The conventional wisdom is to spend your money on experiences and we are definitely advocates of that advice. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t utilize some savvy tips and some planning to spend those experiential dollars in the most effective way possible. Here are six of our favorite tips to save some cash without sacrificing on the experience….
1) The Best Time to Book a Flight
The team at CheapAir.com did a study where they analyzed 1.3 billion airfare purchases, yup that is billion with a “B”. Their conclusion?? Try to book around 54 days before your day of departure. They even referred to anytime between 21 and 112 days before your departure date as the “Prime Booking Window”.
2) Consider Multiple City Airfare Options
The default move when you start to plan for a getaway is to think round-trip airfare but that might be a mistake. If you are considering visiting multiple spots make sure you investigate one-way flights to one destination and home from another. Not only do you save cash because you don’t have to travel back to your original arrival airport, you might be able to play around with the dates, places, and times to save some dough. Also be sure to consider re-structuring your plans to see what the cost would be if you re-ordered the cities you plan to visit to give yourself more favorable flight prices. Utilize your favorite travel search engine’s “One-Way” & “Multi-City” search options to see what itinerary is the savviest.
3) Travel Off-Peak
So this advice is a little wishy washy because sometimes the “off-peak” time is during monsoon season or it would leave you in the middle of winter when your desire a trip that features al fresco dining. However, if you do a little bit of searching online you will be able to identify when the peak travel season is and assuming you have some flexibility on travel dates you can try to strategically structure your journey outside of that peak window. You will most likely save money on flights and hotels, plus you will be able to visit most tourists spots with smaller crowds.
4) Consider Lunch at the Expensive Restaurant on your List
If you do some due diligence before arriving it is likely that you will have a list of amazing culinary destinations you want to visit. Take a good look at the list and investigate whether any of the more expensive places offer a lunch menu. Do a quick look at the reviews online and see if it might make sense to save some serious coin while still enjoying all the deliciousness of that spot on your list with the “$$$$” rating.
5) Visit the Local Tourism Office
Yup, we get it, in the age of iPhone apps that can answer any question you have, can you even believe that we are suggesting you go talk to an actual person, in our tourism office to say the least. You bet we are, because you will be blown away by how friendly and willing to help these people are. Additionally, after talking to you for 5-10 minutes they will be able to give you suggestions on the best use of your time plus tips on how to save some cash and experience the city more like a local.
6) FREE WALKING TOURS!!!
Honestly one of the best ways to see a city (especially if you can plan it so that you do it on your first day) is to sign up for a free walking tour. They are almost always led by a local who works entirely off tips and not only do you get some serious exercise, you also get a pretty decent snapshot of the sites to see and some insider knowledge from a local. These are extremely popular in Europe, but thankfully they are gaining popularity in the good old U.S.A.