Whenever I travel to a new city I want to get the most out of it. I want to see and do as much as I can, but I also don’t want to break the bank doing it. Finding a balance can be tricky. Here are the top 5 tips and tricks we have learned from personal experience to see and do more while spending less:
Buy a pass of some kind
There are all kinds of passes out there, City Pass, Go Cards, and specific passes designed for specific destinations. For example, The London Pass provides access to many of London’s top destinations for one price.
When you have a pass, you only spend money once controlling costs, and I have found we are motivated to “get our money’s worth” so we maximize our experience. We go-go-go, and do as much as we can. I wrote a little about using a pass like this in my post about San Francisco, but I can say we have used these types of passes all over the US, and plan to use them in London in a few weeks. Totally worth it.
Eat for cheap
Unless you are doing a foodie vacation, save those dollars for site seeing. Food can be very expensive.
- Pack PB&J
- Eat at less touristy places and try local cuisine (as pictured, Peter-Fish in Israel)
- Bring your own snacks and water bottles
- Try breakfast in, lunch and dinner out!
- If cruising, eat on board
Doing this will save you a lot, and allow you to spend money on whatever you value most, whether that is souvenirs, or entrance fees to museums, or seeing more places. But don’t skimp out entirely, splurge on a meal a day (instead of all 3) so you don’t feel deprived. Or in my case, get lots of gelato.
Be Transportation Smart
Figure out the best form of transportation for where you are going. When we go to Hawaii we rent a car. When we got to San Francisco we walk and rely on public transit. When we go to Europe we use RyanAir or local buses. The truth is, there is no one best way, but each place has a different “best” option. Take time to do a little research to find the least expensive way to get around.
When we were last in Rome it cost about 20 Euro to take a cab from our hotel to the Central Downtown area. BUT, the local bus was 1 Euro. Totally worth the extra 5 minutes, and freed up money for extra gelato…mmmmm!
When we were in South Africa we selected excursions that would pick us up from our hotel. For a few extra Rand we got curbside service, and saved three times the Rand not having to get to a central pick up spot. So it was actually cheaper and way more convenient.
Spend where it counts
Sometimes it is just worth it to spend more money. Decide when spending more is worth it. For example, paying extra for the guided tour can often help you skip a long que (line) at a museum or historical site. We have taken advantage of this on numerous occasions, and never regretted it. Saving an hour of time standing in line (which means an extra hour to enjoy the destination or hit up another spot) is usually worth the extra expense. Ask yourself: Do I have more time or money?
Research with personal bias in mind
One thing I have found is that no matter where you go, there is usually more to do than you will have time or money for. The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to be particular. Do the research, and figure out what appeals to you most. Then do that, and skip other stuff, even if someone tells you it is a “must-do”!
For example, when my husband and I traveled to Majorca we were told to spend time at the huge cathedral there. Well, my husband is not really that into cathedrals, so instead we went clear across the island to the Cuevas Del Drach. Best. Choice. Ever. It was a cave excursion with an underground lake and an orchestra that plays in this huge underground cavern. It was amazing, and one of my favorite travel experiences to date. But it is not for everyone. What have you always wanted to do at your destination? What general activities appeal to you more: history, art, sports, shows/live entertainment? Choose based on answers.
What are some of your tips and tricks for spending less while doing more? I would love to know. Share on Facebook or here in the comments.