A beautiful beach in South Lake Tahoe, California

Not all travel has to be expensive. There are plenty of fun ways to travel without going overboard. I have compiled a list of ways to save during your next vacation. One of the best ways to save money is by taking a staycation – be a tourist in your own city for a few days! There are probably plenty of attractions that you have never checked out (libraries often offer discounted passes to local cultural attractions). By staying home you will save on both transportation and hotel costs, leaving you extra money to spend on attractions. However, if do want to explore a new city or area of the country, there are plenty of ways to budget. Check out my best budget travel tips!


*Research activities and events before your trip. This way you will be able to budget enough money in advance for everything that you want to do. Put aside money each month.

*Check museums and zoos for free dates. Many offer free admission on special dates throughout the year. Others are always free! Also, Bank of America cardholders get in free the first full weekend of each month to select museums as part of the Museums on Us promotion.

*Sign up to receive Groupon deals in the area in which you will be vacationing. You could save up to 90% on restaurants and attractions.

*See if the city you are visiting offers a Go City pass. This pass allows you to pay one price for multiple attractions.

*Check the Chamber of Commerce site. Research free and low cost local events in the area you are vacationing to.

*Make an itinerary before you leave. This strategy will help you stick to a plan and budget.

*Buy tickets to theme parks in advance. Theme park discounts are almost always cheaper online than at the gate.

*Book hotels through discount sites like hotels.com and kayak.com. Also, check the hotel’s website for special promotions and package deals.

*Book trips around national park free dates. Visit the following website to find free park days near you.

*Pick up a brochure for your attraction at the hotel. You will often find coupons on the back of the brochure, in addition to helpful directions and activity ideas.

*Book hotels with free breakfasts. Starting your day with a complete complimentary breakfast saves you a lot of cash especially over several days.

*Book airfare at least 14 days in advance for the best deals. Also try to book on Wednesday as this is the cheapest day to fly.

*Book hotels with kitchenettes. Cooking just a few of your meals at your hotel will save you hundreds as dining out quickly adds up.

*Don’t pay for fancy suites and extras. How often are you really going to be in the room?

*If traveling with pets, research your options. Hotels vary greatly in pet fees – trust me I have checked! La Quinta Inn always allows pets for free, is cleaner, and has a better breakfast than other hotels in the same price range.

*Book through Priceline. If your “Name your own price” bid is accepted you could save up to 60%.

*Pick up a “Room Saver” brochure at a travel plaza. There are hundreds of hotel coupons in one of these booklets. They are conveniently organized by city/state.

*Sign up to receive twitter alerts from airlines. This tactic will keep you to up to date on last minute deals.

*Be flexible to traveling at any time. Travel during the off season, play around with different arrival and departure dates, etc. Check the flexible rate airline calendar for the best deals.

*Book through Southwest. You can check 2 bags for free! This cost can add up if you traveling with multiple people carrying a lot of luggage.

*Take a road trip. Driving instead of flying can save you a lot of money. Plus, you don’t have to pay airline baggage fees.

*Travel with other couples. You can split the costs of various bills such as the hotel and gas.

*Check reviews of hotels and restaurants in advance. You are spending your hard earned money, don’t waste it!

*Keep plenty of snacks with you on the go. You won’t have to resort to overpriced attraction concessions.

*Don’t overbuy souvenirs. Are you really going to use/display them all or will they end up in the attic?

*Avoid taxis/ubers on your trip. This is an unnecessary expense; walk or take public transportation.

*If renting a car, do so in advance as rates will be cheaper. Also check the website for additional discount and weekly rates. Rent a smaller car that is more gas efficient.

*Engage in free and low cost activities on your trip. Exercise, nature walks, state parks, hiking, and biking are examples of fun, low cost activities.

Keep these budget travel tips in mind and you could save enough money for another trip! I would rather cut down some of my unnecessary expenses on my trip, like souvenirs and overpriced restaurants, and save the money for another vacation!

Also, here are 20 incredible free tourist attractions to put on your bucket list!