Think you can’t travel on your budget? Think again. If you’re craving a new stamp in your passport, make it happen. Traveling doesn’t have to cost a fortune and the rewards you’ll get from some time away will be invaluable. Traveling can refresh your mind, work ethic, and rejuvenate your passion. At the end of the day, you’ll never regret the trips and experiences you have…only those you don’t.
Read our tips on jet setting on a budget, then ask yourself this: why am I not already packing?
Be flexible about when and where you go.
This is the most crucial part of traveling on a budget. If you want to travel without breaking the bank, you might have to settle for a place that wasn’t originally on your bucket list. However, we guarantee that some of the best trips you’ll ever go on are to the places you never thought you’d end up.
We recommend using the Kayak App which allows you to choose the destination you’re flying out of, your budget, and max length of the trip using the “explore” feature. From here, the app will show you all travel locations within your budget. Even if you aren’t ready to jump on a great deal, it’s a great tool to help you discover what cities are the cheapest to fly to from your location. Keep in mind, you may also want to be flexible about what airport you fly out of. If you’re within ~2 hours of another airport, it might be worthwhile checking costs out of that airport as well. Often times, the added cost of traveling to a different nearby airport can be saved in the cost of the actual ticket.
The initial destination doesn’t have to match the end destination.
The same goes for traveling within a different country. In Europe, you can fly between countries for easily under $100. With that being said, when you find a cheap ticket to Europe – buy it. You’ll figure the rest out once you’re there.When it comes to timing, you’ll want to be as flexible as possible. During tourist seasons, many locations will be more expensive to travel to and more expensive once you’re there. If you ask us, it’s actually so much better to travel to a new city outside of the busy tourist season. You’ll meet more locals, get a better understanding of the cities culture, and find that the popular attractions are far less busy than you may have expected. Additionally, mid-week flights are often cheaper than Friday or Sunday flight so make sure you have some flexibility in the days that you are traveling as well.
Travel to places with a cheap cost of living.
Don’t let cheap flight prices blind you from the costs you’ll incur once you land. Places like Thailand, Bali, and Jamaica have been skyrocketing in popularity due to the low cost of living once you’re there. The last thing you want is to take a trip that you feel like you can’t even afford to enjoy. You don’t want to have to miss out on the food, sights, and entertainment of a new place simply because you can’t afford it.
By traveling somewhere with a cheap cost of living, you can live the luxurious life you’ve always dreamed of, regardless of how you live at home. Quick tip: Exchange currency with your bank prior to leaving the country. You’ll find much lower exchange rates, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running as soon as the wheels hit the runway. Remember, currency exchange can take a few weeks so make sure to plan ahead!
Do your research.
If traveling on a budget was easy…everyone would do it, but the truth is, it takes work. The more you research you do, the more potential you have to save. Don’t jump on the first rental car, hotel, tour, etc. that you see. By looking up various competitors and digging through multiple sites, you’ll be able to find the best price available.
Many hotels, tours, and rentals will offer discounts if you pay in advance rather than paying when you arrive. Additionally, look into any discounts you may have available (military, AAA, insurance, etc.), even when traveling internationally. If you hate spreadsheets, well, that’s going to need to change.
Here’s an example… say you know you want to rent electric scooters on your vacation to France. A quick Google search will pull up countless rental locations in the city. List every place, as many as possible, on a spreadsheet. Start outlining the location, hourly rate, any discounts (i.e is there a discount if you rent for more than x days?), anything that could make one place better than the next. After you’ve made your list of all locations start looking for discounts available. Sign up for all email lists, follow each location on social media, read through reviews, or even email the place! We promise you, with enough time and research you’ll find a killer deal. It will be worth the time investment.
Earn some side cash.
If you still don’t feel like your budget can afford you the vacation you want, then this will be your next step. Money should never be the excuse to not pack your bags and go. There are countless ways to earn a little extra money. Drive your car during prime times with Uber or Lyft. Sell your unwanted clothes on Poshmark or OfferUp. Deliver food on Postmates or GrubHub. Get paid for taking surveys online. Get paid to walk cute pups on Wag.
If those options aren’t right for you, then utilize your network. Do you have friends or neighbors that could use a babysitter? Could you put your passion and talents to work and find some freelance gigs? Long story short, do not let money be what holds you back. There is always a way to make more money.
If all else fails, enjoy a staycation.
We know at this point that money isn’t a valid excuse to not travel, but we understand that not everyone’s schedules allow for an epic 2-week trip to Europe. Whether it’s kids, a strict time off policy, or even a fear of places, you can still “jet set” on a budget right in your own town. Even if you have lived in the same city your entire life, we promise you there are new things to see.
Here’s the secret to successfully having a staycation: you need to completely eliminate your daily routine and commit to this staycation. Spend a whole weekend doing things you’ve never done. Eat at a restaurant you’ve never been to. Find somewhere to camp or hike that you’ve never seen. Go to the zoo or amusement park that you haven’t been to in years. If you can completely disconnect from your day to day routine, we promise you’ll find yourself refreshed at the end of this “trip” in your hometown.
If you happen to be in southern California, check out our list of Weekend Getaways in Southern California.
What are your favorite tips for enjoying a vacation on a budget? Let us know what we missed by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!