One of my favorite things to talk about is how to travel on the cheap. I’m a firm believer in traveling far and often, but it is hard to do that if you don’t know how to stretch your money on trips.
Today, I am sharing 5 ways to save money on the next trip you book!
1. Shop Around for Everything
The biggest advice I can give for saving money on anything (travel, clothing, anything) is to shop around a lot. I always say that I am good at finding cheap flights because I am constantly looking for them. Same goes for AirBNBs, excursions, and all of my clothing. Basically, I love to shop.
Tips for Shopping Flights
One of the easiest things to shop for when booking a trip is your flights. I never book a flight without checking a few places first to get an idea of how much it’s going to cost me. First, I check Skyscanner to see if there are any insanely great deals out there. If not, I head over to Southwest to see if I can’t get there reasonably with my points. Between the 2, there is usually a good deal.
If there isn’t, that’s when I start fiddling with different dates and airports. Most airports will have a calendar showing the lowest fares of the day, which is an easy way to see which dates are cheapest. For international flights, I’ve been known to get crafty with different airports as well. It’s usually hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars cheaper to fly out of big hubs like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. If that’s the case, I use my points to get to one of those airports and then leave from there. Sometimes it’s even fun to add an extra day in one of those cities!
Related | My Secrets For Booking Cheap Flights
Tips for Shopping for Accommodations
In my opinion, there aren’t near as many accommodation hacks as there are flight hacks, but there are still a few things you can do. First things first, use AirBNB. Not only are they better in basically every single way, there are also cheaper options usually. When I am needing an actual hotel, I use booking.com or Expedia to search for the best price. Other than that, the same rules apply to being flexible on both dates and location.
2. Buy Groceries
One of the first things I do on every trip is buy groceries. This is one of my favorite travel tips. Here’s why I love it so much: not only is buying groceries way cheaper than eating out every meal, it’s also healthier, more flexible, and just all around more enjoyable.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand wanting to eat at cool local restaurants on vacations. And I do that. Just not for every meal. Generally this is my method: eat breakfast at the AirBNB, pack a lunch, and eat dinner at a fun local spot! This saves me from getting sick of eating out and it saves me a lot of money. Win win.
3. Travel During the Shoulder Seasons
A big way to save on trips is to book during what they call the shoulder seasons. This basically just means right before or right after the peak season. This is my favorite time to travel for a lot of reasons.
First, the weather usually hasn’t changed much from the peak season, so it is still an ideal time to see the destination. Second, because it isn’t peak, the crowds have usually thinned out. And of course, third, it’s cheaper! Accommodations and flights during the shoulder and off seasons are usually much cheaper than peak.
4. Plan Ahead
If you know me, you know that I really hate my own advice here. There is nothing I love more than spontaneity, especially when it comes to travel, but even I can admit that having a plan will save you some money.
Planning the big stuff in advance, like flights and accommodations, is where you will save the most money on your trips. Having day to day events planned ahead of time will usually save you some money (and some headache) as well.
The way I do this while still keeping things spontaneous is book flights and hotels far in advance, then don’t think about the day to day itinerary until the night before the next day. Having a general idea of what you want to do the next day will save you money on food, transportation, and sometimes excursions.
5. Choose Splurges Wisely
Before you travel, it’s important to know what you value in a vacation. When you set your budget, establish an idea of things you will want to splurge on and things you will want to take the budget option for. If you are a foodie, skip an expensive excursion and get a nice meal one night instead! If you are an adventurer, go skydiving and eat at the AirBNB a couple nights. Budget vacations can still be fun and relaxing, just choose wisely which things are worth the extra money and which aren’t.
Thanks for reading friends! If you have any budget travel hacks that you love, let me know in the comments! 🙂
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