While there are clearly 100+ ways to save money while traveling, I wanted to highlight some of the quick and easy ways if you are on a budget. If you have some thrifty ways you have saved on your travels, please feel free to share in the comments sections below! I will be adding to this list from time to time and reposting with new savvy ideas.
1. Cary on luggage. With baggage fees costing north of $20/bag this can an additional $100+ for a family to travel round-trip. Or, get a credit card that allows you to check baggage for free – stay tuned for an upcoming post!
2. Find alternative ways for parking at the airport.
a. Look into off-airport parking. These facilities can be around a third of the price than parking onsite. I personally was able to find an offsite facility at Newark for $7/day! There are many of times you can find on the internet, but one that I use often is: Airport Parking Reservations
b. Look into two one-way rentals. If you have a relatively long trip, look to see how much two separate rentals would cost. You might be surprised to see that the total cost is less than airport parking. This is also helpful if you are parking outside in the winter months and want to avoid spending an hour shoveling snow off of your car upon arrival!
c. Hotel stay and fly packages. Some airport hotels have packages where if you stay there the night prior to your flight, you can leave your car onsite for up to 2 weeks. Each hotel has different policies and packages, but it is always worth looking into this. This can also be helpful if you leave far from an airport and have an early morning flight.
3. Rent a car from an off-airport location. Car rental locations located at the airport are typically more expensive and have hefty taxes and fees tacked on. In many areas, you will find that just 15 minutes down the road that same car rental chain has another facility and much cheaper! Many times the cost of taking a taxi to the off-site location is still significantly less than your cost savings. Additionally, you might even be able to return the car back to the on-site airport location. If the fee is higher or they charge miles when doing this, call the facility in advance and ask if this can be waived.
4. Bring an empty water bottle through security. Although water is banned going through security, empty water bottles are not! Once you get through security find a water bubbler or ask the bar tender at a restaurant if they will fill the bottle for you with tap water. Bottled water is expensive at airports!
5. Stay at an airport hotel when arriving late at night or leaving first thing in the morning. Paying for an expensive hotel when it is not really being used is a waste. If you are arriving late at night, see if the airport has a cheap hotel where you can stay at. Wake up early the next morning, pick up the rental car, and head to your destination. Call in advance to request early check-in. This can also be done at the end of your vacation if you have an early morning flight. Additionally, this could help cut down a day on the car rental.