Contrary to popular belief, traveling does not have to cost a fortune. There are simple things that you can do to cut down on on the costs of your adventures. Thankfully, I am married to a man who has this uncanny ability to find “deals”. I owe it to him for how far and how often we have traveled. So, I decided I should share some of our favorite tricks to traveling on a budget.
- First, know how much you want to spend on the trip, and stick to that budget. Make sure to remember everything; flights, transportation, hotel, food, souvenirs, tips, emergency money, etc. Sometimes your plans are a little too big for your wallet, and that is OK. There is so much to be seen, that there is always another option of a place to go. That is how we ended up going to Alaska instead of Europe, and it turned out to be one of our favorite vacations.
- Next, our biggest trick, book far in advance, will help to avoid many, many overpriced purchases. From plane tickets to hotels to rental cars, they get more expensive the closer to the date of travel. There is a chance that prices will decrease for last minute sales, but that is rare.
- Flights are usually the most expensive cost on our travel budget. We have found some great bargains through deal alerts, using frequent flier miles, and checking flight prices regularly. Also, if you are able, apply to use an airline credit card. Many airlines gift free flights upon signing up. As you spend money through those cards, you collect points. Those points, when tallied up, can give you a free flight. Use that for all your big purchases and soon you will be flying free.
- When looking for what airline to use, use Google Flights. This website easily pulls up the information on all available airlines in one spot so you can compare prices, see sales, and look for the best overall deals.
- Try using a cruise line if you are wanting to visit many sites in one trip. The overall cost of the cruise is a bargain when compared to doing the transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment all on your own. However, don’t book excursions through cruise ship. The prices are usually much higher than if you were to schedule directly from the company who is doing the excursion.
- Take advantage of school tours, study abroad, business trips, and other traveling opportunities. Growing up, many of my family’s travels revolved around where my dad was going on business trips (thanks, Dad!), and most of my out of the country travel has been through tours with the dance company I performed with. You never know where they will take you.
- Travel on the “off season”. Usually you can tell when a location is in its off season. The flights to get there are less expensive, the hotels aren’t as busy, tourist sites aren’t as pricey, etc. And, an extra bonus, not as many tourists!
- Pack light. Unless you are flying on an airline that has free checked bags, you will end up paying extra to check your bag onto the flight. Stick to just using a carry on bag by packing layers and limiting non-essentials.