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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Looking to save money on your next vacation with a hot tip or two? How about 17 of them?! Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you should’t get to enjoy every sight, tour, or experience on your itinerary, and that’s where this list comes in. From digging up discounts on major theater productions to harnessing parking hacks, follow these 17 money-saving sightseeing hacks that will save you a bundle.

RELATED: 10 best cheap places to travel

Find free WiFi

When it comes to booking tours and reserving tickets, you may need to do that online, or via phone. Fortunately, there’s always free WiFi to be found, be it in libraries, cafes, fast food chains, hotel lobbies, or even public parks (many National Parks offer it at their visitors centers). Free WiFi avoids using up all your data, paying expensive WiFi fees at hotels, or having to spring for a foreign phone plan. Use CheapTickets’ filter to search for hotels with free WiFi and, if traveling abroad, be sure to use your phone’s “WiFi calling” settings or an app like Skype that uses WiFi to make free or cheap phone calls .

Search online for local bargains

Install apps and follow social accounts that let you track the best deals locally. This will help you save money even when you might not be familiar with local retailers or attractions. For example, the RetailMeNot app helps you instantly find deals at nearby stores, while Groupon often offers discounts to local attractions, restaurants and services. Another favorite is the Honey browser extension, which automatically applies known promo codes at check out. Many tour operators, theatrical productions and cultural attractions also offer coupon codes through their social media profiles (and often their email lists, as well), which makes it easy to find a great deal.

Find parking deals

Parked Vintage Pink Car In Las Vegas Seeing From The Front

If you’re driving to downtown museums and attractions but don’t want to pony up for downtown parking prices, give the SpotHero app a try.  The app will help you find and reserve discounted parking at just about any major attraction. Likewise, if you must park at the airport, use or (or a similar service) to snag a cheap spot at a parking lot nearby. Free shuttles run fairly consistently but check the customer reviews to pick the best lot within your price range. Prices go up the closer it is to the scheduled departure date, so plan ahead.

Use student, military or senior discounts, if that’s you

European nations are especially good about offerings student and senior discounts at museums, on trains, tours and more. Just be sure you have the proper ID (for students, this mean the official International Student Identity Card). CheapTickets now also offers student and military discounts on travel; just enter your ID number to save.

Look into phone plans

If you are traveling for more than a month, it’s worth looking into local phone plans. Most companies usually have a cheap plan option for tourists that’s often as easy as swapping out the SIM card on the phone you already have. This will allow you to use data (especially maps when trying to navigate around a foreign city),  and you’ll avoid those unwanted roaming charges from your provider.

Buy a city pass

Seeing all the sites? See if the city you are traveling to offers an attractions pass (for example, the New York pass). If there are multiple attractions you want to see, you will save lots of money with a pass instead of paying for each attraction individually, which can add up quickly. You can reserve a city pass for many destinations ahead of time right here on

Get discounts on major performances

If your schedule is flexible, you can get huge discounts—often half off—on tickets for major theater productions. Just check for same-day ticket distributors like the TKTS ticket booth in New York’s Times Square or  HotTix in Chicago.

Take advantage of free days

Many parks, museums, and other attractions have specific days throughout the year with free or deeply discounted entrance fees. Find the calendar on their website for these days and plan your trip to take advantage of these offers.

Buy souvenirs… at supermarkets

Check out the supermarket where the locals shop to get interesting souvenirs for friends and family, For example, pick out regional snacks and spices that are not only more interesting as gifts, but a lot cheaper than buying the usual airport offerings! It’s also a great way to pick up snacks for yourself and save money while traveling.

Consider car shares vs. car rentals

This is the same premise as ride-sharing, but for car rentals. If you are only going to need that car for a few hours here and there where you are going, you may want to look into a car share like Zipcar, instead of renting a car. This could save you on overnight parking costs, as well. But if you definitely need a car, book on a site like CheapTickets that lets you compare prices from numerous agencies.

Gas up for less

Use an app like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas station wherever you are. This is especially useful on road trips!

Use public transit

Before you spend a hefty amount on renting, fueling and parking a car, or taking taxis everywhere, research public transportation. When visiting major cities like New York, Paris, London, or even Los Angeles, learn the routes and pricing systems of the light rail, subway and buses to save time and money. Taking public transit also makes you look and feel like a local!

Use UberPool or Lyft Line

Good news, thrifty friends! In November, Uber announced that it would soon bring back its carpooling option, which lets multiple riders with similar routes share a car, and save money. If you are in a new city it may also be a great way to chat with a local and learn some insider tips!

Switch to a no foreign-transaction fee card

If you’re traveling abroad, save money without trying by simply switching to a no foreign-transaction fee card. This also means updating your credit cards linked to your apps! The last thing you want to come home to is additional charges on your credit card because a ride-sharing service app is synced with a foreign transaction fee credit card.

Choose the right season to travel

Travel industry insiders often throw around words like peak, shoulder, and off-season. More often than not, you will find special deals and steals on travel for off-season trips. Peak seasons are usually during summer and holiday breaks, which makes it difficult to find affordable flights and rooms, depending on where you’re headed. Plan your trip during low season or shoulder season to give yourself cheaper options, and less crowded attractions.

Talk to locals

Get the inside scoop from locals and save money. It can go a long way to simply ask for directions or simple advice like where to get the best food for cheap. No one knows a city’s cheap eats better than the people who live there. You can even get started on this before you leave; find friends and friends of friends in your destination via your own social networks such as Facebook or Instagram.

Walk more

Happy Young Man Hanging Out In The City

Yes, public transit saves money. But walking saves even more, and will give you a great way to explore a destination up close, and also get some exercise. Want to  stop in at that cute boutique you just passed? Why not! Did you see that gorgeous courtyard hiding behind that nondescript building? Only when walking!

Look for free activities

There are many things you can do and see for absolutely free. From movie screenings to street fairs, hit the street and get lost in a city or town. It’s amazing what freebies you’ll discover around every corner.   You can generally find out about these events on a city’s tourism site or via a city’s arts & culture publications’ websites.

Tagged: Cheap Tips

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