10 Clever Tips for Travel on a Budget

We all know traveling is the literal best, but it can be pricy. Here are a few tips for your travel on a budget. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other ideas or tips on keeping travel inexpensive!

1. Be open to multiple destinations

Flexibility is one of the keys to being able to travel inexpensively. If flights to your first-choice destination are too costly, look at another airport nearby and see if you can take a bus or train to where you want to go. Conversely, you could consider a similar location that isn’t as heavily developed for tourists that might be cheaper.

2. Be willing to travel in the off-season

Traveling in the summer can be expensive since so many people have time off. If you’re going to Europe, travel to the big cities in May or September and you’ll have both breathing room and much lower prices. If you’re going to the Middle East, it’s cheaper in the hotter summer months.

3. Buy a round-the-world ticket

Consider making a multi-month or year commitment to travel and buying a round-the-world ticket. Many allow up to 15 cities as stopovers. They can be inexpensive if a little tricky to plan. Information on RTW tickets can be found here.

4. Plan in advance

Planning travel well in advance can be very advantageous. Many hotels, tours, and airlines now offer Black Friday deals, so if you know your dates, you can get a deal.

5. Be very spur of the moment/flexible with your timing

If you aren’t a plan in advance kind of person, you can find lots of good deals if you are willing to travel at the last minute or be very flexible with your travel dates. Follow Twitter accounts like Fare Deal Alert or sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights newsletter to get alerts on travel deals.

6. Join a rewards program and be loyal

Accruing points and miles and then carefully using those miles can save you thousands of dollars on travel costs. The important part of loyalty programs, especially credit cards, is reading the fine print – many have exclusions or other fees. For the best information on travel credit cards, I consult this post from The Points Guy. Airlines rewards programs can also be incredibly beneficial but you have to have loyalty to one airline or group of airlines – the three big alliances are OneWorld (American, British, Cathay Pacific, etc), Star Alliance (United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, etc), and SkyTeam (Delta, KLM, AirFrance, etc). Pick one to build loyalty with and stick to it. Then read up on how to use those points.

7. Cook for yourself

Making your own food can save you a lot of cash. It’s not nearly as exciting as eating out, but use it as an opportunity to explore local markets and grocery stores. You can also try out local street food or find a nice deli and get a sandwich. Staying out of sit-down restaurants will save you money.

8. Use your social network to find cheap or free housing

There are all sorts of non-hotel lodging options these days, (think AirBnB and HomeAway), but have you considered putting out a call to your friends to see if they know anyone you could stay with? Think of it like Couchsurfing but with a recommendation.

9. Take advantage of currency fluctuations

This goes along with being flexible, but being aware of currency markets can help you plan your travel. If you spend US dollars or a currency pegged to the dollar, you might have more buying power in Mexico or the UK right now, but less in continental Europe.

10. Keep souvenir and other spending in check by setting a budget

Do some quick online research so you know what local prices look like and set a reasonable budget for yourself. Plan to have money to buy the things you want, but have amounts set ahead of time so you know what you can afford.

Do you have any fabulous budget travel tips? Let us know in the comments below!