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Travel hacks to save you money

You know what's better than traveling? Traveling on the cheap. By that we don't mean cutting corners, living dangerously or being unsafe. We simply mean taking advantage of deals, strategizing when and how to book, getting creative with overnight experiences and mealtimes, and more.

These 10 travel hacks can save you money and maximize your trip. Some are simple, while others require a little bit of effort (and,  yes, you might have to pick up a phone and talk to someone IRL). But all of them can help you and your travel companions see the world on a budget.

Book smart

One of the single largest costs of a trip is the flight (assuming you're flying somewhere), so it makes sense to focus here first. It's generally cheaper to search for flights in the afternoon after business travelers finish booking their travel in the morning. And consider flying on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturdays as those are traditionally the cheapest days to travel.

Fly flexible

If you have flexibility in your travel plans, the best deals come to those who wait. Set alerts for cheap flights to locations you want to visit, then sit back and let the internet work its magic. If you're destination agnostic, you can even sign up for a service that will let you know when there's a super cheap flight to be had.

Go cruising

Plane tickets usually get more expensive the closer you get to takeoff. Cruises, however, frequently work in reverse. If you're jonesing to get onboard with the Joneses, consider taking a spin through various cruise line websites to see if you can score a last-minute deal.

Haggle for a hotel room

The easiest way to book a hotel is by using one of the dozens of internet aggregators. The smartest way to book a hotel room to make sure you get the best deal is to call the front desk or booking agent and ask for the best deal. It makes sense that this hack would lead to cheaper prices as you're removing the middle person (read: website) from the equation and going directly to the source.

Stay put

If you choose to do a short-term room or apartment rental instead of a hotel, we don't blame you. This can provide a more authentic experience. But the fees! The fees will get you. Cleaning fee. Service fee. This fee. That fee. The good news is that the longer you stay in one place, the less the fees will cost per day. (It's not like the cleaning fee goes up based on the length of stay, after all.) Plus, staying put lets you save money elsewhere by doing things like grocery shopping.

Travel overnight

If you are going to multiple destinations, traveling overnight is a great way to reach a new location and save on the cost of a hotel room. This is especially effective if you're traveling in Europe where a robust rail system is clean and comfortable, and booking well in advance leads to cheap fares for all. Fall asleep outside Paris, wake up well rested in Prague. That doesn't sound too bad, now does it?

Sightsee for days

If you're traveling, you're going to want to see the sights each city has to offer. That's sort of the whole point, right? Look into picking up city-specific tourism cards that will get you discounts to museums, culture monuments and other places of interest. They might even let you skip the line, too.

Lunch in style

Another way to hack your travel budget is to make the most of meals. In many places, there are deals to be had eating long, luxurious and delicious lunches. The menu is frequently the same as it is at dinner, but the price point is significantly more affordable. Hit up the daily special, enjoy a midday respite, and have a bit of bread and cheese for dinner. It's what the locals do, too.

Withdraw cash, don't exchange

Even in an increasingly digital world, you're going to need cash when you travel. Always, always, always take cash out from the bank rather than going to a money exchange. The rates you get will be vastly superior and you won't feel ripped off.

Think about long-term travel insurance

You might be the type of person who skips travel insurance, but if you do want it and you travel more than a couple times a year, it could be cost-effective to purchase an annual policy rather than one-offs each time you take a trip.

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