Since big cities usually have the highest costs of living, they are often expensive places for tourists to visit. If you plan to visit a city in the near future, make sure you follow these four tips so you can stay within your travel budget. They could help you save hundreds of dollars.

1. Visit During the Off-Season

Hotels and airlines lose money when they don’t have every room and seat filled. That’s a serious challenge for them during the off-season, so they’re willing to lower their prices to attract more people.

Some things you should consider when making travel plans include:

  • Seasonal weather
  • Holidays
  • School schedules

As long as you’re willing to visit the city when other people would rather stay home, you can knock a considerable amount of money off the cost of travel services.

2. Take Advantage of Free and Low-Cost Activities

Most major cities have free and low-cost attractions that you should include in your budget travel plans. Taking advantage of these discounts could easily save you more than $100 during your trip.

Opportunities differ between cities and days. If you’re in New York, you can get into the following places for free during designated times:

  • 9/11 Memorial Museum from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays
  • New York Botanical Garden on Wednesdays
  • Museum of Modern Art from 4-8 p.m. on Fridays

Look for free things to do in your destination city so you can cut expenses while still seeing some of the area’s most popular destinations.

3. Use Public Transportation

Urban travel typically gives you access to several transportation options. Public transit is almost always the cheapest way to get around town. New York, for instance, has excellent bus and subway systems that can take you practically anywhere in the city.

Depending on how long you plan to stay in the city, you may want to purchase transit passes that will lower the amount of money that you spend on each trip. Instead of getting one pass each time you need to use the subway or bus, get a pack of 10. The packs usually give you discounts that will make urban travel cheaper.

4. Buy Some Food at the Grocery

Eating out in the big city is usually pretty expensive. You can cut the cost of meals during your trip by buying essential items at a nearby grocery. That way, you can have a quick, inexpensive sandwich for lunch instead of paying outrageous prices near a tourist destination. If you plan to eat in, consider skipping the hotel route and rent an apartment. 

Depending on where you are, preparing one meal instead of eating out could easily save you $10 per person per day.

Traveling to large cities is often expensive, but you can make it more affordable by following these commonsense tips.