Thrifty Travel Tips Too

March 20, 2010|By David Lester

I just got back from an ah-mazing trip and I have some quick trips to get more bang out of your buck when travelling. They will help you save money on the every day stuff while on the road so you can funnel the savings back into a better trip.  
1. Everyday eating:  It is so easy to eat fast food when on the run in a vacation spot.  You have so much to see and do that you it seems easy to throw down a Macers or pop in one of the over priced touristy places.  Instead, what I do is find a local grocery store get a big salad, some olives, and a cooked whole chicken, and then take it to the beach or some where scenic. This will drop your daily eating budget drastically and it will be healthier too. You can also grab a huge bottle of water and make some sandwiches for the days that you are site seeing. Throw some apples and baby carrots into your lunch bag and you’ve got snack action too.  
2. Fine Cuisine:  I love eating at great restaurants and I always ask the locals where they would go for a special occasion.  Normally it is a cute mom and pop shop off the beaten track that I would never have found on my own. The money that I save on lunches. snacks, and quick dinners goes toward dinners at nicer local places, where I make sure to try the local delicacies and fine wines.  
3. Tours: Avoid the large tours like the plague. They are way over priced and over crowded. When my family went to Egypt last Christmas, we rented a van with a guide and gave them a list of all of the things WE wanted to see. We also offered to buy them lunch if they kept us away from the tourist traps. This saved the four of us hundreds of dollars and we had private tours of all the amazing sites in Egypt. When I was scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia I did the same thing. I skipped the big tour boats for a smaller one where I got to know the hosts and went to more exotic parts of the reef to swim with the reef sharks. Amazing!  
4. Flights When Travelling:  I always book my domestic flights once I’m at my vacation location. I find out where I want to go and then ask a local how they get their cheapest flights. You find out about local domestic discount carriers, like Tiger in Australia. It saved me hundreds of dollars by buying my flights from Tiger instead of booking them in Canada.  
5. Stay With Friends: I saved a boat load by staying with friends on my last trip. And I know they loved having me, right guys? It saves you tons of money and you get to spend better time together than if you just saw them for dinner each night. However, you must obey the three day stay rule. After that there is another sofa calling your name.
6. Drinks!:  Another way to save a two-four of money if you love the night life is to find out what the local beverage is and stick to that. Normally I find a local beer or wine that I like. Mixed drinks can be a liquid fortune depending on where you are, and I’d rather enjoy the local ale and save money for another night out.  
7. Use Cash: I take all of my spending money out before I arrive and then divide it by the number of days that I will be there. You avoid the problem of not having cash at hand when you need it for a tour or a tiny shop that doesn’t take cards, and you save all of the credit card fees and exchange rates. If you’re taking out more than $1,000 you might want to do it in two ATM stops just in case you lose it or get robbed.  
8. Hotels: When you book a hotel go to one of our Canadian sites like or When you find your ultimate boutique hotel for super cheap your card will be charged in Canadian dollars saving you the exchange and the 2.5% exchange fee. $1,000 in hotels will save you $25 in fees.  
9. Trains: I love travelling by train. You get to relax, spend some time reading up on the next place to you’re going to visit, and plan your route of attack! It is also cheaper to get a sleeping berth on a train then a hotel. If you buy a train pass some sleeping trains are included or discounted. It can save you big bucks from pricey European hotels.   
10. Walk: If you can, walk to where you want to go. You get to see so much more and save yourself all of the transit fees. This works especially well in European cities. You get some great exercise, see the locals in action, and explore areas that you wouldn’t have on a tram or subway. Plus you’ll be ready for a deep sleep at the end of the day, and be ready to explore your next vacation spot with vigour in the morning. 
Hope you’ve enjoyed my travel tips.  Don’t forget to sign up for my RSS feed if you want my posts emailed directly to you each time I write.  My book will be published soon, so get ready for a “guide book” to loving your money and your life.  

Have an awesome week,


David Lester
About David Lester

David Lester is a best selling author and professional Financial Coach, helping people be better with their money. David has written a personal finance book that breaks with traditional attitudes towards finance and describes his own philosophy to money that he has gained through his personal and professional experiences. His philosophy on money applies to many areas of everyday life, including banking, investing, goal setting, shopping and entertainment.