These little travel freebies make for a more enjoyable trip!
Free Things You Can Get While Traveling
by Dollar Stretcher Contributors
Flying with Babies
5 Ways to Get the Best Value for Your Travel Dollar
Our family is going to spend Christmas with my brother's family. We'll be flying into LAX and then renting a car for the time we're visiting. My friends who travel a lot say that there are a lot of little free things you can get while traveling if you just know to ask for them, such as a second bag of pretzels or those little wing pins for the kids. What other freebies are available when you're traveling? We want to make the most of this trip even if we're tight on funds.
Free International Calls
When I travel (and I do a lot for business), I use my tablet for free international calls as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection. Skype is my favorite, but I've done Google Hangouts, too. Why pay international phone rates? Occasionally we do have some problems if there's not enough bandwidth, but then we shut down the video side and just use the audio. Still just as good as a phone call!
When I was traveling for work, it was always nice when a hotel had a free breakfast buffet. Now that I'm traveling with a family (three kids), I specifically look for deals on hotels that offer breakfast for free. Even at a fast food place, it's easy to spend $4 or $5 per person for breakfast. If you go to a sit down restaurant, $50 is probably the least you'll spend, so having breakfast on the hotel gets my day off to a great start.
At The Airport
I know that this works when you have a long layover, but I'm not sure if it would work otherwise. When I have a 2+ hour layover, I visit the airport information desk. Often they'll have a free city tour you can take. It's nothing fancy, but you do get to see a bit of the city and it's much better than hanging around an airport lounge. I also make a point of stopping at the visitor center to ask about any freebies if I'm staying in town for a day or two. They're always happy and proud to tell me about their city. It's not all free, but it's still worth taking the time to ask.
Museum Reciprocal Pass
We always buy an annual pass to our local museums. We have three and like to visit them each at least once a year. So it's a good deal. Last summer, we were on vacation and had an extra day. We decided to visit a local natural history museum. To our surprise, they honored our local museum pass. It seems that many museums honor each other's passes. So if you have a pass and are away from home, you might have a free museum visit.
Ask the Pilot
We were getting off the airplane when I noticed that there were two kids peaking in the doorway. I was surprised and said something to the attendant. She told me that most captains are happy to let kids get an idea of what the cockpit looks like. They have to stay with the plane, so it doesn't take any of their time. And most pilots like to encourage kids who might want to become pilots when they grow up. So if you're not rushing for a connecting flight, ask the flight attendant if you could look inside the cockpit. It's really a fascinating place!
If you are staying at a hotel, be sure to sign up for their loyalty program and ask if there are any special things for children. Often loyalty programs provide free bottle water or free internet. On a recent splurge trip with our granddaughters, we stayed at a Kimpton hotel. By asking about their children's program, we were able to make free s'mores each night. Plus, we got to have a gold fish in a bowl in the room. The grandchildren loved both things. We also got a free glass of wine when we arrived and free coffee and tea each morning.
The main thing is to just ask! If you don't ask, you'll never know what might be available.
Also, check out visitors' bureaus for the location you're going to see if there are any special deals or items that you can access.
Ask the Flight Attendant
Everyone knows that airlines have become real cheap lately, so I really want to get my money's worth when I fly. Lately, I've gotten in the habit of asking for a full can of soda or an extra bag of peanuts. It's not much, but it feels like a little victory!
Two Articles to Read
Check out these two articles. The first article is from AARP.org on in-flight freebies and the second is from ABC.com on freebies still offered by airlines.
Do a Search
My fiance and I like to take weekend trips to cities that we've never seen before. Part of the fun for us is to see how much we can experience without spending a lot. Naturally, we look for last minute plane and hotel deals. But one thing that works well for us is to do a search for "free stuff to do in ______" for the city that we're visiting. There's always a site or a local newspaper article with places that we wouldn't have known about. We get to see something different and usually come back with some great stories for our friends. We're having so much fun that I'm thinking of blogging about our travels!
Take the Next Step:
- Is debt preventing you from traveling to your preferred destinations? The Dollar Stretcher can help you get to those places you'd rather go. Start taking the steps to get out of debt today and work toward the vacation destinations of your dreams.
- Save up to 80% off with LivingSocial's Daily Deals!
- Make travel part of your frugal lifestyle with The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Vacationing for Less.
- Visit the TDS library for more on air travel.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
Prices keep rising while my income remains stagnant and I worry I am heading for debt trouble. Tell us: Yes, I think I am heading for debt trouble and could use some help! or No, I am not in debt trouble but I am always looking for new ways to help keep my budget on track!
More Money-Saving Lifestyle Tips
- Reap the rewards of off-season travel
- 5 things to sell on eBay instead of at a yard sale
- 20 ways to have a less expensive more meaningful wedding
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- 6 tips for a fabulously free vacation
- Secrets to living luxuriously for less
- Saving-money secrets of the rich and frugal
- This week's Readers' Tips