Save Money While Traveling – Tips from the Field

I am on the last day of a weekend trip to Philadelphia and wanted to share a few money saving tricks I learned, and some mistakes where we (myself and the people I was traveling with) could have saved some money. Since we are still on our trip, I will put down a few quick points down for now and update them when I get back home. I am also planning to prepare a condensed top 10 style version.

Plan an ample budget beforehand

Your trip is your chance to enjoy yourself, so it is helpful to do all of the worrying about money before hand. Try to set yourself a budget where you won’t feel short on cash. Plan your itinerary around how much you can afford to avoid temptation later. The King of Prussia mall, for example is very nice, but the whole point of being there is to buy stuff. Thankfully we only allowed ourselves a very short time there so we didn’t spend too much.

Avoid checked baggage fees

Air Canada got publicity recently for starting to charge a fee for each checked bag and more strongly enforcing limits on carry-on. The best way to save here is take full advantage of the carry-on allowance (ie two bags) and combine as much checked luggage as possible.

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Did you know you are allowed two carry on bags on Air Canada?


Take advantage of what’s included

For example breakfast is often included with the hotel, saving you from buying breakfast yourself.

Balance transportation and lodging costs

There are a lot of costs associated with renting a car at your destination including rental fees, insurance, gas and parking (more on that below). If you can, you can avoid this by getting a hotel downtown and walk or take public transportation everywhere. If you do need to drive at your destination, like we did, you can save a lot by getting a hotel further from town.

One of the most surprisingly large expenses on this Philly Trip was parking. There are probably ways to avoid this by doing some research, which I will update you on later.

Things are often cheaper if you share

Cheese fries (the closest thing you can get to poutine in America it seems) is a great thing to share. And the cost isn’t as big a hit if you split it.

Things are often cheaper if you share.

Things are often cheaper if you share.

The cheapest trip is exploring your own town

Although not applicable to this weekend, I took a “staycation” a few years ago and it was quite enjoyable. While visiting Philadelphia was fun, back home in Toronto has lots of great places to visit and neighbourhoods to explore. Just walk somewhere you don’t usually go, you might be surprised.

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