Travel is expensive, but it shouldn’t break your bank account. There are countless ways to create extra value from your trip by cutting costs and using your dollars effectively. Follow these suggestions to get more from your travel time for less.

Many of your travel savings will be found before you have even left the country. One of the best ways to save on travel, therefore, is to research ahead of time.

  1. Don’t travel at all! If you the reason you are travelling is for business or to meet with a group of individuals, consider the many free options that you have at your disposal. Conference services, such as FreeConference.Com, provide a quick, easy, way to speak with your colleagues and contacts all around the world. You can save thousands when planning meetings in this way!
  1. Booking your flights and accommodation. Using comparative websites can trim hundreds of dollars off of your trip’s total cost. These websites will help you find deals on anything from airfare to lodging.

Price predictors on these websites will help you find optimal times to buy, so be mindful to purchase your tickets at the right time.

  1. Fly sensibly. Try to avoid flying on a weekend: weekends are often, but not always, the most expensive times to fly. If you have the flexibility, you will often find that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the slowest days for airports.
  1. Fly flexibly. Try to fly out from an alternative airport than the one that is closest to you.

You will almost always save money by having a layover between your initial and final destination. If the layover is long enough, this can also provide you with an easy way to see a city you perhaps have not been to before.

Mix and match your flights: many flight search engines can help you combine tickets from different airlines to give you the best deal.

  1. Use airlines effectively. Sign up for airline alerts to stay in the loop about sales or flight deals from different airline providers.

Some airlines have their own credit cards or incentive packages, but you will find that many banks offer travel rewards as well. Consider saving up travel reward points to potentially earn yourself a free flight.

  1. Avoid baggage fees. Many airlines have a ‘one free checked bag’ policy but will almost certainly charge for a second piece. Chances are, you won’t need as many things as you first imagine, but if you absolutely cannot fit a few extra items into your bag, consider wearing a few extra layers onto the plane itself. This is also a good strategy if your bag’s weight exceeds the allowable limit.
  1. Be Currency Conscious. Try to sort out your money situation before you arrive at your destination. It is highly likely that you will be charged a commission fee and a service charge fee from your local bank as well as the foreign bank; avoid paying these fees by planning ahead of time. Bear in mind, however, that carrying large quantities of cash on your person is not a sensible strategy.
  1. Choose your destination wisely. If you are travelling on a tight budget, go to a destination where you will receive the most value for your money, or where you can find the least expensive flight.

Ideally, avoid flying in the summer season as well. Fall is often the cheapest time to fly.

You may also want to “book blind” if you are not picky about where you travel to or where you stay when you get there. Using this strategy, it is possible to get the lowest rates, which can be a risk for flights, but it can be a great way to save on lodging or car rentals. This is an especially effective tactic for last minute bookings.

  1. Stay in an alternative form of lodging. Staying in a hotel is one of the most expensive ways to live while you travel. Fortunately for you there are countless alternatives to hotel living.

Consider staying in a bed and breakfast, private guest house, or use a service such as AirBnB. These methods usually offer preferable rates to hotels for a similar quality of service.

If you are not overly picky about interior design or comfort, youth hostels are a fantastic way to save money. Hostels often offer group rooms that will dramatically reduce your living costs, if you do not mind sharing a room with strangers.

  1. Eat smart. Avoid ‘tourist trap’ areas promising ‘authentic’ cuisine. Chances are you can get a better meal for a fraction of the price elsewhere. Hint: where are the locals going? Purchase a local travel guide for helpful tips, or download a travel application for this same purpose. Read reviews on the fly to determine the best option for you based on your preferences.

Follow these steps to maximize your money while you travel. Travelling abroad is a pricey undertaking, but by doing your research and planning ahead, you can beat the system and cut out unnecessary costs. Also keep in mind that if you are worried about costs, you should try to avoid travelling altogether. FreeConference.com can help you to slash travel costs by eliminating its need.