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When it comes to traveling, every dollar you save counts.
And if you put in a little effort, you can save a lot of money.
As a result, you can take bigger vacations that cost a lot less.
In this post, I am going to share with you 15 tips for how to travel cheaply.
If you are looking for the best budget travel tips, this is the post you need to read.
By using these tips, you can stretch your travel budget and take epic vacation that you didn’t think you could afford.
Table of Contents
15 Tips To Travel Cheaply
#1. Start With Travel Destinations Close To Your Location
Arguably the best way to begin your travel journey is to start seeing things that are right in your own backyard.
After all, we’re most familiar with the cost of travel in our country than we may be with others.
Additionally, you can start to get a better feel for how to best prepare for your future adventures across the country or abroad.
Whether you stay in a quaint little town near you, venture into popular areas in your own state, or eventually decide to take a road trip out of state, see what magic awaits you if you want to save some money!
#2. Keep Your Eye Out for Deals
There are always deals out there that you can take advantage of to reduce travel costs.
You can start by signing up to the main travel websites that you plan on using for your travels.
Enter in your travel dates and set up alerts for cheap flights.
Be sure to also check out budget airlines as some don’t get picked up in the main travel websites.
From there, you can bookmark some of the best discount travel sites to stay updated on any deals they have and sign up as soon as possible.
You may even want to consider reaching out to a travel agency or speaking directly with a travel agent.
In years past, people made the assumption this route was more expensive.
But many resorts give travel agents volume discounts, so it could actually cost you less money to book your trip this way.
No matter how out of reach a vacation may seem at a glance, there are plenty of websites, memberships, cards, and other resources to cut down on travel costs and help you stay within your budget.
If you travel often enough, you may even get some free perks.
And if you can travel on short notice, some of the travel booking websites offer amazing last minute deals on airfare, hotel rooms or entire vacations.
Taking advantage of these could save you thousands of dollars.
#3. Use Travel Rewards Credit Cards
If you travel a lot, then using a travel rewards credit card could help you save a ton of money.
You could even end up traveling for free as well.
The trick is to find the card that meets your needs best.
Once you do this, you can start to accumulate points.
- Read now: Discover the pros and cons of credit cards
- Read now: Find out how to earn travel rewards fast
When you have enough points, you can redeem them for discount travel, including free flights, hotel rooms, and more.
You could even transfer the points you earn to other loyalty programs as well.
We did this for our honeymoon and ended up getting free first class round trip airline tickets and reduced the cost of our hotel by half.
This allowed us to take a 2 week vacation instead of 1 week.
To find the best rewards card for you, click the link below.
Finally, try to find a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees.
These are fees most credit card companies charge you to convert the cost of what you bought from the local currency to your home currency.
This fee, added to the exchange rate, can quickly add up, costing you a lot of money.
#4. Create An Itinerary That Centers Around Affordable Travel
When you think of the word travel, what springs to mind?
Some people may think of luxurious sights, fine dining, and the best accommodations that hotels have to offer.
But while this is certainly the picture that we tend to paint for ourselves, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t such a thing as affordable travel.
Being able to explore the world doesn’t have to come at the cost of your life savings.
In fact, there are quite a few affordable travel destinations that you just may fall in love with.
To get started, create an itinerary that revolves around the cheapest places to travel to.
Just a few examples of cheap travel destinations that may interest you include Laos and Vietnam, both of which can cost around only $30/day.
Malaysia will cost you around $35/day, or India, which is around $20/day.
All you need to do is find the most affordable places to stay and eat, book a flight that’s within your budget, and make it a reality.
#5. Consider All-Inclusive Vacations vs. Traditional Vacation
When it comes to vacation planning, most typically segment their budget across multiple categories to get a better idea of how much they should expect to spend.
For example, they may set aside a certain amount of money for accommodations, a certain amount of money for transportation, and a certain amount of money for food.
You can circumvent this budgeting tactic by looking for all-inclusive vacation packages instead.
As the name suggests, all-inclusive vacations offer a bundle of accommodations, for which the total price includes many related expenses.
