Americans spend around $2,000-$3,000 annually on travel.1 What if we told you we could help cut down on those travel costs with fun, innovative ways to save? After all, wouldn’t you have an even better travel experience if you knew you were saving money—and had even more cash for other experiences on your trip? In this article, you’ll learn how to find great hotel prices and score some sweet deals on dining out. You’ll even learn some advanced tips for the most seasoned traveler! So, take out your notebooks, and let’s learn how to save—travel style!

Using these websites and apps will help you find the best deals for your accommodations! Comparison websites like,, Expedia, and Kayak allow you to compare prices from different booking sites, ensuring you get the best bang for your buck! Additionally, consider using apps such as HotelTonight for last-minute bookings at discounted rates.

Expert Tips:

  • Set price alerts for your desired destination to receive notifications of price drops.
  • Check for hidden fees or additional charges that might not be included in the initial price.

Joining hotel loyalty programs can offer huge savings and perks. Brands like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and IHG Rewards provide members with exclusive discounts, free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, and even late check-outs—talk about luxury!

Expert Tips:

  • Sign up for free loyalty programs even if you’re only staying once—the benefits can still be worthwhile, and it doesn’t cost any extra!
  • Accumulate points for future stays and redeem them for free nights or other rewards.

Exploring your options is always wise when looking for somewhere to stay while you travel. You need to ensure the accommodations suit your travel style and that you’ll be comfortable where you’re staying! Here are some cost-friendly options for slumber while traveling:

  1. Hostels: Ideal for budget travelers, hostels offer dormitory-style accommodations and private rooms at much lower prices than traditional hotels.
  2. Airbnb: Renting a room, apartment, or entire home through Airbnb can be more affordable, especially for longer stays or when traveling with a group. This way, you have a space where you can come back and cook meals, have a shower, or relax from the day’s activities. 
  3. House-Swapping: Websites like HomeExchange facilitate house-swapping, where you stay in someone else’s home while they stay in yours—often for free!

Expert Tips:

  • Read reviews and verify the authenticity of the listings to ensure a safe and hassle-free stay.
  • Communicate with hosts to clarify any doubts and confirm all details before booking.

Timing and flexibility are important if you want to save money while you travel. Here are some benefits of those booking strategies:

  • Off-Peak Seasons: Traveling during off-peak seasons can significantly reduce accommodation costs. For instance, visiting popular summer destinations in the fall or winter can offer much better rates and can save you a big chunk of change.
  • Last-Minute Deals: While planning ahead is usually the safer option, some websites and apps specialize in last-minute deals that can be much easier on your wallet.

Expert Tips:

  • Book directly through the hotel’s website if they offer a price-match guarantee or additional perks.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates to take advantage of lower rates.

Experiencing local cuisine is one of the highlights of traveling, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s how to find affordable and delicious local eats:

  1. Street Food and Food Trucks: Explore local street food vendors and food trucks, which often offer authentic dishes at a fraction of the cost of restaurants.
  2. Local Markets: Visit local markets to try various fresh and prepared foods.
  3. Ask Locals: Talk to locals for recommendations on where to find the best and most affordable places to eat. Locals often know hidden gems that aren’t listed in travel guides.
  4. Travel Forums and Blogs: Use travel forums like TripAdvisor and food blogs to find recommendations and reviews for budget-friendly dining options.

Expert Tips:

  • Avoid touristy areas where prices tend to be higher—they can see you coming from a mile away!
  • Try the local “menu of the day” specials, which are often cheaper and offer a great way to sample local cuisine.

Planning your meals can help you save money and ensure you enjoy a variety of foods.

  1. Markets and Grocery Stores: Visit local markets and grocery stores to buy fresh ingredients for meals. This can be more economical than eating out for every meal.
  2. Pack Snacks: Carry snacks and drinks to avoid buying overpriced items in tourist areas.

Expert Tips:

  • Make a list of local dishes you want to try and find them in budget-friendly venues.
  • Look for accommodations that include breakfast. This can save you money and give you energy for the day!

Several apps can help you save money on dining out by offering discounts, happy hour deals, and special offers.

  1. Groupon and LivingSocial: These apps offer discounts on meals and restaurant deals.
  2. Happy Hour Finder: This app helps you find the best happy hour deals near you!
  3. Yelp: Use Yelp to find restaurants offering deals and read reviews to ensure quality.
  4. Too Good To Go: This app helps reduce food waste by allowing you to buy unsold food from restaurants and cafes at a lower price.

Expert Tips:

  • Enable notifications on these apps to receive alerts for new deals and offers.
  • Combine dining app deals with loyalty programs for even more savings!

Cooking some of your meals while traveling can significantly reduce dining expenses. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  1. Accommodations with Kitchens: Look for accommodations like Airbnb, vacation rentals, or hostels that offer kitchen facilities.
  2. Simple Recipes: Plan simple, quick recipes that don’t require many ingredients or elaborate cooking methods.
  3. Local Ingredients: Buy fresh, local ingredients to cook meals that reflect the local cuisine—and try out some new, local recipes to boot!

Expert Tips:

  • Prepare breakfast and some dinners yourself to save money, and plan to eat out for lunch, which is often cheaper than dinner.
  • Utilize leftovers creatively for additional meals.

Many hotels offer package deals with additional perks like free breakfast, dining credits, or meal discounts. These packages can provide significant savings compared to booking everything separately.

