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How to Travel On A Budget

Traveling is so expensive that is easy to feel like vacation is an indulgence that you cannot afford. We are here to tell that it doesn’t have to be that way! Combine these tips for traveling on a budget with some of our tips for earning money while traveling and start exploring with more freedom than ever before.

PLANNING YOUR TRIP 

Taking a vacation shouldn’t break the bank. The key to an optimal vacation is budgeting and planning in advance. Saving money when traveling starts with planning transportation and accommodation. Flights, ground transportation, and accommodation are typically the biggest budget eaters so it’s important that you do extensive research to find the options that will offer you the most value.

SAVE MONEY ON TRANSPORTATION

Airline Tickets – Planning in advance and visiting discount websites are some of the easiest ways to find good deals on flights. You should also consider the time your are traveling and try to visit a destination in “off-season”.

  • Look for red-eye flights to save money on flight cost and many hours of time for long trips.
  • Booking round trip tickets is almost always cheaper than two one-ways.
  • To get the most out of a single ticket, look for flights with connections in countries that interest you. Not only will these tickets be cheaper, but you can also spend a few days in the connecting country without having to pay any extra for your flight.

Ground Transportation – Consider your options between rental car, public transit, and rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft. Public transit will almost always be the cheapest option, but the cost of the extra transit time may outweigh the savings.

  • For rental cars, size matters. Always get the smallest car possible as they are more likely to be gas efficient. Then, when you do fuel up the car, choose the cheapest gas options.
  • Call the car rental company and ask about rental prices for children car seats. With airlines charging for extra luggage, renting one will be a better option.
  • No matter what you choose, look for deals and coupons.

ACCOMMODATION BUDGET 

Consider all of your options when booking your accommodations. While you may have to sacrifice some comforts, saving money here will leave you more money for your eating and souvenir budgets.

  • Town Next Door – If the hotels in the city center are too expensive, consider looking just a little further. Smaller towns typically offer much cheaper alternatives and you’ll have added benefit of seeing some sights off the beaten path.
  • Hostels- Hostels are much cheaper than booking a hotel room and are often centrally located. You will be able to save money without sacrificing convenience.
  • Airbnb Book homes from local hosts in 191+ countries and experience a place like you live there.

SETTING ALLOWANCES

Most people think their saving plans stop once they’ve booked their transportation and accommodation. However, this is a mistake that can end up costing bundles of money. It is critical to control your spending when traveling. Ditch your credit card and set aside a certain amount of cash for each day of your trip. This will help you control your budget so you can get the most out of your holiday without going broke! Budget Your Trip is a great tool for you to get a general idea of what your daily budget should be.  

  • Breakdown cash daily allowance for expected expenses such as food, drink, activities, souvenirs and shopping.
  • Next, set aside the amount for each day in separate envelopes while stashing the other envelopes in the hotel safe.
  • Each day only use what’s in the envelope and jot down the balance cost to keep track.
  • Your credit card should be saved only for emergencies.

EATING ON A BUDGET

Food is a vital part of every adventure and is often said to be the best way to immerse oneself to a new culture. Here are some tips on how to eat on a budget without missing out on authentic delicacies.

  • Stay local and avoid big restaurants – Visit the local cafes, food markets, and food trucks for the best mouthwatering street treats making it perfect for budget-minded traveler. If you choose a food truck, be sure to follow our tips for eating street food without getting sick!
  • Make friends – Most places will be serving healthy portions of food so make a friend and split dishes. You can each order something to try more varied cuisines and you’ll have company as you’re eating!

BUDGET FOR SHOPPING

Many travelers, myself included, are often sucked in by souvenir stalls which are notorious for overcharging tourists. Always ask for the price before you buy and don’t be afraid to bargain. Prices are almost always inflated and paying face value will certainly cost you.  

  • Gifts and souvenirs: Set your souvenir budget before you leave and carefully parse out your cash for these trips so you can’t be tempted to overspend. And remember! Your travel memories can be captured with pictures and stories, so don’t feel the need to buy every souvenir to savor a memory.
  • Shop local and avoid shopping malls – A cheaper way to shop is to venture out to small shops. Small, local shops typically offer cheaper prices and more unique gifts.
  • Shopping in Duty Free – Many people underestimate duty free deals, but shopping tax-free can save you a ton of money and you won’t have to try to stuff it in your suitcase and risk spending additional money on checked or overweight baggage.

BE AN EXCHANGE RATE GURU

Credit card and ATM fees can really add up if you’re constantly withdrawing money. Even worse than these transaction fees are exchange booths. Be smart about your cards and conversions by doing your research and becoming an exchange rate and currency gur

  • Be prepared to call your bank and credit cards ahead to find out foreign transaction fees. Furthermore, a simple courtesy call to your credit card company will save you a headache and prevent them from thinking someone has stolen your card.
  • Find out which foreign banks are available as they usually have lower exchange rates than commercial exchange counters. Search the internet to find out good places to get cash in the local currency. Try using the local version of their website; it could be much cheaper to book using the local currency.

BUDGET APPS

    1. Trail Wallet: is an easy travel expense tracker for iPhone and iPad. Designed to be fast, it takes the headache out of expense tracking so you can focus on the fun.
    2. Travel Budget: Tracking every expense all the time can be helpful, but also a little bit boring. app helps to track expenses and incomes just for your travels.
    3. TrabeePocket: Trabee’s goal is to make sure you are never surprised by your spending again. Instantly check how much cash you have left using the Trabee’s balance checking tool. Download for Google Play or iPhones.
    4. XE Currency: Travelers can immediately see how good, or bad, the offered exchange rate is. Best of all, XE Currency works offline which means international travelers can stay educated without having to stay connected.

We hope this list will give you a few ideas to help cut down on costs and ensure you’ll have a more authentic adventure. For those of you, who are still looking to create a travel itinerary, use the TRAVO instant trip planner that delivers a complete and custom itinerary.  

Have any advice on how to stay on budget when traveling? Share them below!

One thought on “How to Travel On A Budget”

  1. Great post Gabby! I especially like the tip on avoiding big restaurants. I try to avoid eating in hotel restaurants. The meals are outrageously expensive and not good value for money. Smaller restuarants are the way to go

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