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10 Insider Tips For Budget-Friendly Travel

Christine Hall is passionate about showing others how to prioritize their health and wellness so that they can thrive in life! She is the founder of Thrive Movement Studio and Christine Hall Coaching, and is a Board Certified Health Coach, Certified PT and a Certified Life Coach.

 
Executive Contributor Christine Hall

If you haven’t discovered recently, travelling in 2024 has become much more expensive. ‘Revenge travel’ after COVID shows no sign of stopping, as people want to explore new destinations and create memories. However, with rising costs worldwide, travelling cost-effectively without some help can be challenging. I worked for 19 years as a flight attendant at a major Canadian airline and became very resourceful in having great experiences on a budget without sacrificing fun!

Beautiful, young female tourist sitting on the street and exploring the city map

How your phone can save you money


1. Book your flight as far in advance as you can

Take advantage of any points that your credit card or other rewards program may offer that you can redeem towards your flights or hotels. For optimal savings, Expedia's Air Travel Hacks report recommends booking international flights 60 days in advance and domestic flights 28 days in advance.

 

Airlines have dynamic pricing, so prices can constantly change based on demand. The day and time you book your flight can make a difference. According to Expedia, Tuesdays used to be the best day to book your flight, but now Sundays reportedly can save you more money. The day you fly also makes a difference, so if you have some flexibility in your schedule, opt for flying out on a Thursday, Monday or Tuesday to save money versus flying out on a weekend.

 

One price hack I found recently was to double-check the prices between different devices. I was recently booking a flight to Toronto, and the flight was cheaper on my phone than on my desktop computer, even though I was in the same location! This was for an identical flight on the same carrier, with the same time and dates. I saved almost $100 as a result!

 

2. If you can travel with a carry-on only

You’ll save a lot of time and money instead of checking a bag and risking it getting lost on the other end. Many airlines offer discounted rates for carry-on only. However, you want to be mindful if you decide to book these restrictive fares as they are often non-refundable if you purchase and then need to make changes later. Decide whether you need some flexibility and can pay more or if you’re firm on your itinerary and can travel on the cheapest fare offered.


Leverage social media for hotel deals


3. Shop around so you have an idea of what the going rate is for your destination and dates

Travelling in off-peak times will save you a lot of money, but if you don’t have that flexibility, there are still ways to save money. One of the best things I did before going to Greece last June was to join a Facebook group for the destination I wanted to go to. I posted to the group asking for tips and found an incredible hotel in Santorini based on comments from experienced travellers. I started searching for that hotel online and found a great rate on booking.com. That saved me hundreds compared to other sites. I decided to join their rewards program, and they offer additional savings the more you use their website. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but it was a great way to save on future travel which I have used since.

 

Affordable dining at your travel destination 


4. I hate buying food and snacks at the airport unless I have to

Everything is so much more expensive, so I buy as much as I can in advance to take with me. Visiting a local dollar store to buy things like trail mix, chips, and other snacks for the plane can save you so much more than buying these items at the airport. Also, buying protein bars at your local grocery store can be very handy when hunger suddenly hits on planes, trains and buses. I recommend bringing a large empty water bottle with you so that after you clear security, you can fill it up at a water bottle refill area now commonly found at most airports. Packing your sandwiches, chopped veggies and fruit for a meal on the plane is cost-effective and a healthier option.


5. Once you arrive at your destination

Check if you have a fridge in your room. This can make a huge difference in your food budget. If so, you have more freedom to buy food from the grocery store that you can make in your room to save money. Things like yogurt, milk, sliced meats, and cheeses can be refrigerated.


6. Booking a hotel that serves a complimentary breakfast

It can save your family a lot of money on your vacation. Many hotels offer wonderful breakfasts that include healthy options such as eggs, sliced meats, fruit, and yogurt. They often have oatmeal, cereal croissants, toast, etc.


7. Look up happy hours offered at your destination

Some have happy hours that extend to 6 p.m. or later, which makes eating dinner as a family more affordable. Some destinations will have a happy hour app, such as Maui Happy Hours


Discover local favourites and hidden gems


8. You can also save when exploring your destination

When you book online, you will often save some money vs. arriving and paying on-site. This is common with hop-on-hop-off bus tours (i.e. bigbustours.com in Paris). One alternative is to travel like a local and use the local transport system. We used the metro system when I took my kids to Paris last year. It was so easy to use and quite cheap. I was nervous about using it, but my kids loved learning how to get from one place to another; it became an adventure!


9. Every city has a major attraction

You can find discounted ways to visit. Everyone wants to have an amazing experience when they travel and see the popular sights. The trouble is that many of these sights are pretty pricey. Searching online for discounted options can save you a lot of money. For example, there are last-minute ticket booths (i.e. TKTS) in New York City where you can save a lot of money on Broadway shows on the same day. You may have to stand in line, but it’s worth it! I saw Annie in NYC for a huge discount when I went on the day off, and we even got great seats! Even if you get less desirable seats, sometimes the ushers will quietly come and move you to a better seat, as I found out in London for a couple of shows.


10. The best experiences often come from exploring the city like a local

Ask the reception desk at your hotel for their favourite restaurants and experiences, and often, this is how you can discover the ‘diamond in the rough’. It’s often going to save you money, and you will be exposed to different cuisines or neighbourhoods that you would have never experienced otherwise!

 

I hope that by implementing these tips, you can continue exploring and creating memorable experiences without overspending, ensuring every journey remains stress-free and fun! Happy travelling!

 

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Read more from Christine Hall

 

Christine Hall, Life, Health & Wellness Coach

Christine Hall has faced significant challenges, including losing her mom to lung cancer at 13, a brother to suicide, and her father to a stroke, as well as overcoming a serious ski accident that temporarily left her in a wheelchair. These experiences have fueled her passion for prioritizing mental and physical health and showing others that you can not only survive loss but thrive! She has dedicated her life to helping others make their health and wellness a priority, not an afterthought. She is the founder of Christine Hall Coaching and Thrive Movement Studio, helping thousands of women since 2011. Her mission: Embrace every moment and live it to the fullest, feeling great every step of the way!


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