  1. Free Breakfast: Look for hotel packages that include complimentary breakfast. This can save you the cost of one meal each day and provide an energized start to your day.
  2. Dining Credits: Some hotels offer dining credits that can be used at their on-site restaurants. This can be a great way to enjoy a nice meal without paying extra.
  3. All-Inclusive Packages: Consider all-inclusive packages that cover meals, drinks, and sometimes activities. These can be cost-effective, especially in destinations where dining out is expensive.

Expert Tips:

  • Compare the total cost of the package to the cost of booking room-only and adding meals separately to ensure it’s a good deal.
  • Look for promotional packages during holidays or special events that offer additional perks.

Certain memberships, such as AAA, AARP, and other travel clubs, offer discounts on both hotel stays and dining. These discounts can add up, providing substantial savings and more money for your pocket!

  1. AAA and AARP: These memberships often provide discounts on hotel stays, car rentals, and dining. Some restaurants also offer exclusive discounts for members!
  2. Hotel Loyalty Programs: Hotel loyalty programs can offer combined savings. Members might receive free breakfast, room upgrades, or dining discounts!
  3. Professional Associations: Some professional associations or corporate affiliations offer travel benefits, including discounted rates on hotels and dining.

Expert Tips:

  • Always mention your membership when booking to ensure you receive any applicable discounts.
  • Check the specific benefits of your membership before traveling to maximize savings.

Psst! Did you know that AARP is on the list of KashKick offers? That’s right—if you sign up for AARP, you can earn a KashKick reward! Sign up here!

Travel credit cards can be a powerful tool to earn points, miles, or cashback on hotel stays and dining. Here’s how to make the most of them:

  1. Sign-Up Bonuses: Many travel credit cards offer substantial sign-up bonuses that can be used for free hotel stays or flights after meeting a minimum spending requirement.
  2. Points and Miles: Earn points or miles on every purchase, with higher rewards for travel-related expenses. Redeem these points for hotel stays, dining, or even flights.
  3. Cashback: Some credit cards offer cashback on travel and dining expenses, providing a direct way to save money.

Expert Tips:

  • Choose a credit card that aligns with your travel habits and offers rewards that are easy to redeem.
  • Pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges, which can negate the benefits of the rewards.

Check out our article on Credit Card Rewards to choose the best rewards credit card for you! 

Additionally, check out some of the Best Travel Credit Cards according to CreditKarma!

Travel hacking involves maximizing credit card rewards, frequent flyer miles, and hotel loyalty points to get free or heavily discounted travel. Here are some strategies to set you up for success:

  1. Sign-Up Bonuses: Take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses, which often offer you significant points or miles after meeting a minimum spending requirement.
  2. Transfer Partners: Use credit cards that allow you to transfer points to multiple airline and hotel partners, allowing you to redeem points wherever you wish.
  3. Award Charts and Sweet Spots: Learn the award charts of different airlines and hotels to find sweet spots where you can get the best value for your points.
  4. Double-Dip: Use shopping portals and dining programs linked to your travel rewards accounts to earn additional points on everyday purchases.

Expert Tips:

  • Keep an eye on promotions and limited-time offers to boost your points balance.
  • Plan ahead and book award travel early to secure the best availability and rates.

KahsKick even has an article all about Travel Hacking with Credit Card Rewards! Check out this article to get the most out of your points while traveling.

Locals can be invaluable for finding the best budget-friendly dining spots and experiences. Here’s how to tap into their knowledge and find those hidden gems:

  1. Social Media and Forums: Ask for recommendations using social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, or local forums.
  2. Ask Directly: Engage with locals at your destination, such as your Airbnb host, taxi driver, or people you meet in cafes and shops.
  3. Local Publications: Check out local blogs, magazines, and newspapers highlighting secret spots and affordable dining options.

Expert Tips:

  • Be specific about what kind of food you’re looking for, such as “cheap eats,” “best street food,” or “local favorites.”
  • Consider taking a food tour led by a local guide to discover hidden culinary treasures.

Volunteering can be a rewarding way to travel on a budget, offering free accommodation and sometimes meals in exchange for your time and skills. Here’s how to find these opportunities:

  1. Work Exchange Programs: Websites like Workaway, HelpX, and WWOOF connect travelers with hosts looking for help in exchange for room and board. Tasks can range from farm work to hostel management.
  2. Non-Profit Organizations: Some non-profits offer volunteer opportunities, including free accommodation and meals, especially in regions where they operate projects.
  3. Short-Term Projects: Look for short-term volunteer projects that align with your travel dates and interests. These can provide a unique and immersive travel experience.

Expert Tips:

  • Research the organization or host thoroughly to ensure they have good reviews and offer a safe and legitimate opportunity.
  • Clarify the expectations, working hours, and what is included in exchange for your help before committing.

Congratulations, travel enthusiast! You’ve just unlocked the ultimate guide to cutting costs on hotels and dining while exploring the world. You can secure amazing hotel deals by using smart strategies like comparison websites, loyalty programs, alternative accommodations, and off-peak booking. Dining out on a budget is also a breeze when you tap into local eats, meal planning, and savvy app usage. 

Combining these savings with package deals, membership discounts, and credit card rewards further stretches your travel dollars. For adventurous souls, creative hacks like travel hacking, local recommendations, and volunteering offer even more ways to save and enrich your travel experience.

Remember, the key to a fantastic trip isn’t just in the sights you see or the food you eat but in the savvy moves you make to keep more money in your pocket. So, go ahead and plan that dream vacation, knowing you’ve got the best tips and tricks to travel smarter and save big. Happy travels, KashKickers!