9 Tips For Traveling On a Budget

Friends! This is the year we are traveling more and I’m sharing all my travel tips with you to make that happen. I’ve already shared with you how to budget for vacations and the best credit cards for travel. Now, let’s talk about traveling on a budget!

woman looking at the map - traveling on a budget
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Tips For Traveling On A Budget

When Logan and I first got married, I was a full-time teacher and he did construction part-time. Man, have we had a glow up since then. But in those early years, we learned a thing or two about traveling on a tight budget. Here are the things we did, and still do, to travel on a budget.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

The first step to traveling on a budget is to plan! Figure out where you want to go and research the average cost of everything in the area, from accommodations to activities. This will give you an idea if you can fit that destination within your budget. What do I mean by this?

Well, let’s say I have $5,000 and I want to go to Hawaii for a five days. The average cost of a hotel in Hawaii is $250 a night, not including taxes and fees. The average flight from Florida to Hawaii is roughly $1,000 for a round trip. Between getting there and my stay, I’m already at half my budget. I would also need to factor in transportation from the airport to my hotel, any activities I want to do, and food for the five days. Could I make it work? Probably if I follow the other tips.

2. Travel Out-Of-Season

It’s always cheaper to travel out-of-seasons. Keep in mind that every destination has their own season. Where I live in Southwest Florida, winter is our season. Everyone wants to escape the cold and come to the sunshine state. Everything is more expensive here in the winter. Even restaurants increase their prices this time of year!

If you want to visit a place simply to visit, I highly recommend visiting during off season.

3. Use Credit Card Perks or Rewards

Make your money work for you! If you’re utilizing credit cards, often times you can cash in your points for flights and hotels. This is how we get free hotel stays quite often. Certain credit cards will even give you discounts or money back when you travel. Learn all about how on my latest blog post, Top 10 Travel Credit Cards for 2022.

4. Be Flexible With Accommodations

A five-star hotel is probably not going to fit in your budget. It certainly can, but not often. Consider all lodging accommodations at your destination. Camping and Hostels are probably the cheapest ways to stay anywhere. If you’re not into that, compare the prices of airbnbs and hotels in the area.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends who live in the area. There’s a chance they may let you crash with them. This is the ultimate way to save money.

I like to use the Hopper App or hoteltonight.com to find cheap, last minute hotels.

5. Pack Everything Without Overpacking

Think about everything you’ll need before you go. Plan out what you will need for the activities you have planned and everyday essentials. This sounds like a no brainer, but having to buy new sandals because you forgot beachwear will cut into your budget.

This is really important if you are going to a climate different from your own. Think about what you have, borrow what you can, and buy as little as possible. For us, it’s when we go somewhere cold. My kids don’t own winter jackets, hats, gloves, boots, etc. because we don’t need it here. It’s not worth the money to buy it every year for one trip. We usually borrow what we can from friends to save money.

If you’re flying, pay attention to the weight of your luggage. You don’t want to pay extra because your suitcase is too heavy.

6. Find Cheap Flights

Research and compare airlines before booking your flight. Remember, it’s cheaper to fly mid-week or overnight. As an added bonus, if you fly overnight, it saves you from paying an additional night at a hotel!

7. Use Public Transportation or Ride Shares

Renting a car can be incredibly expensive. Use public transportation or ride share apps whenever possible. Depending on where you are going, you may be able to work everywhere. Also check into bike rentals! This is a great option, especially for coastal vacations.

8. Buy Food & Water at the Grocery Store

Eating out adds up. You can save money by doing a grocery run for breakfast and/or lunch essentials. Personally, I think trying local restaurants is part of the fun of traveling. But, it’s not feasible for every meal. If our hotel doesn’t offer complimentary breakfast, I usually grab yogurts, muffins, or overnight oats that I can have for breakfast.

Get a few of your favorite snacks to carry with you or late night snacking. I like to get things like trail mix, granola bars, and nuts. They are great for keeping my energy up when we are adventuring and can replace a meal if I need too. When we are traveling, I like to sleep in and have a late breakfast. If I have a filling breakfast, I’m typically not hungry for lunch. Having a snack in my purse holds me over until dinner.

I also recommend getting water and your favorite beverage. Especially if you like an afternoon pick-me-up. I usually get espresso drinks or my favorite soda to take with me.

9. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

Water is free almost anywhere you go! Bringing your own water bottle can save you a ton of money. It’s great to have your own bottle when you’re doing anything active, like hiking, kayaking, or swimming. They are really helpful in airports as well!

Go Explore!

Now that you know how to travel on a budget, get out there and explore! There’s so much of the world for you to see. Where are you going to next?!

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