We recently went on a road trip to Alexandria, VA and Washington D.C. for the cherry blossom festival. My husband and I love to travel but with COVID-19 it’s scary to be on a plane or on a cruise. Hopefully, things will get back to normal so we could fly and visit our relatives back West or even back to the Philippines.
With all the traveling I made since 2012, here are some ways to save money while travelling:
Bring your own water, water bottle or drinks: When we went on our cross country drive last year, I thought we were prepared with drinks but my husband loves to buy something at every gas station we gassed up. Whether it was energy drinks, coffee or snacks, he just couldn’t resist. Even with his spending ways, we were able to save some money when we brought 4 – four liter bottle of water from Costco. We also brought some canned coffee from Blue Bottle but that ran out in the first few days of the trip. When you decide to fly, bring your own water bottle or don’t throw that plastic water bottle you bought from the store. Just make sure that the water bottle or plastic water bottle is empty of water which you can dump at a trash bin before security. After you get past security, beeline to the nearest water station and refill your bottle with water.
Don’t be shy to use your credit card points: A lot of people have been using credit card points or hotel points or airline miles they have accumulated to fund for their next trip. My sister once flew business class to Manila one way and back to the US on first class. Most of the hotels we stayed in on our cross country drive were courtesy of credit card points or hotel points that my husband accumulated from all the conventions his company sent him to. On our honeymoon, we used a portion of our airline miles to experience business class on a long haul trip.
Get an annual pass: Whether you visit a national park or go to Walt Disney World, consider getting an annual pass if you are planning to visit them several times which will get you back your money’s worth. When I was still in Shanghai and they opened Disneyland, they offered several kinds of season pass. The one I chose was a season Sunday Pass. Sure enough, I was there every Sunday trying out the different rides that I’ve never been to. On our cross country drive, we bought a US National Park Annual Pass for $80 + tax. We were planning to use it here on some parks in NC but COVID hit and we weren’t able to maximize the use of the pass. We were able to use it in Grand Canyon and Death Valley National Park.
Airbnb or Hotels: If you’re going as a group and you plan to share the cost of lodging, I would suggest that you book an airbnb with a kitchen. If you’re a couple or siblings, you can opt for a hotel. Just make sure that if you plan to stay at an airbnb or hotels, bring your own drinks and snacks so you can resist the bar in case they don’t give out free water bottles.
Loot your hotel room: You’re Asian if you loot your hotel room. Anything that is free, most Asians will take advantage of it. Facial tissue, toilet paper, coffee cup, toiletries, sugar, plastic fork and spoons, teabags. They don’t just take advantage what’s in the room but sometimes also what’s in the breakfast nook. My sister is staying at a hotel at present while she’s working as a temporary dentist in a small town by the ocean. She told us that she has several packets of hot chocolate for us. On our cross country trip, we’ve collected a lot of keurig pods of coffee or tea. We sometimes even ask the concierge for more even if we still have some in the room. The items you looted can be used as travel toiletries for your future trip.
Bring your own snacks or breakfast: During our long road trips with my sister, she will insist that we bring our own sandwiches to eat on the road. We also have a bag of snacks to eat either on the road or in the hotel. In my ESMM class, in one of our lessons it was suggested that we pack our own breakfast, whether it would be a fruit, bag of cereals, bread. In this way, we would know how much calories we are eating. In time of COVID, this would also be great since the to-go breakfast that the hotel gives out are either unappetizing or high in calories.
Purchase plane tickets in advance: I’m not sure what’s the sweet spot on purchasing plane tickets but anything less than a month in advance are usually quite pricey. Anything way in advance are also sometimes expensive unless if you’re using miles.
Travel during the off-season: There are pros and cons traveling during off-season. Crowds would be one, cheaper prices is another. When we traveled to Chicago last year, we bought our tickets in December for flights in February. We were able to score roundtrip tickets for $100 each. We were able to enjoy photoshoots at “The Bean” with few people. However, the weather was so chilly that we really don’t want to be outside the whole time we were there.
Use public transportation: In major cities like New York, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Prague, residents and visitors use public transportations to move around. Research which would be most beneficial for you. You can get a metro card or a 10 rides ticket. Make sure that you pay for the correct fare for the number of stops you take.
Get a Multi-Attraction Pass or Discount Card: When we went for a siblings trip in Osaka, my sister really maximize the use of the Osaka Pass. It was a one day pass with unlimited use of trains and buses in applicable sections as well as enter for free or at a discount in 40 tourist spots. In Paris, my travel buddy and I opted for a Museum Pass since we planned to visit several museums and monuments when we were there. Fast entry to the Louvre was the main draw as the lines were quite long.