One of the questions I got asked quite a bit while we were on our road trip vacation was how we were able to travel so much/afford it/how we saved money/etc. So they basically all revolved around a financial aspect of the trip & how to make travel affordable. First & foremost, I planned A LOT and did a ton of research before pulling the trigger for anything. I believe that is how I was able to keep our travel affordable & plan things accordingly. You can actually read my previous post about how to plan your next road trip like a pro here where I talk more about the logistics of planning rather than financials, it’ll be a huge help I promise!
Below you’ll find SIX key ways I was able to save over $1,000 when planning our road trip that allows me to classify it as “affordable travel”. Some I didn’t even realize was a thing until I started the planning process & research! So if you want to find out how you can save a ton of money on your next road trip, keep reading below! Be sure to read until the end, I saved the best for last!
AFFORDABLE TRAVEL TIP ONE:
Not always reserving the economy/compact sized car. In my mind, I always thought the smallest dinkiest car would be the cheapest. When I booked through RentalCars.com, I found that wasn’t the option. I found a Ford Edge(mid-sized SUV with way more room & bells and whistles) for $300 cheaper than the compact or economy car! Because I have never rented a car before so I really had no idea, but doing my research and checking out all of the options I found out how I could save some money!
AFFORDABLE TRAVEL TIP TWO:
Checking up on your rental car bookings, so essentially “re-booking”. RentalCars.com doesn’t charge any sort of fee for re-booking so I actually stumbled across this by accident. I had to go in and change our pick up time in Hilton Head to earlier by a few hours and it shows you a newer price and it went down by a little bit over $200! I have no idea why, we were still a few months out from our trip, but I kept checking in on it after that to see if prices had gone down even more. They hadn’t, but saving over $200 was SUCH a sweet surprise. It pays to check up on your bookings with cars in that case!
AFFORDABLE TRAVEL TIP THREE:
Using Hopper (the phone app) to flag & monitor flights! Not that this necessarily “saved” money I had spent, BUT it helped me save more than I would have spent. Hopper basically tells you when flights are projected to go up in price, go down, etc. So I used this to watch our flight to Hilton Head and our flight home from Providence. When I followed the Hopper tracker & booked when it said prices were the lowest-they definitely were! They literally went up by $80 the next day. So I scored big time for us.
AFFORDABLE TRAVEL TIP FOUR:
Install Ebates onto your web browser!! You basically get cash back for certain sites when you shop online. American Airlines, Expedia, Cars.com, etc. I even used this for sites that didn’t relate to our road trip. Like ordering my make up online at Sephora instead of in store so I could use that cash back towards our trip. I ended up having a little over $60 back in eBates cash from the time I started booking/planning our trip.
AFFORDABLE TRAVEL TIP FIVE:
Upgrading your plane seats to first class. This might sound counter productive, right?? I’m talking about affordable travel yet telling you to look into upgrading to first class. But hear me out! Our flight from Phoenix to Hilton Head was broken up into two flights. One was from Phoenix to Charlotte and then Charlotte to Hilton Head. When I was checking us in, the option to upgrade to first class was there. It was too expensive for our longer leg of the flight, but for the second flight that was about an hour, it was only $25 per person. So I went ahead and reserved it for us. This means when we got to the airport, we both got two checked bags for free with a 70 pound weight limit! So by spending $25 we got $100 worth of bags for us. So we saved $50 when it came down to it. It might not seem like a lot, but the best part of it was the weight limit, too! We were both over and would have had to pay extra baggage weight fees! & we got to use priority check in for our flight to Charlotte, too. Woo!
AFFORDABLE TRAVEL TIP SIX:
The best for last! This was the one that saved us almost $700 for our car rental! I was SHOCKED. Like I said, I had never rented a car before. So when I started to plan our trip, I actually thought we would start in Providence and end in Hilton Head. Our car rental for that ended up being so expensive and I actually got sort of discouraged! It was literally like $1600. Then I thought of reversing the route where we started in Hilton Head. Then, BAM it was like half the price! & this truly is the biggest component that made our road trip an affordable travel possibility for us. This was the biggest take away for me that I wanted to share with everyone. Think of reversing routes, changing pick up and drop off areas, etc. Change it up and try different options and compare EVERY price option. It just might save you a ton of money!
These are just 6 ways I found that saved me the most money & get the most out of our trip! I hope you all enjoyed these & I’d love to hear any other ways you guys save money for bigger trips to make your travel more afforable!
If you have any other questions about this post & affordable travel tactics or other money saving tips, don’t hesitate to send me an email, write a comment, whatever! I’d love to chat!
Until next time!