Posted by: Mark Polk | 2018

Money Saving Travel Hacks

Travel is amazing for a person’s mental health and general perspective on life. When we travel, we actually activate circuits in the brain that typically lie dormant. These circuits evolved in our brains for very pragmatic reasons. For example, when we are in a new environment we exhibit demonstrably higher creative thinking abilities than normal. This makes sense because if an organism finds itself in a new environment, creative thinking would increase its ability to survive. It is easier to find food, shelter and water if we are thinking outside of the box. In today’s world this circuitry leaves us feeling inspired, perceptive and capable. The effects often linger once we return home, giving us a renewed sense of engagement in our lives.

Of course, finding a good argument for while travel is not the obstacle. Affording travel is the obstacle. Travel is often twice as expensive as it looks on its face. This is because many of us have to lose wages in order to take time off for travel. Therefore, finding ways to make it more affordable is a worthwhile endeavor. Let’s dive in.

Tame the Credit Card Dragon

Many of us avoid credit cards like the plague. And for good reason, credit card debt can derail financial progress in very extreme ways. That being said, credit cards can be just as useful as they can be damaging. It all comes down to how you use them. For example, you can put almost all of your regular expenses through an airline credit card. If you pay the balance down to zero every month, you circumvent the finance charges. In a few months you’ll have enough airline miles to book a flight for free. If you are careful with this process, you won’t spend a dime of extra money and instead simply be getting free travel. Airline points can also be applied to hotels and car rentals often times.

If you don’t trust yourself with a credit card, start with an guaranteed card. This will make you pay the balance you intend to use up front while building your credit at the same time. Guaranteed cards are a great way to discipline yourself into using these tools properly.

Optimize Your Fuel Economy

If you’re driving to travel, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck in gas. First, keep your vehicle well-maintained, this can have a massive impact on fuel economy. This is especially important if you intend to travel by RV. Common culprits for bad fuel economy include dirty/low motor oil, dirty air filters, and low tire pressure. These issues can add up to as much as a 20% reduction in fuel economy. You can also reduce fuel prices right at the pump in a few ways. The first is by utilizing a fuel rewards credit card, these usually provide 3% cash back rewards on fuel and groceries purchases. The second is by using the GasBuddy app on your phone to find the cheapest fuel prices near you, which will often save over 10% in fuel prices.

Think Outside the Box

A good rule of thumb is that if some place or activity feels like a “tourist trap” it is probably unnecessarily expensive. Try to avoid getting sucked into any cottage industries that exist to attract tourism. Instead, strike up a conversation with locals and ask them for input on how to get the best bang-for-your-buck experiences while you’re out. Often times you’ll find dirt-cheap, hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are incredible, beautiful hiking trails, and more. Many airbnb’s are cheaper than hotels and much more interesting. If you travel mid-week prices tend to be lower for airfare, fuel, etc. The idea is to not let your travel habits follow the flock so to speak, this is the best way to save money in unexpected ways.

We hope these tips save you some money on your next trip. Often times it’s as simple as making travel a priority. Once we have a goal in mind, finding creative ways to achieve that goal is what our brains are evolved to do. So get out there and see the world!


Kyle Rutten is a freelance content creator for B&B RV in Denver, Colorado. He loves to travel and spends most of his free time in the Colorado wilderness.


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