If you're like us, you're probably already dreaming up the details of your epic 2023 summer getaway.
And who can blame you? After the wild winter we've had, we think the travel bug has almost everyone itching right about now.
So exploring new places, trying out different cuisines, and embarking on unforgettable adventures are certainly on our summer to-do list.
However, as any frequent flyer would tell you, it's no secret that vacations can sometimes be a little heavy on your wallet, especially if you're travelling with your family or friends.
So this week we've drawn on our knowledge and experience to bring you eight smart travel-savvy tips to help you travel frugally and save money this summer.
Whether you're researching how to island hop in the Bahamas, or you're jetting off with that special someone to an all-inclusive beach destination, keep these tips in mind to ensure you get the most out of your summer travel experiences without breaking the bank.
1. Opt for Off-Season Travel
With its long sunny days and warm picturesque evenings, it's no surprise that summer is the peak travelling season.
It's the time of year that just about everyone is looking to get away from the office and into their best swimwear.
And the boost in demand means higher prices for everything – from flights to accommodations, excursions, food, car rentals, and more.
This "peak" season starts as early as April in some destinations, with the height of the tourist influx in many places landing during July and August, and remaining high until autumn.
To save yourself some cash (and the chaos of summer crowds) consider travelling during your destination's off-season, when hotels and activities are cheaper.
2. Book with Travel Reward Points and Miles
If you are a frequent traveler, it can be beneficial for you to sign up for a travel rewards program. As a rewards member, you can earn points and travel miles that you can then use to save on future travel expenses.
Most major credit card companies offer a traveler's reward program, and with a little bit of research, you can find excellent credit card deals that offer bonus miles or points, which can add up pretty quickly.
But keep in mind that, as the old saying goes, there is no free lunch. You earn your freebies as a result of spending on travel. So this is a good money-saving choice as long as frequent travelling is already in your future.
And with all the money you save from using rewards points, you can finally spring for a new pair of stylish and comfortable swim shorts for your vacation!
3. Reserve Your Flights and Accommodation Well in Advance
Waiting until the last minute to book your travel plans can be costly, and in more ways that one!
Not only do airfares and hotel room prices tend to increase as the travel date approaches, but waiting too long to reserve that room or book that excursion runs the risk of them being sold out by the time you're ready to put down the money.
To find the best deals for your vacation and secure the beachside hotel room of your dreams, we recommend booking your flights and/or accommodations at least one to two months in advance for domestic travel, and at least three to five months in advance for international travel.
You can also go one step further and utilize reliable budget traveler apps that help track room rates to ensure that you find the best stay for the best price.
4. Look for Budget Accommodations
Again, peak season means inflated prices for absolutely everything, including hotels.
If you're not a fan of luxury accommodations, consider booking a hostel, reserving a homestay, or renting an apartment or house through online rental platforms like Airbnb or VRBO.
These options are a great budget alternative to hotels, because they offer all the same guest amenities at a significantly cheaper nightly rate, and you're spared the nightmare of hidden hotel fees and surcharges (we're looking at you, Las Vegas).
In addition, smaller-scale budget accommodations can offer a more unique, private, and local experience that you just won't get at a big touristy hotel.
Just be sure to always read through the details and reviews of wherever you book so you know exactly what to expect (or not) when you arrive, and can plan accordingly.
5. Eat Like a Local
Eating out three times a day can add up quickly --very quickly. To save some extra bucks, skip the high-end dinner reservations and eat like a local!
Street food stands, local farmer's markets, and small family-owned restaurants are just a few of the great options that can offer delicious local cuisine at lower prices than fine dining restaurants.
Hawaii offers endless culinary opportunities around every corner, so there's really no shortage of amazing foods to try.
And if you're staying in accommodations that include a kitchen or kitchenette, you could really save some dough (pun definitely intended) and whip up an easy lunch or dinner once or twice with groceries bought from a local market.
Whatever you decide, you'll still be having an authentic culinary experience that you're sure to remember.
6. Use Public Transportation
Almost nothing beats the ease and simplicity of Uber and Lyft, but after a few trips around town, your ride bill can really rack up.
So if saving money is your goal, it's wise (and often more fun!) to opt for various forms of public transportation instead.
Buses, subways, and trains are classic cost-friendly options that you can use to easily get around the city or venture out of town to explore nearby sights.
And fortunately, public transport will show up whether or not you've got cell signal! So overall it's a real no-brainer when it comes to saving money on your summer travels.
7. Pack Smart
Over-stuffing your suitcase or carry-on can cost you extra money when you fly, as most airlines have very strict weight and size rules when it comes to luggage.
So even though you can fit three more pairs of flip flops in your carry-on, you might save yourself a big headache (and an even bigger surcharge) by leaving them at home.
Instead, pack only your essentials, prioritizing clothing items and accessories that are versatile and can be worn with multiple outfits or have multiple functions.
If you're doing a long haul trip, consider packing items that can be easily washed and worn again, that way you can save even more space in your suitcase.
And tempting as it is, we don't recommend wearing six layers of outfits to the airport to reduce the weight in your luggage. Not only will it be super uncomfortable for you, but you might get some odd looks at security.
8. Find Free Activities and Excursions
Before starting your trip, be sure to research the free activities available in the city or town that you're visiting!
While amusement parks, museums, and deluxe spa treatments are their own special kind of fun, you'll be surprised how much you can do without spending a dime.
Many destinations offer an array of free activities to enjoy, like free-to-visit markets, museums, community classes, outdoor concerts, and festivals, among other things. Or if you're feeling adventurous, you can take on low or no-cost activities like hiking, fishing, and beach combing.
Most cities have calendars available online that showcase what events are planned for the year, so be sure to check it out to make sure you don't miss a thing.
Travelling doesn't have to be expensive, and with a bit of planning and the right mindset, you can have an incredible experience without spending a fortune.
These eight tips can help you stay within your budget while experiencing all the fun things that come with travel. Remember, from Honolulu to Hamburg, you don't have to break the bank to make memories that will last a lifetime. Happy traveling!
Ready to start packing for your vacation? Shop our site for all your beachside essentials: