This story was originally published in In Her Shoes, an award-winning business blog that celebrates female entrepreneurs. Click here to view the original feature: http://www.inhershoesblog.com/5-tips-for-jet-setting-on-a-budget
With Summer in full swing and vacation photos popping up in your Facebook feed every day, it’s easy to catch the travel bug and want to jump on the boarding pass bandwagon. However, before you burn through your rent money trying to plan a last-minute getaway, here are a few simple tricks to live out your jet-setting fantasies without coming home to an eviction notice.
1. BYPASS BAGGAGE CLAIM
Fly girls pack light and often. If it’s only a weekend trip, there is no good reason for you to be hauling four Louis Vuitton suitcases, a duffel bag, a carry-on, another carry-on disguised as a “personal item” and your purse around the airport. Don’t be that chick. If you plan your attire in advance and limit your luggage to one carry-on bag, you can save up to $50 in checked baggage fees (and up to $78 if you’re flying Spirit Airlines), which also charges up to $90 round-trip for carry on bags but their business practices are another story that would require an alcoholic beverage for me to even begin to discuss.
2. Name Your Own Price
When I first started traveling I always thought those price-bidding sites would leave me sleeping on a dorm-quality mattress in some horror movie hotel in an alley, or driving the third-string backup rental car with the pesky little brake problem. Unbeknownst to me, people were zipping around town in the same compact car I had reserved at a much lower price by working with these digital negotiators. Before you book a hotel or rental car (or plane ticket if your times are flexible), try your luck with Priceline or Hotwire. While you can’t choose your actual hotel or rental car company, these agencies pride themselves in booking quality amenities at a reduced price so rest assured that your winning bid will be worth the gamble and you’ll come out on top with more money for fun on your vacation.
3. Hit The Road
So once I hit my late 20s and considered myself an official grown up, I decided to retire the days of piling in a Honda Civic with four other people in the name of saving on airfare. However, a last minute road trip a few years ago with three of my girlfriends ended up being so much more fun than a plane ride and we collectively saved nearly $1000 on our travel costs. Gas up the car, split the bill, and get excited about having an extra $200-$400 once you reach your destination to pop bottles, rent a jet ski, buy that must-have pair of shoes or whatever your heart desires without having to endure a pat down, body scan or other virtual strip show in the airport.
|Delicious breakfast spread at Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra, Ghana|
4. Skip Breakfast
No, not like, literally. Skip that extra food bill and opt for the free continental options offered at so many hotels. I mean yeah, the chances of you getting a made-to-order omelette or French crepes are pretty low. However, I’ve had fresh waffles, biscuits and gravy, hot oatmeal, eggs, bacon and fresh orange juice all for free (not at the same time, though that would make a pretty epic breakfast) and was able to splurge on more exciting meals later in the day. When drafting your travel budget this summer, save up to $20/day by treating yourself to continental breakfast in bed.
|My friend Nic enjoying Bake and Shark in Maracas Bay, Trinidad|
5. Do As The Romans Do
The fastest way to blow your entire budget wide open is to act like a tourist and waste money by eating breakfast and dinner at the hotel, buying show tickets at the venue on the day of the performance, and taking taxis around the corner because they’re lost. Whether you venture outside of your country’s borders or simply drive a few hours away, your trip will be much more interesting, and cheaper, if you adopt the lifestyle of the people who live there. Eat at local shops and food trucks. Walk around. Talk to the locals to find out the hidden treasures excluded from sponsored travel guides. Your wallet will thank you and you’ll have much better pictures (and stories) when you come back home.