This includes your hotel room, a set number of meals, certain types of drinks, and other essential items that you may need during the course of your stay.
This won’t guarantee that you won’t spend any more money than you should, but it does help you reduce your expenses by buying an entire package up front.
If you combine this with the above suggestion, you can save even more money along the way!
#6. Schedule Trips During Seasons That Aren’t As Popular
Most vacations are scheduled when the weather is fair and most people are free from their responsibilities at work.
As such, busy travel times seem to take place during certain parts of the year, like summer.
This influx of travelers ultimately leads to more expensive flights and accommodations, all of which can drain your bank account rather quickly.
Rather than choosing to travel during the busiest times of the year, also known as the high season, choose travel dates that are less popular, to take advantage of cheaper flights and hotel pricing.
It may not be the “best time of the year”, but if it works for your budget, it should work for you as well.
For example, you could travel to the tropics during the rainy season.
While the name sounds like it rains all the time, in reality it simply means a higher chance of rain.
It doesn’t mean rain all day long either. It could simply be a few rain showers most afternoons for an hour or so.
The bottom line, understand what the offseason really looks like and base your travel on this.
#7. Use The Sharing Economy
When you traveled in the past, you were forced to rent a vehicle from a rental car company.
When you were looking for accommodations, you had to choose between pricey hotels or smaller bed and breakfasts.
But thanks to the sharing economy, you have many more options.
You can rent single family homes or private rooms in private residences with apps like Airbnb or VRBO.
You can skip renting a car and use ride sharing apps like Lyft or Uber to get around town.
You could even use meal delivery services as well.
If you want to rent a car and not rely on a ride sharing service, you can rent a car through Turo.
By going this route, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars.
#8. Consider Housesitting
Did you know that you could easily earn free room and board by house sitting?
Although you may not always be able to find the perfect location every time, there are plenty of opportunities available through platforms like HouseSitter.com and MindMyHouse.
These types of services will help you connect with homeowners who may need you to stay in their home to maintain it and keep it safe and secure while they’re on vacation themselves.
You may also want to consider looking for opportunities where you can trade chores for room and board.
Take for example, babysitting or cleaning a house.
Both can help you earn free places in someone else’s home for a pre-determined timeframe.
If you don’t want to have to spend a great deal of your money on shelter no matter where you’re traveling, look for opportunities for free shelter or finding shelter for chores so you can cut down on your expenses.
#9. Limit Eating Out
Your food budget can quickly get out of control when you are on vacation.
Even splurging on one meal a day and eating out for the other two will still set you back financially.
The easiest solution is to eat in as much as possible.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t go out and experience the city you are staying in.
But you could eat breakfast and lunch in and go out for dinner.
If you booked a place that has a kitchen, simply visit the local grocery store and buy some groceries for the time you are there.
If you don’t have a place with a kitchen, then pick foods that you don’t need cooked.
Here is how both of these worked for us.
When we were in Anguilla, we had a kitchen.
We visited the local grocery store and bought enough food for breakfast and lunch for a few days.
The total cost of the groceries was $50 and we had enough food for 4 days, or 8 meals.
At the average price of a meal out for 2 of $30, we saved close to $200.
In another instance, we visited Ireland with friends.
We found great deals for bed and breakfasts in the towns we were staying, so breakfasts were covered.
For lunches, we went to grocery stores and bought some bread, peanut butter, jelly and other items to make quick lunches.
This saved us close to $300 for the 10 days we stayed.
In both cases, we went out for dinner and enjoyed experiencing what the countries offered and didn’t feel like we missed out.
And sometimes, instead of a fancy sit down meal, we opted for street food, to really get a taste of the local cuisine.
#10. Book Travel With Multiple Friends
When you share the cost of your trip with others, you’re going to not only save money but create memories with others that you can cherish for years to come.
Rather than trying to shoulder the cost of vacation on your own, see if any friends are looking to take a vacation as well.
Then, get to planning and figuring out which locations, flights, and hotel options are going to work best for everyone.
