Travel isn’t easy, my friends. It’s like a puzzle with hidden codes and secret handshakes. And let’s not even talk about the crazy challenges we face now! Are fuel prices skyrocketing? Check. Terrorism lurking around every corner? Check.
The travel industry has been scrambling to survive, making cuts and tweaks. But guess who takes the hit? Yup, you guessed it – us, the consumers. Brace yourselves for those pesky price hikes!
If the consumer is to be able to function affordably within this industry, they must learn as much as possible about their policies, practices, procedures, and even their vulnerabilities. The savings will go to the educated and the persistent.
That, my friend, is you today! Whether you are on the path to financial freedom or haven’t even considered it, traveling on a budget is a smart financial decision.
The Best Tips to Travel on a Budget
Create a Budget
Create a daily budget and stick to it on your vacation. Allocate money for transport, accommodation, dining, sightseeing, and shopping.
Avoid overspending and frivolous purchases. Recording expenses will help you stay on track.
Flying can still be cheaper (and faster) than driving, even with soaring gas prices. This is particularly true of longer flights when you consider the cost of gas to drive, food, and possibly hotels.
Put a pencil to the numbers before you make a decision.
Check if you have Frontier or Spirit Airlines out of your local airport. I’ve flown on Spirit twice and had no issue. You must pack light, but the cheap flight price was well worth it for our girl’s trip.
Use alternate airports to travel on a budget
Many large cities have two or even three airports. Some are cheaper to fly into and out of than others. In smaller cities, it may pay you to drive a few miles (even a hundred miles) to another city and utilize their airport.
This practice can save you hundreds of dollars and is a smart way to travel on a budget. The smaller airports are usually more user-friendly and offer cheaper or free parking.
Round Trip Tickets
Two round-trip tickets can be cheaper than one. You use the leg of the ticket you need, one going and one coming.
This is called back-to-back ticketing and is frowned upon by the airlines but is legal in most cases. Check the legality of this method before using it and, of course, the cost savings.
Where you book and buy your hotel room could determine the quality and location of the room you get. A hotel decides the room you receive based on what you pay.
If you got a deep discount, you could be placed in a less desirable location, such as near the ice machine or elevator. They would never admit this, but to avoid the situation, deal directly with the hotel’s website.
When you go directly to the hotel’s website, most of the time, you can sign up for their newsletter and score additional discounts.
Consider Alternative Accommodation
Look beyond hotels and consider other accommodation options such as apartments, host families, and couch surfing. This way, you not only save money but also have a chance to experience the local culture and way of life.
Car rental insurance is usually unnecessary. Check before you travel to see if your present auto insurance has you covered. If you charge the rental to a credit card, most companies protect you automatically.
Rental employees get an insurance commission sold, so beware of double coverage.
Traveling light can save you money on luggage fees. Most airlines charge for excess luggage, so pack only what you need and avoid checking in luggage if possible.
If you must bring luggage price, compare airlines like Southwest that include luggage in the ticket price to see who will give you the best deal.
Flexibility Will Save You Money
Last-minute deals on airlines and hotels can save you a bundle, but you must be flexible. Empty seats or vacant rooms bring no revenue, so it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
Keep tabs on these by signing up for e-newsletters or searching the web.
Choose Off-Peak Season
Traveling during the offseason is significantly cheaper than peak-season travel. Off-season travel entails more savings on flights and accommodation with fewer crowds and lower airfare. This, personally, is my favorite way to travel!
Travel services today are rarely complimentary. The more you know and can do for yourself, the more you’ll save.
This is one of those areas where you need to look honestly and see if your budget can pay for convenience. I’d rather use this extra fee towards our food budget.
Use Public Transport
Public transport is more affordable than taxis and rental cars and allows you to explore the city like a local. Opt for commuting and walking or cycling when applicable.
Remember that popular services like Uber increase their rate to more tourist places during peak times. When we went to Nashville, we found the local taxi service at night was cheaper than Uber and Lyft.
Look for Free Activities
Free activities can be an excellent way to explore the city or attraction you are visiting and also save money. Look for museums, parks, street performers, or free walking tours.
Travel with Friends
Traveling with your friends or family members can cut costs on accommodation, car rentals, and activities. Group discounts and package deals can save considerable amounts.
Traveling can be expensive, but you don’t need to break your wallet or compromise your fun experience. By following these 11 travel-saving tips, you can go on a budget holiday and still have a fantastic time.
Plan ahead and research, choose off-peak season travel, consider alternative accommodation, use credit card rewards, pack lightly, create a budget, eat like a local, use public transport, look for free activities, travel with friends, and book early.