I’m always asked how I find the money to travel so much or how to plan a vacation on a budget. The biggest myth around travel is that you will drain your savings or have to save money to travel. If student travelers have taught us anything, its that you can plan a vacation on a budget without missing out on experiences and still see the world.
For this reason, I have compiled my top tips to save money and show you how I plan a vacation on a budget. Best part, is that you will still get to enjoy what a city has to offer without breaking the bank and help you stick to your budget, should you have one.
Visit Cheap Travel Destinations
Seek destinations that are cheaper to visit and where your money will be stretched farther. Blogger “Be My Travel Muse” has an updated post for cheap destinations in 2022 broken down by region.
Whenever possible opt to travel light using only a carry-on. Not only will you save on checked luggage fees but this also makes for a more leisurely way of traveling once you are in your destination.
Check out these super useful packing guides loaded with tested tips to help you pack light with minimum luggage.
Google Free Activities
A simple google search such as “Free activities in [insert city/destination]” will give you a surprising amount of sights and activities to explore a city that are either affordable, don’t cost money at all or offer details when certain destinations such as museums have free days for visitors.
This can also help you find out in advance if any special events are happening during the time you are visiting as you may want to attend/participate or avoid the area all together because of crowds.
Stay in Budget Friendly Accommodation
Booking.com now offers whole apartments/homes and even guest houses similar to Airbnb without the hassle of being canceled last minute. It’s perfect If traveling with a group as this option helps save with meal costs if you leverage the kitchen and eat/cook meals there. Aside from your Airbnb style accommodation, your will find an array of options for every price range from bed & breakfast to hostels so you can decide the best accommodation style for your trip.
Being loyal does have it’s advantages, the more you travel and book accommodation with Booking.com the more discounts you get. Up to 20% off! Learn more about their Genius Loyalty Program HERE.
Most hostels offer various accommodations to suit everyone’s comfort levels from beds, single gender rooms to even private rooms. HostelWorld is the leader in hostel style accommodation so do your research based off the type of trip you want as some of my favorite hostels are those that aim to create a travel community during your stay. These usually host daily activities and cook family meals for guests for very reasonable prices.
Traveling in a group? Hostels could still be cost efficient and give your group the privacy you may need. Depending in the size of your group, you could end up getting a whole room to yourself.
Consider traveling with a campervan as travel costs get reduced greatly. It is surprisingly easy to travel with a vehicle that doubles as a home since you can travel, cook and sleep using the van. It provides for an adventure in itself. Hit the road and explore campervan options at PaulCamper.
Use this comprehensive guide, “Campervan Tips, Tricks & Essentials” to plan your campervan adventure.
A camping trip is the go-to option if you want to travel without spending too much. Campsites are cheap and provide campers with cooking/shower facilities. Some people may even opt for wild camping which eliminates accommodation costs completely. Just be sure to check on what the rules are with regard to wild camping as each country/city differs.
Eat Inexpensive Meals
I admit that the foodie in me spends most of my travel budget on food. But even in this area of travel there are ways of saving costs even when visting expensive countries such as Iceland.
I have tested and applied the below myself when visiting expensive countries;
- Choosing accommodation that has a kitchen so you can cook some of your meals with local produce or products.
- Selecting accommodation that includes breakfast to ensure you aren’t spending on at least one meal while on vacation.
- sampling the city by checking out food markets and outdoor food vendors for snacks.
- Make one meal of the day be a restaurant meal. This gives you the opportunity to still enjoy the authentic eateries offered in the destination you are visiting.
Consider eating out for lunch as many restaurants offer lunch deals or costs 2/3 the price compared to their dinner menu. Also, be sure to take advantage of happy hour drink deals which most cities will have.
Shopping for souvenirs is expensive and your luggage will stay light (saving you on those pesky luggage fees). Not only that, the time saved shopping can be used to see another highlight in the destination you are visiting.
Indulge in an occasional luxury during the trip. Remember you are still on vacation and shouldn’t miss out on something if you truly want to see it, eat it, do it, etc.
Traveling is achievable for everyone regardless of a budget. All you need is a desire to travel and the knowledge to travel smart.