Are you headed on vacation this summer and find yourself deep in the planning stages? Now is a great time to quickly review your itinerary and “trip strategy” to make sure you’re not about to make any of the common mistakes that will add unnecessary travel costs.
Trimming your budget doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your trip. In fact, spending a little less could give you the opportunity to take some amazing travel excursions. From a zip-line adventure in Punta Cana to a French Quarter walking tour of New Orleans or a Grand Canal Taxi Tour featuring local delicacies in Venice – these are the experiences dream vacations are built upon, and you can get them for a bargain!
However, there are several budget travel faux pas worth avoiding to keep in mind before you hit “buy now.” Of course, booking your vacation and excursions through Splender and earning cash back from your trip and accommodations is a great way to save money right off the bat. With vendors like Booking.com (3% cash back), Expedia (2% cash back), Orbitz (2% cash back), Priceline.com (2% cash back), Sandals Resorts (3% cash back), Travelocity (2% cash back) and even Groupon (5% cash back) and Living Social (4% cash back), you’re bound to find a vacation – and deal – that’s right for you.
So read on to learn five more ways to save money on your upcoming travel excursions.
1. Bring a Friend…or Two, or Three
If you’re planning to travel with several people, you can usually take advantage of group discounts when you all book your excursions at the same time. For larger groups, say 10 or more, the savings can be even more, so if your group is large or you made new friends at your resort or hotel, take advantage of your numbers to save a few bucks. Plus, aren’t the excursions more fun when you have a shared experience?
2. Buy in Bulk
The same bargain shopping principle that can produce heavy discounts on household goods can also deliver great savings on vacation excursions, too – buying in bulk. If you’re planning a string of different adventures as part of an epic ‘round the world trip, or even a couple of smaller trips, consider booking your tours in a single transaction, as you might be eligible for a bulk discount. Many popular travel sites offer this feature, like Expedia (where Splender members can earn 2% cash back) and Travelocity (also with 2% cash back), so shop around for the best deals for your destinations.
Also, be sure to check with your credit card company before booking travel. Many offer reward points based on purchases, with some giving bonus points for travel vendors. Doubling up on offers can earn extra rewards and help you save even more money when vacation time rolls around.
3. Book Excursions Online
To save money on travel excursions, it’s usually best not to book through your hotel or resort, as these can often be more expensive (they often earn a commission on each tour). It’s likely you can find tours on the Internet for as much as one-third off the hotel’s price. You can find tour and travel deals on many websites such as Expedia (with 2% cash back for Splender members), Tours4Fun (4% cash back) and Go Card USA & Smart Destinations (with 7% cash back).
Expedia also offers a “Local Expert” resource, which gives advice on more than 750 popular vacation destinations, including Hawaii, Orlando and Mexico, among others. And not only about tours and transportation—this resource allows you to make dinner reservations, book show tickets and discover great recommendations on local activities to maximize your time and stretch your dollars during your stay. They offer an insider’s perspective and locals-only expert travel tips.
With Tours4Fun, you can find tour deals all over the world, including cities like Prague, Barcelona, Havana, Tokyo and New York City. Their experts search the globe to find the best and most affordable tours, port-of-call excursions and other activities from trusted suppliers.
Go Card USA & Smart Destinations admission cards save shoppers up to 55% on the gate cost at attractions in cities all across America. You instantly receive a city pass card along with a digital guidebook. Choose from cities like Boston, New York and Chicago, pick the sightseeing you want and then buy those activities as a bundle, which will be much cheaper than buying them individually.
Plus, you can find further deals and receive cash back rewards when you shop through Splender.com while on these sites.
4. Invest in a City Pass
Museum passes can save time and money. For example, the Paris Museum Pass pays for itself in just three visits and saves you hours by letting you skip the long lines and scoot right into more than 60 museums and historic places in and around Paris. Also, with some passes, you’ll pop painlessly into sights that might otherwise not be worth the expense.
For another example, the I amsterdam City Card provides entrance to the most of the city’s popular museums. The card includes other perks such as a canal cruise, use of public transportation and discounts on other attractions like the Heineken Experience.
In addition, most city pass and similar cards allow for unlimited visits to sites. Being able to split up a massive attraction like, say, the Louvre into several shorter, more manageable trips is another benefit of a city pass. A little research can go a long way, as many major cities across the globe have these special passes and deals that would bring significant savings to your budget.
5. Book Local Transportation in Advance
Another great way to save money on travel excursions is to set up any local transportation before your trip through a travel company’s shuttle or van service. Local taxis in some countries have been known to charge foreigners more to travel to and from airports, for example. When booking a tour on your vacation, most tour operators also offer transfers with the purchase of certain packages.
Even the most seasoned globetrotters can find themselves making common travel mishaps like busted budgets or overpriced flights, but you can easily avoid these trip travesties if your vacation is thoughtfully planned. There are a lot of great ways to save money on travel excursions and bag the best bargains on your next vacation.