You can save a ton of money if you stay with friends and family across the globe. You can even see if any of your friends and family members have friends with a spare room in the destination you are traveling to. Just be careful whom you ask and how long you stay so you don’t wear out your welcome.
Leave your valuables at home. Bringing too many valuable items on a trip just increases the chance that some of them will be lost or stolen.
When traveling to foreign countries, you should be aware of the taxi companies in the city. Make sure you are taking a taxi that is legit. Anybody can place “taxi” on a car, and you don’t know if they really are or where they could take you.
Using an ATM may seem like an archaic idea, but if you are traveling from the U.S. to Canada, you can often get a better exchange rate than you would at a currency exchange shop. Check the fees for using an ATM that is not connected to your bank versus the fee at the currency exchange to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.
Many museums across the country have at least one free or discounted admission day a month to allow locals and visitors to see their collections at a fraction of the price. Washington, D.C., is home to the Smithsonian museums, all of which are free 365 days of the year. The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers a “pay what you wish” on Wednesday nights. The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle is open to the public and free year-round for locals and visitors to explore at their own pace.
Walking is the cheapest form of transportation. If you have rented a car, park it at the hotel and explore your destination on foot. If the weather turns, hop onto public transportation. Walking gets you into spots you might otherwise miss and gives the whole family a little exercise.
Let your kids know that you can’t go crazy once you arrive at your destination. Too often, kids think once vacation starts all rules go out the window. You can have a few treats, but you aren’t having ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sit your family down before your trip to discuss where you will be prioritizing your money. It is a luxury to be going on the trip in the first place, which a lot of children just don’t understand. Set your limits ahead of time so there are no meltdowns or misunderstandings later. Encourage your kids to save up their allowance and work odd jobs to have extra spending money for the things they really want but you have not budgeted for this trip. If you can budget in a few surprises that are great, but this way everyone knows what to expect on your journey.