How to Travel Cheap – 5 Tips From This Pro
How to travel cheap can be a challenge for a lot of people (including me). We all want to stay in the fancy hotels, eat the best foods that the city has to provide, and conquer all of those expensive activities around. I do not blame you if you are one of those people, there is a lot of temptation out there! Unfortunately, going out on a spending frenzy during vacation can really affect our budgets and financial goals. Once home we might hate our past selves because those goals have been pushed farther and farther away. Plus, we will all want to go on another trip someday. So how do we stay in line to travel cheap so we can have awesome vacations now and for the future?
Here is a little background on my travels. Growing up I was so fortunate to be able to travel a lot because of my parents. These travels took us all over the United States, hitting up 40 out of the 50 states, as well around the world. Now that I am all grown up, married, and with a kid, it is tougher to travel with our limited funds. So we have become a lot more creative to afford our travels.
Before we get into all of my tips on how to travel cheap, I wanted to start with off with this piece of advice. This is something that I have personally been bad at but my wife and I are getting better at. Since most of us do not have big pools of money laying around to spontaniously buy plane tickets with (and if you do and want to share, contact me here :P), we all need to plan out ahead with our travels.
Personally, my wife and I have started to plan out our trips a year or two (depending on costs) ahead of time. This allows us to set up a savings plan to make the vacation happen.
How do you plan ahead for your vacations?
1. Don’t travel during the holiday’s
We just recently made this massive mistake so hopefully, you can learn from us. Traveling to Maine should have been fairly cheap on a normal week but we decided to travel over the Fourth of July week. This raised our plane tickets by $350 compared to when our friend traveled from Maine to Colorado to see us this past May. This is not how to travel cheap!
If you are looking to travel cheap, be sure to check for holidays around you. It is also better to travel during odd times in the week. These days include Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
We traveled over the holiday because we had a day off from our work, but if you factor all the increased traveling fees, it could have actually been better just using a bit extra of our vacation time.
Pro Tip: When searching for cheap tickets remember to take into account all of the taxes and fees. Upfront it might look like one airline has the lowest ticket prices but they might have the highest fees for baggage, seating, and so on.
2. Don’t eat out for every meal
My second tip on how to travel cheap involves my favorite part of any vacation, food! When my wife and I did our honeymoon we found a hotel that had a little kitchenette. After we dropped our stuff off we headed to the grocery store to gather some breakfast and lunch supplies. We would eat breakfast and some lunches in the room saving us tons of money! We were able to save enough to splurge a couple times on dinner while still saving money overall. I personally like to use Kayak or Southwest Airlines for finding plane tickets.
Pro Tip: Splurging on a couple meals during the trip is okay but remember do not let the foodie inside of you get in the way of your budget. Stay focused to keep within your budget, your future self will thank you for your discipline! For me at least, food can easily unravel my travel cheap plans!
3. Stay at accommodations that are off the beaten path
There are three major expenses while traveling: transportation, food, and a place to stay. Being able to cut costs on all three of these expenses is really how anyone can learn how to travel cheap. It is always tempting to stay in the hotel right on the beach or in the middle of downtown or has its front doors on the Vegas strip. In most cases, we can save tons of money while traveling if we get a hotel or Airbnb just a few blocks away from these main attractions.
This is a challenge for me because I want to be in the heart of the action our destination has to offer. So what I do is find accommodations that are off the beaten path but are close to a cheap mode of transportation that can get us there easily. Sometimes we are able to find something so close that we can walk there with ease.
4. Travel with friends or extended family (if you dare)
Now you cannot do this for every trip because it would just get tiring. Plus, it is just nice to enjoy time just with your own immediate family. But when you are looking to have a good time with some friends or family while saving money you can do just that!
Here’s how to travel cheap with your friends or family. First off, everyone can rent a home or condo splitting the overall costs. This usually turns out being cheaper than every party getting their own hotel room. Plus, a home or condo will come with a kitchen which I mentioned before is a huge cost saver.
Everyone can also share costs on that breakfast and lunch food I mentioned above. I remember growing up and going to family reunions where each family would take turns cooking a meal on a particular day. This was always an awesome experience because you got to enjoy different family recipes!
Pro Tip: Choose who you travel with very carefully. You want to enjoy your vacation! Plus, you do not all want to come back hating each other.
5. Don’t always go to the touristy spots
This how to travel cheap tip is one of my favorites. I cannot tell you how many awesome and amazing adventures I have had when I did not follow the crowd. One of my best friends, Tristan, is the person I should be thanking for pushing me out of my comfort zone while we traveled through Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany together.
I am not saying don’t to touristy spots. All I am saying is do not hang out at those spots all of the time during your trip. This is because most items, food, and services have had their prices increased significantly. When you go away from those places you will find that things will drop in price because there is less supply of tourists. Plus, you never know what awesome unknown place you might find.
Pro Tip: Use common sense when you venture off from the touristy areas. Cities and other countries can have very dangerous areas outside of those walled off tourist attractions. Be sure you know where you are going and be safe!
Now go have some fun!
Planning a vacation can be a daunting task in itself let alone adding on how to travel cheap on top of that. This is why I wanted to put together a list of tips just on how to travel cheap for you and your family.
Have any more tips you use to travel cheap that I might have missed? Let us know below in the comment section!
Want to earn some extra income so you can travel more? You can! Check out our Ways to Make Money for ideas on how to make some extra income. We personally try out as many as possible so you know which method to make more money is right for you or not.