Traveling is not only a way to see the world and experience different cultures, but to allow personal growth and give you perspective. We all want to experience the joys of traveling but we don’t want to break the bank doing it. Here are a few tips you can consider when you’re traveling on a budget.
1. Bring Snacks and Reusable Water Bottles
On travel days, it’s really easy to spend more money on food, snacks, and drinks because it’s convenient. However, airport prices are insane and you can save so much money for your actual trip than on a day of travel.
Pack small snacks and a reusable water bottle to fill once you get past security. This can help you avoid spending unnecessary money on things you can bring with you. This is another solution when you’re short on time, you don’t need to stop to grab a snack because you already have one with you.
2. Pack Light
I know this can be a hard one, I struggle with this from time to time when I’m traveling. However, when you’re traveling on a budget, you can avoid the extra costs of baggage by packing everything you need in just a carry-on and personal item.
When I traveled to Alaska for two weeks in the summer, I only took a carry-on and a personal item. Planning out what you’re going to wear during your trip can help condense the number of bags you need. Also reusing some of your clothing items for different outfits can help immensely.
3. Cook Your Own Food
When traveling we tend to go overboard on the amount of money we spend on food while eating out. This can add up so quick! In order to save money, go to a local grocery store and pick out foods for meals that can last you a few days.
My partner and I ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch for the week we were in Turks and Caicos. It may have gotten old after a few days, but it saved us so much money, in compared to going out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re traveling on a budget, this tip can save you a ton in allowing that money to go towards seeing more of the place you traveled to.
4. Book Airbnb’s
Airbnb’s have a wide range of prices, but they have very reasonable accommodations for those who don’t want to spend an arm and leg for a place to stay. If you’re like me, you spend most of your time out exploring the place you’ve traveled to rather than the room you’re staying in.
Airbnb’s can have a very homey feel to them, and can make you feel more like a local than staying at your typical hotel. In my opinion, Airbnb’s can offer a more authentic experience on your trip because they are rented out by people who may be locals or know the area very well.
5. Credit Card with Travel Points
If you love to travel and plan to regularly, having a credit card that gives you reward points in either flights or gives you cash back can be key to saving money over all. Each time you make a purchase, you’re racking up points to put to use for your travels or to even pay off some of it.
Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, American Express, and more are companies that give benefits for travel or cash back. Do your research and find which card best suits your needs for your travels and lifestyle.
6. Use Local Transportation
This is a holy grail when it comes to traveling on a budget. Renting a car or getting an Uber can allow more freedom to where you want to go, which is normally what many of us want. However, this tends to be the more expensive route when traveling, unless renting a car is cheap in the country or state you’re going to.
Try using local transportation like buses, bikes, subways, or even walking. This can save you a lot of money in the long run. When my partner and I traveled to St. Maarten, we used their local bus system and paid maybe $1-2 a trip.
7. Free Activities
There are always tons of free activities you can do in the places you visit. Whether it’s taking your own sightseeing trip, going on a hike that has free admission, or a free museum. This can save you hundreds of dollars and huge crowds by avoiding the touristy attractions.
However, tourist attractions may be a key part in the country or city you’re visiting but if you can dodge them to save money, it’s highly recommended when traveling on a budget.
8. Book for the Off Season
You’ll notice that when you’re planning a trip, if you want to go during peak season flights are through the roof. Save hundreds by booking your trip during the off season. It may not be the exact time you want to visit but it’ll make it easier for you to go.
A huge benefit to booking and going to a place during the off season is less traffic of tourists, so you won’t have any problems with the high volume on things you want to do there. Our trip to Turks and Caicos was during hurricane season (which we experienced hurricane Irma) but we were able to enjoy one of their sister islands beforehand, and basically had the whole island with only locals to ourselves.
9. Use Cash Only
This tip can help majorly with stopping you from over spending. If you plan on only using cash throughout your whole trip, you can budget for exactly what you need and what you’re willing to spend it on.
You’ll only be able to spend what you have. Of course, bring a credit card for any emergencies that may come up. But limiting yourself to a cash only trip can help you save so much!
10. Pack your Student ID
If you’re a student, there are many perks you can receive when using your student ID. Want to visit a local museum? Try using your ID for a student discount or even free admission. It doesn’t hurt to try!