10 Ways to Travel More and Pay Less

Travel is a great way to broaden your horizons, meet new people and get real-life education and experience. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to escape every day life and experience something new. It’s a little miracle when you walk onto an airplane in snowy, cold weather and step off a few hours later in a land of sunshine and palm trees. And who doesn’t want more miracles in their life? Many people would like to travel more, but they’re limited by budget and time. Here are ten suggestions for how you can travel more, use less vacation days and pay less.

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Travel More with Travel Points

If your grocery store offers a free travel rewards program, sign up. In Canada, Sobeys and Safeway stores use the Airmiles reward program. It’s completely free to sign up and you earn points that can help you travel more every time you shop for groceries and other items at participating stores. You might also consider getting a credit card that helps you earn travel points or dollars. If you make basic purchases on the points credit card and pay it off every month, you’ll get ahead. If you run a balance on the card, the interest charges will eliminate the benefits of the travel points. Pay off your credit cards and you’ll have more money to travel.

An image of the beach at the Marriott Cancun Resort in Cancun, Mexico - Travel More and Pay less.
Travel points and rewards programs can help you travel more often and pay less.

Sign up for Rewards Programs

If you’re staying at a hotel or flying with an airline that has a free rewards program, sign up. After a few hotel stays or flights, you might earn a free stay or flight. With some programs, points never expire. With other programs, you need to stay active in some way or your points expire. If you’re on top of it, you can keep your points active.

Related: Check out our post Travel Rewards – 5 Reasons to Sign Up Now.

Start a Travel Fund

Start saving for your next trip. Whether it’s a special savings account or a piggy bank, saving regularly can help you travel more. Think about how you’re spending your money and figure out where you might reduce expenses. You can put the savings into your travel fund. How much do you spend each week at your favorite coffee shop? Even a few dollars each week can add up.

An image of larch hiking in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada near Lake Louise.
Weekend escapes are incredibly rejuvenating. This is a picture of a larch hike we did on a weekend in Canadian Rockies. Photo by Greg Olsen.

Escape for a Weekend

If you struggle to get time off work or other responsibilities, make use of long weekends. There’s a lot to explore right in your own backyard. Take a day trip and go for hike, explore a local attraction or try out a new restaurant. Take the whole weekend and enjoy an escape in the country or in another city. Be a tourist in your own backyard.

An image of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens in Lethbridge, Alberta.
There is lots to see and do right in the place you live. Sometimes you have to be a tourist in your own backyard to discover them. This is a picture of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens in Lethbridge. Photo by Greg Olsen.

Visit Friends and Family

Visiting friends and family lets them know you care about them. It also saves money on accommodations and meals. Locals usually know the best restaurants and unique attractions to visit. They might also have inside knowledge for using public transportation. Be sure to take them out for a nice dinner, to a local attraction or leave a small gift to thank your friends and family for their hospitality.

An image of Carnitas Lalo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Staying with a local can help you find great inexpensive places to eat out. A taco at a taco stand in Mexico costs about $1 USD. In a restaurant, it’s a lot more expensive. Photo by Debbie Olsen.

Sign up for Deal Alerts from Travel Providers

Sign up for the e-newsletters from airlines, travel agencies and hotels. That way you’ll always know when there is a deal or a sale. Spending less lets you travel more.

Ever Heard of Bleisure Travel?

Combine the words “business” and “leisure,” you get “bleisure.” Combining business with leisure is a hot new travel trend. If you’re visiting a great destination for work, just add a few extra days before or after your business to explore and enjoy the destination. Bring someone special and they can enjoy the hotel while you’re working.

An image of a woman taking a picture of snowy Maligne Lake in Jasper in winter.
Look for great spots to visit in or around the city you’re visiting for business. If you’re visiting Calgary Alberta on business, it’s a short drive to go hiking in the Canadian Rockies. Photo by Greg Olsen.

Volunteer or Work Abroad 

If you want to travel for an extended period of time, look at work or volunteer opportunities in other destinations. Living in a destination is a great way to really experience local culture and challenge yourself by stepping outside your comfort zone. Many countries have agreements in place with select other countries that can make it easier for you to get a work visa.

Related: Do your feet swell on flights? Wearing compression flight socks can really make a difference. I wear them on all my long haul flights. Besides reducing swelling, they also help to reduce the risk of blood clots. Here are some other tips from the Mayo Clinic for reducing feet swelling. Did you know that compression socks are covered on some extended health plans?

Your Dream Destination on a Budget

Big ticket trips to far flung destinations can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce the costs. Check out our post about a self-drive safari in Namibia, Africa. Rates for a self-drive safari start at a fraction of the cost of a fully guided experience and we loved it. Consider an island hopping trip in the Galapagos Islands instead of a cruise. Island hopping is a less expensive way to experience this incredible destination. We loved that too. Whatever your dream trip is, take at look at options that might cost a little less. You might be able to get there sooner than you think.

An image of a man and a giant tortoise in the Galapagos islands in Ecuador - travel more and pay less.
Island hopping in the Galapagos is about a third of the cost of cruising and still gives you amazing experiences. Photo by Debbie Olsen.

Look for Free Things to Do

Look for free things to do in the destination you’re visiting. Some museums and attractions have times when they are open to the public for free. Download a free walking tour app instead of paying for a guided tour. We know whereof we speak. Check out our post 10 Free Things to do in Madrid.

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