Take the June Money Challenge (The Prize Is $250!)

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travel tipsWhen one writer recently shared with us how she takes “workations“—she works remotely from locales like Chile, Shanghai and Costa Rica—it got us thinking about travel.

Of course, there’s one major hindrance when it comes to big dreams of globe-trotting: money.

Summer is traditionally one of the most expensive times of year to travel, but there are tons of tips and tricks out there that can help you lower those trip costs. In fact, we’ve shared some great ones on our site already:

  • Hitting the road in May or September—as opposed to a peak travel month, like July—can save you 25% to 50% on airfare and hotels.
  • Use your credit card to pay in U.S. dollars overseas because credit cards usually have a lower exchange rate than banks.
  • Come up with a “phrase to save” to help motivate you to save for your upcoming vacation. Case in point: Is dinner out tonight really worth one night’s stay in Argentina?

Now it’s your turn: This month’s challenge is to share your best money-saving travel tip in the comments below. Once you post, you’ll be entered to win $250 to put toward your next getaway.

Be sure to use your email address when you comment—it won’t be visible to other users—so we can notify you should you win.

Good luck!

  • Rima Sagala

    i avoid staying at hotels and instead find places to stay on airbnb.com where you can stay at apartments/flats that includes access to kitchen (meaning: cooking for yourself = cheap). Sometimes you’ll get hosts that will take you out for dinner and such. I avoid renting cars because it’s cheaper and funner to explore the area via public transportation. Or by foot, for free :)

  • kristifranci

    I book international travel way way in advance. I noticed that recently the “experts” came out with a booking guide that you get the cheapest airfares when booking 5 weeks in advance, but that is certainly not the case with international travel. I bought my airfare to Tokyo 7 months in advance and got a great rate for August travel. In cities like Tokyo do not hesitate to use discount hotel brokers like Hotwire. You can choose the area and the number of stars so its not like you are taking a great risk. We have a 4star hotel name brand for $135/night for three people, a great deal. Make sure that you do everything you can before leaving home, i.e. buy your train tickets, pay for hotel, change your phone plan to accomodate international travel, etc. This will save you time and money.

  • Michelle Bartley

    When going to Vegas get a package deal on airfare ad a hotel,much cheaper!!

  • Andrew G

    Im a young adult living in NYC where the drinks are $15 a pop. I have ‘invested’ in a great invention called the flask. This saves me over $50 a week when hanging out with old friends and watching the game at bars .

  • Kathryn

    My two favorite tips: Buy airfare well in advance of a trip. I know people say to wait for last minute deal, but I can have the flights completely paid for when I go. That make it easier for me to stay on budget because it’s not “all going on the card anyways.”

    I also HIGHLY recommend getting an apartment instead of a hotel, so you can cook, pack lunches, or have a normal breakfast at home instead of eating out 3 meals a day.

  • MS

    Think of anyone you know – or a friend knows – in the countries you will visit. Ask if you can stay on their couch for a few days while you are in their city, and leave flowers and a bottle of wine in thanks.

  • Sarah

    Ask! Always ask if there’s anything that can be done about pricing! Is there a loyalty club and can that get me a discount? Is there a class I can take to get a discount on that travel insurance? Can I get a break if I pay in cash? Is there a cheaper alternative to this? What free stuff is going on this week? Ask a local where they like to eat regularly. If you’re renting an apartment, ask if there’s anything you can do to help you get a better price. Ask if there’s a free upgrade available.

    Maybe the answer is usually no, but sometimes it’s yes!

    I once got a 15% discount on a 3-day apartment rental as well as free laundry services just because I said, “Do you offer a discount for Rick Steves books?” Definitely worth fighting the potential embarrassment of being turned down.

  • kc

    rent a moderate but nice vacation house for a few nights (plenty of room for family to have own space!) and share the cost and prep of meals and transportation getting there. Vacation rentals are usually in great places i.e. beach, mountains or near a fun town. Everyone feels like they are getting a vacation without too much stress or bearing all the costs.

  • http://buenosdinas.com/ Dina

    Rack up lots of airline miles so I can get a free or very cheap ticket! Also use discount hotel websites like agoda.com. buy food at local grocery stores rather than eat all meals out.

  • Carrie S.

    I try to use a combination of ebates, groupon, living social (and if you plan it really well, you ebates allows you to buy groupons and living socials deals through them, so it is twice the savings!). A trip to Texas a few months back saved me nearly 300.00 on flights and hotels alone with the combined discounts and cash back. Try using your credit card points if you have them. My husbands points redemption is so much better than mine, and his can cover car rentals and hotels. I am able to redeem gift cards for restaurants we usually go to. I have seen it mentioned, but restaurant.com is a great place to check for fancier dining options in your city of choice.

  • Farah MA

    I was in Melbourne recently and was shocked to see how expensive the city was. I found a serviced apartment that comes with a kitchenette, and free wi-fi (if you booked for more than 3 nights). I cooked breakfast, sometimes lunch/ dinner; and went shopping at the local market (Queen Victoria market) for food. One weekend I went on a tour to Grampians National Park; I saved 35 dollars by going to to lastminute.com for deals and I packed snacks in my bag.

  • Julie

    My cousin and I have an annual trip, since we live on opposite ends of the country. When planning in months in advance, we blast out an email to our friends/family. It kills two birds with one stone; we can visit others and save hundreds of money on hotels. We have traveled to Indianapolis, San Diego, and Puerto Vallarta! This year’s “Cruizin’ Cousin Getaway” is Boston, but next year’s is London! We don’t care the destination, we just want to travel together in our young 20s.

    • Smilin

      please post photos of you and your cousin, preferably in less clothing than more

  • Samaria O’Brien

    Buy plane tickets and hotel rooms when they are the cheapest. Tickets are most expensive during the day and on the weekends. Try rates around 1-2 am on Mondays and Tuesdays; those are the most reasonably priced times.

  • Spiderman

    Get to know people in the place you are going before you go! Dont be a tourist. The most amazing experiences and adventures I have had were off the beaten path. If you are honest and friendly people will help you out with a place to stay or even just ideas for saving money in there home town. It also forces you to understand local culture and language. just me though!

  • Shannon Lee Gilstad

    When traveling abroad I never go to currency exchanges for money. Instead, I take money directly out of banks. Faster, easier, and no passport required.