The summer has a way of sucking money out of your pocket – there seems to always be some event, party, blockbuster movie or weekend getaway that chips away at your bank account. It’s fine if you plan on having a relatively quiet autumn, but if you have a fall trip planned, it can be cause for panic.
But don’t panic just yet. There are certain steps you can take to ensure that your fall trip doesn’t break the bank. Without ever dipping into your credit spending, you can craft a fall trip that’s inexpensive without sacrificing any of the fun or adventure when you follow these four, simple money-saving hacks.
Avoid Checked Baggage Fees by Packing Light
The bane of any traveler’s existence post-2010 is the rollout of the “checked bag fee”. It is a shameless cash grab from airlines too timid to raise flight prices, and it’s pretty ubiquitous now, even on transcontinental flights. To avoid shelling out the extra money, be smart about the way you pack and fit it all in a carry-on.
To fit everything, consider the lifespan of your clothing – how long they can go without a wash. If you choose clothes that are breathable and antimicrobial, that can stay fresh for a week, like merino wool travel clothes then you really only have to pack a few things: a t-shirt, a couple of pairs of underwear and socks, a pair of shorts. These fit neatly within a carry-on, saving you money on the checked bag fee.
Book Away From the Holidays
Fall may be the shoulder season, but it can still be busy. Especially around holidays, like Thanksgiving in North America (October 14th for the Canadians, November 28th in America) or the various National Days in European countries, flights and accommodation spike. If it works with your schedule, try to fly out and return mid-week, as that is generally when flights are cheapest.
Curate Your Own Sightseeing Tours
Rather than join a tour group and pay a guide to take you down the Champs-Élysées or on an architectural tour of Chicago, just curate the experience yourself. Do a bit of research on the hotspots and history, then follow a map around the area. The internet has made the “tour guide expense” pretty obsolete; there are even apps you can use to craft the perfect tour.
Eat Like a Local
No local eats every single meal out, and if they do, it’s certainly not at the center-of-town tourist traps charging $25 for a plate of pasta. Head to more residential neighborhoods for mealtime, and, when choosing a hotel or Airbnb, find somewhere with a kitchen, that way you can cook a few of your meals. If you want to solicit locals for advice on where to eat, check out your destination’s “subreddit”, an online community of the Reddit message board where locals go to chat and answer questions.
Fall can be a fantastic opportunity for some non-peak season sightseeing. Follow the above hacks to save as much as possible while still having a great time.