11 Smart Ways to Save Money When You Travel to a New City
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Updated July 23, 2019
Getting away is so much fun (until the costs start adding up). Regardless where your travels take you, read on for these smart and easy ways to save money on activities, restaurants, transportation, and more, so you can enjoy your trip without limiting your experience!
1. Check Groupon and/or LivingSocial for your destination.
You probably already use sites like Groupon and LivingSocial to find deals on restaurants, activities, and entertainment in your own area, so why not do it elsewhere, too! Scope out highly-rated spots and attractions without paying full price!
2. Buy an Entertainment Book.
Each Entertainment Book comes filled with in-store coupons, online coupons, and mobile coupons featuring local restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment and retail spots, grocery stores, and lots more! This book can easily pay for itself with just one use!
3. Read up on local subreddits.
If you’re not familiar with the popular forum website Reddit, it’s a massive compilation of smaller forums on just about every topic imaginable. You can search for specific city subreddits to get recommendations for local hot spots and frugal ways to get around town from actual locals! Comment on the discussion and share your experiences to help out other travelers in their search, too.
4. Scroll through Pinterest for ideas.
Whether you’re looking for packing tips, travel must-haves, or hidden gems in popular cities, Pinterest is bound to have just what you’re looking for! Head over to the Travel section on the site and start scrolling, or type in search specifics to narrow your results.
Hip Tip: Becoming a packing pro with these simple and clever packing tips!
5. Check out CityPASS for discounts.
CityPASS is great if you’re headed to a bigger city with lots of tourist attractions. These awesome discount booklets include tickets to the best museums, zoos, and more — all for up to 50% off what you’d pay at the ticket booth! You can even plan out what you’d like to do during your stay by using their packages as an itinerary.
6. Scope out the Kids Eat Free Days at local restaurants.
Yay for free food! There are loads of restaurants offering free (or cheap) kids meals, so you can grab a bite to eat without breaking the bank. Chains (rather than local establishments) tend to feature these offers, but call the restaurant ahead of time to verify details. These promotions may vary greatly by region and/or franchise.
7. Avoid restaurants near tourist sites.
The great thing about restaurants in tourist locations is the convenience they offer given their proximity to big attractions. The bad thing is that the convenience comes at a cost. The menu prices tend to be a bit higher (even at chain restaurants) so they can cover their own extra expenses due to their location. Look for places off the beaten path, and you may find a more local, authentic dining experience, too!
8. Seek out yummy food trucks.
Food trucks are fast, fresh, and frugal! You can feed the whole fam without having to worry about hungry kids (or parents!) losing their patience, and it gives you more time to spend on the real attractions you came for! Look up some local food trucks on social media for the schedule of their usual stops.
9. Talk to the locals for recommendations.
Who else would know more about the town you’re visiting than the people who actually live there! When you pop into a coffee shop for your morning caffeine, politely ask the barista or a guest if they could offer some recommendations for dining or sightseeing. You can even ask for the common prices for certain goods or services, all so you don’t get taken advantage of.
You’ll definitely want to specify that you’re looking for something on the frugal side so you don’t end up at a crazy expensive, yet delicious, 5-star restaurant. You may even want to check out more reviews of the suggested places on Yelp and/or Facebook.
10. Try taking public transportation instead of taxis.
You can easily hail a taxi or pop open the Uber or Lyft app to have your ride set almost instantly, but you’re spending extra money for convenience. Look into the local transit like buses, subways, or trolleys — you might even enjoy a scenic view en route to your destination!
11. Use the iSecretShop app to save up to $75 per meal.
iSecretShop makes finding local frugal (and free) dining opportunities fun. Before you head out on your trip, just open the app, type in the zip code of your destination, and see if there are any dining opportunities near you! Then sign up. You’ll be expected to write a comprehensive review of your experience within 24 hours of your visit (and be sure to carefully read the instructions), but if you’ve got some time to spare, it’s so worth it for the free food!