The Everyday Girl Guide to: Saving $200 by 2014 (Travel)

September 4, 2013

I spent a lot of time travelling this last weekend.  Even though I’ve always been a fairly thrifty traveler, I wasn’t as frugal as I might have liked.  I learned a few things that I’d forgotten:

  • If you want the best price on travel, you need to be flexible.  If your dates are set in stone, try to be flexible about destination or at least the time you travel.  If your destination is unchangeable, be more flexible about dates or time.  Likewise, if you can change how you travel (plane, train, bus), you can find better pricing. 
  • Driving isn’t always the most expensive option.  If you are a party of four or more, driving may actually be cheaper.  The easy way to do the math?  Miles divided by your MPG (equals gallons of gas) times cost per gallon.  For example, this past weekend, I travelled 375 miles.  The car I would have driven gets a whopping 12 mpg (or so).  Gas was about $4/ gallon.  So 375/12 = 31.25 * 4 = $125.  I’d also be putting wear and tear on the car, probably need to eat once (I get grumpy after four hours of starvation), and would have to pay for parking at my destination (around $12/day).  For me, driving was the expensive option.  However, if there had been two or three of us travelling, then the car would’ve been the same as or cheaper than most alternate forms of transportation.
  • Bring your own food and drinks.  Even without a cooler, you can get by with just an insulated bag for hours.  I have a bag from Trader Joe’s that cost me $3.99 that keeps things cool for almost 8 hours.  I wouldn’t pack meat or mayonnaise, but I feel pretty secure packing cheese, fruit, vegetables, or even bottled juices.
  • Think like a local.  If you go out to eat, find out where the locals go (yes, this means talking to people).  Better yet, get a hotel that has a refrigerator and microwave and buy groceries for most of your meals.  Even better, stay with friends and split the cost of groceries.

There are dozens of other things you can do, but these are the big ones that save money for me.  What do you do?




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