Many people dream of traveling the world, but are held back from making the trip by the high price tag. Let's face it, travel can be expensive! From airline tickets to accommodations, food, and entertainment, it can seem impossible to travel on a budget. However, we know that it can be done! There are tons of great services and sites to help you travel on the cheap, plus we have a few tips on how to make a big trip a little easier on your bank account.
Doing a little research before you book your trip can go a long way. When deciding where to go, consider choosing a location with an affordable cost of living, like Cambodia or Guatemala. While the initial airline ticket may seem pricey, the other expenses (like food and hotel) will likely be low enough that you'll still be saving money. You'll be able to eat out and explore and experience the culture of your destination without breaking the bank.
Before booking a ticket, take the time to research and compare prices of different airports and airlines that will get you to your destination. Sometimes flying on different airlines with a layover in the middle is your best bet. Apps like Skyscanner or Kiwi let you compare prices for multiple airlines, and track prices by day so you can see when it will be cheapest to fly out. You can sign up for alerts for your chosen location so you will be notified if there is a price drop.
If you are trying to save money, it's a good idea to travel during the off season. Usually, this means November through March (excluding the holidays), but seasonal travel depends on location. Prices will drop during this time because there are fewer travelers. Look up the most popular time for tourists at your destination, and plan your trip accordingly.
If you are willing to change plans to take advantage of low prices and last minute deals, you can save a whole lot of money. This applies to everything, but is especially helpful for flights and accommodations, two of the biggest expenses when traveling. Keep an eye on the cheapest dates to fly using the apps mentioned above, but also be flexible about your flights. Often times you can get a better price flying indirectly, or flying into a different airport than originally planned. Hotels will sometimes have last minute flash sales, so if you are willing to take the risk, it may pay off to wait and book accommodations when you get there.
If you are booking last minute, keep in mind that you can change your destination just as easily as your flight! If you don't have anything pre-booked, you can go wherever the wind blows you (or wherever is the cheapest) without worrying about losing reservations elsewhere. Being flexible about your route and destination can make for some of the best travel experiences.
Being smart about your finances will help you stretch each dollar while you're on the road. Travel bloggers and experts generally agree that one of the most important ways to save money when traveling is to sign up for a travel credit card. This will allow you to accumulate miles and points that can be used for flights or hotels, and sometimes have other travel perks like free upgrades. Using a designated credit card for your trip also allows you to track your expenses, and helps you avoid conversion rates that you deal with when using cash. Setting up a savings account for your specifically for your trip is also a great step to take. Decide how much you can afford to spare per month and put it away in your savings account so that when the time comes to travel, you will have a fund you can draw from just for your trip abroad.
When you get to where you're going, be smart about where you spend and where you save. Take public transportation whenever possible, and bring a guide book from home so you can skip out on paying for sightseeing tours. If your destination is on the expensive side, consider staying somewhere with access to a kitchen so you can buy and prepare your own food. There are also plenty of volunteer and work-as-you-go travel programs that will cover some costs.
It also pays (literally) to pack light. You can beat luggage fees by brining only a carry on bag (make sure it's expandable) and packing only the most essential things. This will also allow you to be more mobile, because you won't have to bring your big suitcase on the train or drag it up lots of stairs.