You don’t have to stop traveling in order to save money. In fact, you can actually do both. From free hotels to savings accounts, here’s how to save money while you’re traveling.
1. Choose the Right Destination
The destination plays a huge role in how much you’ll spend. Think of it as a “go here, not there” scenario. For example, Bermuda offers a lovely beach vacation, but is incredibly expensive. Instead, try Curaçao, which offers loads of culture, lovely architecture, and beautiful beaches. Fancy skiing in Switzerland? Consider Bulgaria or Romania, instead.
2. Take Advantage of Free Stopover Cities
Long layovers can actually be an excuse to tick another city or country off your list with a free stopover. For example, Iberia Airlines has created an “Hola Madrid” program to turn your layover into a destination, allowing passengers to spend up to six nights in the capital at no additional cost to the ticket. Icelandair, Qatar Airways, TAP, Etihad, plus quite a few other airlines also offer this program.
3. Get Free Hotels on Stopovers, Too
In addition to a free stopover, some airlines take it a step further and offer a free hotel. Qatar Airways offers free hotel accommodations when flying to the hub of Doha. Etihad offers two nights free for stopovers in Abu Dhabi, and Turkish Airlines offers a free hotel stay in Istanbul. There are also Canadian and Chinese airlines that offer this perk.
4. Rent Out Your Space
You don’t have to have an apartment in San Francisco or Paris to rent your space. Your house or apartment could serve as a rental for business travelers or even students. Short-term rentals like VRBO and Airbnb allow you to actually make money while you travel.
5. Set Up an Automatic Travel Savings Account
You can have a bank account that’s devoted entirely to your travel funds. Here, look for features such as a no- or low-fee account with a high interest rate. A high-yield savings account is ideal because you'll be able to earn some interest on money, but still be able to access it easily. Create an ongoing direct deposit into a fund that has a specific name – in this case, a travel savings account. Many banks offer accounts with goal-setting features that help you visualize your progress towards your next trip.
6. Swap Cars for Public Transit
One option: Choose a destination that offers efficient public transportation – think: New York City, London, Tokyo, and Paris, all of which offer incredible and intuitive public transit. It's not only affordable but a great way to see the city sans traffic, like a local. If you are going to rent a car, choose the right search tool to compare rates and find the best deal.
7. Take Overnight Trains
Speaking of public transportation, when taking a longer-distance train ride, choose the overnight option. You’ll arrive at your desired destination while saving a night’s worth of hotel costs.
8. Offer Language Skills
You can make money while traveling by teaching language classes. Teaching abroad gives you the chance to do meaningful work in a new place, while learning about new cultures and getting paid along the way. There are several agencies that offer teaching opportunities, TELF being one of the most popular.
9. Get the Right Credit Card
Using a credit card (responsibly, of course) while traveling makes a lot of sense: If you’re spending money anyway, why not earn money or points for future travel? There are loads to choose from but cards can offer travel credits, cash back, Global Entry fees, and lounge access, which can save a ton of money while in airports. You can find some options here, thanks to our partner CompareCards by LendingTree.