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How to save money when you're traveling

By Laura Brown
January 12, 2022
Saving Money Family Saving
© Getty Images
Ready to book that bucket-list trip, only to find your pockets don’t run as deep as you had hoped? Don’t despair – there are countless ways to save money, from discount air fares to traveling with credit card points.

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Here's our guide to making your travel money go further, so you have more to spend when you get there.

Tip 1: Drive!

The easiest way for anyone, especially families, to save money when they travel is to avoid the price of plane tickets and making your travel money go further, so you have more to spend when you get theredrive to your destination instead. Driving allows you to see more of the country, have more bonding time, and prevents you from having to pay for rental cars or rideshare when you get to your destination. Remember to make sure your car is road trip ready before you leave, and make sure your insurance is up to date. Looking to save even more? GEICO could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.

Tip 2: Use Skyscanner Alerts

If your destination is too far away for a road trip, we recommend using Skyscanner alerts to make sure you get the best price on airline tickets. Skyscanner lets you enter your departure and arrival destination and will email you alerts when the price drops. It will also let you explore the prices by date and by month so you can make sure you’re going when the flight is the cheapest.

Tip 3: Take advantage of “shoulder season”

The time between a particular destination’s peak season and off-season is known as “shoulder season.” Shoulder season allows you to experience some of the destination’s best offerings without the crowds, and for cheaper rates. To determine when shoulder season is for the destination you have in mind, Google to find out when the peak season is, then start researching the months that bookend the peak. For prime family destinations, such as DC or Florida beaches, save money by booking during times when schools are typically not on break. Shoulder season is a great time to have a more laid-back travel experience, and to save money.

Tip 4: Buy travel insurance

The advice to buy travel insurance can sound counterproductive on this list of money saving tips, since insurance will raise the cost of your trip. But consider how much extra expense could be added to your budget if something goes wrong. Even something as simple as locking the keys in your rental car can cost more than $200 to fix. Travel insurance will cover the costs of any unintended emergencies and give you the peace of mind to enjoy your trip without any nagging worries about expenses.

Tip 5: Book with points

Travel credit cards allow you to earn points for your everyday purchases that you can use toward booking travel. Look for credit cards specific to travel. We really like the Chase Sapphire card and the Southwest Airlines card. You’ll even get extra points if you’re able to recommend them to a friend. Like all credit cards, make sure you have a plan to pay them off at the end of each month.


Carefully crafted collaboratively between GEICO, Budget Travel, and Lonely Planet. Both parties provided research and curated content to produce this story. We disclose when information isn’t ours.


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Travel Tips

What to do if your travels are disrupted by wildfires

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Travel Tips

This interactive map shows where you can (or can’t) travel in the US

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Travel Tips

3 tips for choosing safe accommodations during a pandemic

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Travel Tips

Lonely Planet's expert recommendations are coming to Apple Maps

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