Whether you take to the road for business or for pleasure, there are certain budget constraints that weigh in. Bust your budget and you may have to answer to your boss or to your spouse with neither proposition offering much appeal. Here are some ways you can save money while on the road:
Enjoy Your Hotel Perks
Your hotel stay should be all-inclusive at least as far as your room needs go. Some hotels pamper their guests by including breakfast, an afternoon snack, and in some cases a manager’s early evening meet and greet with drinks and light appetizers.
Find out what amenities are offered for free and take advantage of them. A pool, gym and other exercise options may also be available. If you run out of an item such as toothpaste or a comb ask for a complimentary personal effects packet and avoid the pricey pharmacy nearby.
Hit the Supermarket
With breakfast included, you only need to fend for lunch and dinner. Plan to eat dinner out — at lunchtime to save money. You’ll get the same portions you would get in the evening, but for less money.
Visit a local supermarket and obtain the fixings for lunch. You can store perishables in your in-room refrigerator and use the microwave to heat up or cook everything else. Pick up snacks and fresh fruit too — you’ll avoid the expensive food cart near the hotel entranceway.
Take Discounted Transportation
Yes, you could take a taxi to a meeting or to a special event across town. You’ll also fork over the big cash and be amazed at how fast your finances are drained.
Most cities offer several transportation choices including train, trolley and bus service. Inquire at the front desk about your transportation options include routes and fares. Or put on a pair of walking shoes and walk to closer destinations as long as there are sidewalks and safe neighborhoods along the way.
Accumulate and Use Points
If you’re spending multiple nights at one hotel and are not part of the hotel’s rewards program, then you’re missing out on an important perk. Even if you only stay in a hotel a few nights per year, you can quickly amass points toward a free night later on.
Often, hotels will provide enough points up front for at least one night’s stay, saving you $100 or more for one night. A hotel affinity card can also allow you to obtain a room upgrade for no extra charge. Use this card for your other purchases and you can accumulate points even faster.
Shop With Discretion
Souvenirs can cost you a mint especially anything you buy at the hotel store or at most retail shops. If you find yourself in an area with special appeal and want a reminder of your stay, you’ll usually do much better dealing with street vendors.
Ask around for the nearest public market and head to that. Generally, you’ll find an excellent selection of wares. Vendor prices are often negotiable too so haggle and you’ll get a good price. You’ll also save a bundle off of the in-store retail price.
Before you leave on your next trip, resolve to stay within your budget. Keep a daily tab of your expenses to track your progress. If you are approaching your limit, resolve not to go beyond it. Finally, if you come back home without reaching your limit, roll over the savings and apply it to your next trip.
See Also — Hotel Deals and How to Find Them