Are you dreaming of traveling more? Maybe you’ve been scrolling through social media and taking in images of luxury vacations. With these picturesque posts, it’s easy to feel discouraged, as if the only way to see the world is to over spend.
But budget travel is still possible! By saving up and finding ways to make your money go farther, you can still plan a wonderful trip without breaking the bank. Below are 7 ways we stretch our budget in order to get the most from our travels. See if you can find the link between all 7 tips!
Book Off Peak Season
One of the first things you can do is evaluate the time of year you are planning to travel. The summer season is usually crowded in big cities or popular tourist destinations, so if your schedule allows, try to travel in the spring or fall when rates begin to drop.
If you want to go a step further, spend some time looking at airline and hotel rate calendars. With just a little bit of research you will see that there are certain dates and days of the week that are cheaper than others.
Travel with Less
Many budget airlines are very strict about luggage. This has always been the case for international flights, but now domestic brands are following suit and are offering pricing incentives for travelers with less luggage. Invest in a travel wardrobe that is versatile and packs easily instead of focusing on fast fashion and you’ll save a ton of room in your suitcase!
Not only does traveling light save you on extra luggage fees, it increases your mobility and helps you to get more out of your experiences. Most of our layover trips are only possible because our carry on suitcases are small enough to take with us when we venture out of the airport.
Consolidate Your Trip
Speaking of layovers, don’t be afraid to plan more with less! A few years ago we had the honor of attending a wedding in Prague. That same year we were also hoping to visit Switzerland. Instead of taking separate trips and purchasing two sets of international flights, we consolidated both destinations into one amazing vacation. Although it took almost a full day of train travels between the two locations, we made the most of our stops and saved a ton on airfare.
Having trouble finding a way to consolidate your travel? Considering choosing a flight itinerary that stops over in place of interest or extend a work trip to include a mini vacation. Whatever you do, don’t waste that plane ticket!
Be Open to New Experiences
Your itinerary isn’t the only thing you should be thinking outside the box about. Get creative with your sleeping accommodations to save money too! Consider a hostel or single room at an Airbnb. You might even make new friends! Overnight train compartments are another great option if they are available at your destination. It will save you the cost of a hotel room and get you from place to place.
Not willing to share your personal space or sleep on a train? Consider booking at a business hotel instead of a large resort. These hotels are a bit farther from the touristy spots because they typically cater to business groups instead of leisure travelers. The rates at these hotels vary based on the flow of business and you might be able to find a better deal during the summer when business can be slower. Plus, you will save on resort fees! We did this in Tokyo when we visited Disneyland and saved so much!
Calculate Dining & Transportation Costs
Wherever you chose to stay, make sure your decisions add up to savings! For example, you may find a hotel outside of the city center that’s cheaper each night, but if the cost of transportation is high, you could end up spending more on taxis than it’s worth. Do a quick google maps search to see if a hotel seems accessible to your points of interest.
Complimentary breakfasts or hotel packages are also something to consider when you calculate your costs. Although it may look like you are saving money, there is a good chance you can get local, authentic eats for a cheaper price then what your hotel is offering. Go out and explore the culinary scene!
Find Free Things to Do
This one sounds really simple, but you may be surprised at how many free attractions there are to explore when you travel. Many cities offer free walking tours where guides work for tips alone. Other destinations post calendars of public events for you to enjoy. Do a quick online search to see if there is something fun and free happening during the course of your visit. You might be surprised to find what you can stumble upon throughout your travels!
Pro Tip: Visiting the San Francisco Bay Area? FunCheap SF is a great resource for cheap or free activities!
Shopping local doesn’t just apply to your groceries! It also means stimulating the local economy. Looking for an excursion from your cruise port? Check TripAdvisor to see if there is a small business you can support. When we went on a cruise through Italy, we found a great car company and tour guide for half the price the cruise line was offering.
Airbnb Experiences is another great resource for connecting with local vendors. We booked a snorkeling tour this way when we were on our honeymoon. Not only was it cheaper than booking with a larger company, we were able to customize our experience as well!
Did You Find The Commonality Between all 7 Tips?
Sustainability! By stimulating local economies, flying less and getting creative about your accommodations you can offset your carbon footprint. If we work together to be conscious travelers instead of just tourists, we can enjoy what the world has to offer without depleting its resources. And we can save money along the way!