It does take more work, but you should be able to avoid overextending your budget when you’re vacationing with multiple people.
Again, when we did this in Ireland, we split the cost of the rental car, allowing it to be more affordable.
As great as solo travel is, if you get to experience other countries with your best friend or a travel companion, it makes the trip that much more memorable.
#11. Do Things On Your Own Rather Than Relying On Services
Some of us may perceive tour companies or culinary experiences to be essential to the process of traveling.
However, that’s simply not true.
When you’re traveling, you want to experience the sights and culture of the country that you’re staying in, which doesn’t have to be done with the assistance of external services.
For example, speaking with the local people about what their recommendations are and going to them on foot can be a great way to see things for yourself without paying for costly city tours.
In addition to this, they might offer suggestions of local culture that the larger tours ignore.
If you’re someone who loves to cook and doesn’t want to spend a ton of money on meals, you can always pick up the ingredients nearby, learn the recipes that make the country so great, and try it out for yourself.
It may not be as authentic, but it helps decrease food costs significantly.
Put simply, a DIY approach is almost always the best approach to take if you’re traveling on a limited budget.
#12. Pay For Your Travel By Seeking Out A Job
The only thing better than seeing the world is getting paid to see it.
Of course, this can mean many different things to a wide variety of travelers as you have a host of opportunities at your disposal.
Let’s dive into a few recommendations that may appeal to you:
Get A Service Job
Look for a job overseas that can help you pay for room and board as well as other living expenses.
Not everyone has the ability to cover their expenses at home while simultaneously handling further expenses while traveling abroad.
Instead, look for a universal job that will help you pay for your travel expenses.
Some great suggestions include becoming an au pair or nanny, bartender or waiter/waitress, or even working at a local hospital.
Whatever interests you, look for those job opportunities to cover some of your most basic living expenses.
Start A Blog
Some may decide to start their own travel blog as a way to bring in passive income or regular income while they see the world.
This may be a bit more difficult than the above suggestions.
But if you get your business started before you take it on the road, this can be one way to reduce your costs and travel stress-free.
Work With A Travel Company
With this idea, you can get a job related to the travel industry in the places you plan to travel too.
Some examples include working at ski resorts or being a dive instructor.
If you plan to cruise a lot, then getting a job on a cruise ship could be another option for you.
In many countries, you can get paid very well for teaching English, which is in high demand.
In fact, some countries will fly you in for free to help them teach their citizens the English language.
Those with an English degree can often find quite a few opportunities abroad to teach English at local universities while they use their free time to travel around the country and really enjoy their stay.
If you’re looking for something more substantial in your journeys, consider a teaching job or something similar.
#13. Support Yourself With Side Hustles
If the idea of working a job doesn’t interest you, maybe instead you can take advantage of side hustles to make a little extra spending money on the side.
If you’re someone who’s very handy, look for opportunities through apps like TaskRabbit or post your own advertisements on available job boards in the country where you’re located.
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, you can always try taking surveys through Survey Junkie or test websites with UserTesting.
Remember, a side hustle isn’t necessarily a way to earn a full-time income, but a way to supplement your main income so you’re not breaking the bank when you decide that you want to go on vacation around the world.
#14. Use Your Student ID Card
If you are in college or a recent college grad, showing your student ID is one of the cheapest ways to travel.
Many places offer discounts of up to 50% off for attractions.
And you don’t have to be a student either.
Teachers, young people under the age of 26, and senior citizens can take advantage of all sorts of discounts, helping you to travel cheaply.
#15. Get A Tourist Card
If you are going to be in a city for a few days, reach out to the tourism office and see if they offer any tourist cards.
These cards allow you to visit many of the city’s tourist attractions at a steep discount.
Not only that, but many will also discount the cost of public transportation, saving you even more money.
With a little planning and thinking outside the box, you can easily learn how to travel cheaply.
And by saving money on your vacations, you can go for extra days or travel more frequently and still come out ahead financially.
So take the time to become a budget traveler and stop allowing money to be the thing that derails your dreams of traveling the world.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.