Figuring out the best ways to save money on vacation can be tricky because there are so many options. That might seem like a good rather than a bad thing, but it could become overwhelming. The best deals and savings are often buried behind strong SEO, flashy gimmicks, and convenient site designs.

A US travel survey in 2017 showed that 30% of families say they spend between $2,500 and $5,000 on a trip. On the other end of the spectrum, almost 60% of solo travelers said they spend $500-$1500 on a one week trip. That doesn’t include airfare, however. So judging from these numbers, it’s no surprise that the tourism industry is booming.

It’s not that people don’t want to save as much as they can. But most people don’t want to spend hours or days looking for a better deal when acceptable “deals” are thrown at them.

Luckily, there are a few people who put in the effort to seek out the best ways to save money when booking a vacation abroad. Gathered below are the best money-saving tips and tricks from the experts.

How to Save Money While Planning a Trip Abroad

Finding the best deals for a trip abroad isn’t just about seeking out the lowest prices. It’s about approaching the planning and booking process with a frugal mindset from the outset. Though a lot has to be said for the experience too, which can’t be built up from behind the screen. That’s why people should look for advice from those who have traveled a lot.

Here’s what they have to say:

Think About Food

Food takes up a significant percentage of the budget when people travel. Plus they usually tend to overspend because who doesn’t like a treat? Which is why more than 16.2% of international travel costs are spent on food alone.

There are a couple of ways around this issue:

-Find accommodation with a kitchen and prepare meals yourself.

-Eat what the locals are eating – they tend to flock to the cheapest places.

-Don’t be afraid to try street vendors. They’re often cheap and delicious.

-Sometimes fast-food chain restaurants are the best low-cost option. They may not be exotic or good for the waistline, but you will spend less.

Plan For Trips During Strategic Times

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t a myth that there are cheaper times to book overseas trips. The best times to travel is when other people aren’t. Which usually means booking flights for weekends and avoiding school holidays.

Weekend flights are generally cheaper because business travelers tend to stick to traveling during the week. Similarly, traveling during times when school is busy is less expensive because families always travel during the holidays.

Plan and Book Through a VPN

Travel websites make use of a sophisticated system to track what people are looking at and how close they are to booking. This mainly relies on cookies and tracking people’s IP addresses. A VPN, such as this one, can help stop these companies from doing it. It hides a person’s IP address and their real location. This can lead to a lot of savings because these websites can’t track your online habits or location to increase their prices.

Book Straight From The Hotel or Accommodation Owner

Many hotels pay to advertise their rooms via travel agents and online booking sites. The problem is, everyone wants to make their cut, which jacks up the price. Try to find better offers by speaking directly with the hotel, hostel, or vacation rental owner. They’re sometimes open to a bit of negotiation or have exclusive deals of their own.

Find Cheaper Tours and Activities From The Locals

Guides often charge overseas tourists more – especially when you book online. Look out for local guides or tours that don’t just cater to international tourists. They will be cheaper and offer a more authentic experience to boot.

The Bottom Line

Saving up for a trip takes a long time, and it’s important to stretch every cent as far as it will go. But there are a lot of tips and tricks you can use to make sure you have a wonderful vacation no matter your budget.