying and cleaning up.

4.  Utilise the Mini-Mart/Supermarket

large mini bar fridge

Meanwhile, other snacks just don’t travel well in transit like small pots of yoghurt.  The answer visit the mini-mart or supermarket.  Your local mini-mart will become your friend for cost-saving on holiday.

This is what I do.  As soon as we arrive at our room I check the minibar fridge.  If it is stocked I call to have it emptied (or empty it myself).  Then it is free for me to fill.  Next, we visit the mini-mart purchase drinks, any additional snacks and water.

In many hotels, it is unsafe to drink the tap water, whilst most provide a free bottle of drinking water it is by no means nearly enough for your daily intake.

Top Trip Tip
If you empty the minibar ensure you advise reception and leave items in full view so that housekeeping does not charge you.

5. Handwash the Laundry

The other thing many mini-marts include is a laundry service.  If you are away for more than a week you will probably need your clothes cleaned.  I get our clothes washed and dried, but not ironed (to save money) and usually, there’s an iron in the room should need to be.

An even cheaper option is handwashing.  I’ve spent years of my travels handwashing.  I kinda loathe it now that I wash for a family, but it is a great frugal travel tip.  Grab a pegless clothesline* or two to hang out your washing.

Basically, handwashing or using the local laundrette is a far cheaper option than paying for hotel dry cleaning.

Top Trip Tip
Get the right tools for your handwashing.  Most of these are cheap, lightweight and space-saving to help you pack light for your vacation.

6.  Live Like a Local

local night market food stalls

Utilising services like the laundrette is one step toward living like a local.  Another was shopping at the supermarket.

Use Public Transport

Go one more step and use public transport rather than taxis or hire cars.

We’re big fans of using public transport it is cheap, efficient, allows you to talk to the locals and the added bonus for us is my son finds it a novelty as we rarely use public transport at home.

Try Food Courts and Markets

The other local thing to try is to eat out at food courts, it is a great way to save money on vacation meals.

Look for Free Events

Don’t forget to ask your accommodation’s reception or concierge about free events and things to do in your travel destination.  You’ll be surprised how many local community activities are available.

Top Trip Tip
Not sure which food stall to choose?  Watch which ones the locals queue for, they know what’s good.

Which ways do you save money while travelling?



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Hi, I'm a Perth born and raised travel tips blogger/writer with over 20 years of experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. Whilst in my younger years I backpacked throughout Europe, these days I enjoy luxury family holidays to South East Asia or road-tripping about Western Australia with my partner and our son.
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10 Responses to “How to Save Money on Travel and Spend Less

  • I don’t care much for handwashing as I find it really hard to tell when the clothes are clean if they weren’t muddy (or obviously dirty) to begin with, so I probably scrub for a lot longer than I need to. And doing it in a tiny hotel sink is even more frustrating because there’s no space to scrub properly! Mad props to you for doing it for an entire family, although I feel your kids and husband should pitch in too!

    • That’s why I have now stopped hand washing Michelle, not much of a vacation when you have to handwash the entire families clothes every evening.

  • Good tips,Sally, but to be very honest with you I don’t really feel like saving money when I go on vacation. It’s the one time when I don’t want to worry about it. I worry enough about “saving” all the other days of the year…

    • I hear you Anda, you’ve saved hard for your vacation now is the time to sit back relax and splurge a little.

  • We’ve become big fans of staying close to the sites we’re most interested in so that we can walk or use public transport as much as possible. As a bonus, that gets you out among the locals, so you can find those places locals go to eat and shop. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Can relate to most of these! We often bring snacks with us or stop at the grocery store closest to the hotel. We also bring our own laundry detergent in a bottle! #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  • Anisa Karen AlhiAnisa lali
    4 years ago

    Great tips. Packing food can really save money. I always bring along protein bars I can have for breakfast. I also try to utilize public transportation and only rent a car if absolutely necessary. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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