Saving Money when Traveling as a Couple

I love traveling as a part of a couple and encourage all of my financial therapy clients to take trips together to create memories, build security, and deepen a couple’s connection. In this video, I’m going to walk you through the ways that you can save money when you travel with your partner.

  1. Lodging. No matter how you look at it, your dollar is going to go farther when you have two people. Let’s say you had a budget of $100 per night for a hotel, and once you add another person to that, it’s more like $50 per night. The other way to look at it if you want to bump up your travel experience is if you are still willing to pay $100 per night, your partner can throw in $100 and now you have doubled your hotel budget!

  2. Double those credit card rewards. The nice thing is when you travel with a partner is that you both get to earn credit card rewards. With most rewards cards, you can share miles with a spouse. Maybe you have 15k hotel points while your partner has 5k points and a free night costs 20k points. Rather than waiting to reach the 20k mark, you can combine those points to get to your free night quicker.

  3. Sharing meals. This is especially true if you are traveling in North America where meals tend to be larger. So when you head to dinner, just ask for a second plate and then you can share that meal . Then you also have room for dessert, which is always a bonus.

  4. Use cash-back sites like Ibotta or Ebates. Each of them are essentially online coupon sites but you don’t have to worry about keeping track of codes. You install the app or the add-on to your browser and you automatically get between 1 and 10% cash back. Ebates is a little better at online merchants and Ibotta is better at brick-and-mortar stores. If you are going to be buying things anyway for your trip, you might as well get some cash back.

  5. Travel in shoulder season. Shoulder season is a fancy way to say off-peak season travel. If you are traveling as a couple, it means you don’t have to contend with kids which means you can save money by traveling outside of the times that many people are taking their vacations. For example, instead of traveling around spring break, you can travel a little before or after that time period. Why? Because those airlines and hotels are still looking for customers. They tend to drop those prices to entice more people to travel at off-peak times. So if you are traveling as a couple, be sure to travel NOT around the holidays and you are likely to save money.

  6. Share a bag. If you are flying. Most airlines are going to charge you anywhere from $25-50 for a bag, so if you can cram it all into one suitcase you’re in good shape. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but if you know me, you know I love my travel packing cubes. They are essentially like vacuum seal bags without dealing with the hassle of the vacuum. If you have travel cubes, you can stuff them full, zip them up, and throw them all in one person’s bag. The problem is that that bag will probably be heavier, but you still only have one bag.

  7. If you are traveling internationally do some shopping at duty-free before you come home. Duty-free is more than just booze; they often have perfume, makeup, clothes, different local food items, etc. So you can get your shopping done on the cheap. That doesn’t have a ton to do with couple travel, except that you can double the amount you can bring home.

Those are some of my best tips for saving money when traveling as a couple. What did I miss?


Dealing with Money when Traveling with Friends

You’ve just booked a dream vacation with some of your closest friends. You've found the perfect Airbnb, landed on a flight and found a few places to add to your "must see" list. Then you get that feeling in your gut. Heavy and uncomfortable, you have a memory of the last time you all had to split the bill and how awkward it was. Here, I lay out some ways for you to prep for trips with friends to ensure that awkwardness around money is handled beforehand so when you get on your trip, you can focus on being present.

Get on the Same Page

Make sure that your version of vacation somewhat aligns with your friends. If their version of a vacation is hiking and exploring and hanging out from dawn till dusk and your version is holding as still as possible, probably not a good idea to travel together.

Once you're on the same page about what vacation means and what this particular trip means you should also check in with what their expectations are when it comes to food and lodging. Some people are fine camping and hanging out in hostels, where others want 5-star accommodations. Make sure you guys are on the same page when it comes to the style of vacation. If you’re on the same page, you're going to then go ahead and book.

Talk about the budget!

Who is going to pay for what? Is one person going to put everything on their card and ask for other group members to pay them back? Is it going to be it all evens out in the wash kind of situation? Does one person get drinks and another gets an activity and you just figure it all evens out? Or is it the type of trip where you tally up every single thing and make sure that every person has paid? Maybe everyone pays their own way for everything. Whatever you do make sure you talk it out before you get there.

Dining Out

Talk about food beforehand. Especially when it comes to a large group especially if you're traveling abroad it is not common to split up the tab. Here in the states, most restaurants won’t let you split the tab if there are 6 or 8 people at a table. Again, a couple of easy options are to alternate who pays for what meal or each person pays their share of the bill but make sure you discuss it beforehand. I find it to be really helpful to use apps that tally up what yo

u’ve spent and what you owe so instead of sending money back and forth between each other, you can use an app like Splitwise. Splitwise tallies up everything that you spend money on and that your friends have spent money on. At the end, it says you owe each person this much money or X person owes you this much money. It’s so much easier than going back and forth!

When Communication Gets Messed Up

What happens when you think you and your friends are on the same page but you aren't? What if somebody is ordering champagne and lots of appetizers and they say, “oh we'll just split it evenly,” and you’ve only had water and a salad. If you are close with them, you can let them know that wasn’t you’re understanding. If you feel really uncomfortable, then afterward you can go to that person and let them know, “hey that's that was not my understanding. I'm happy to send you money for the food, drinks, and tip, but I’m not going to be splitting it evenly.” Totally fine.

Have some solo or couple time!

One other thing to think about when you're traveling with friends is you do not have to be with them the entire time! This is not camp where you have to be together all day. Maybe before you guys leave you all can agree that no matter what you're going to do dinner together or there's a particular activity that you all are on board to try. If you're traveling as a couple, save some time for just the two of you.

If you have more questions, set up an appointment with me!