Traveling on a Budget: Let Your Dollar Go Further
Updated: Jul 12
Everyone loves the idea of traveling, the amazing photos, the delicious foods, and the stories you make along the way seem so glamorous and wonderful. But let’s be honest, it can get expensive very quickly. Traveling starts to seem like an unattainable dream rather than an affordable adventure. Don’t let your budget deter you from having a great time traveling. Planning and budgeting will help ensure that you have a great time without overspending and maybe help you save for your next adventure. Make your money take you further with a few easy tricks!
Set a Budget
Whether you are taking a big trip out of the country or a smaller trip a few hours away creating a budget for yourself will make all the difference. Ask yourself how much can you realistically spend on this adventure? Then you can plan your trip around that amount. Budgeting will guide you to look into cheaper alternatives to shave a few dollars here and there. Budget a certain amount of money that you are willing to spend on airfare, accommodations, food, activities, and maybe a souvenir or two. The financial visualization of your trip will help you see the areas you need help saving for or show the areas where you have room to spend a little more to make the trip extra special.
Being spontaneous sounds exhilarating, right? Waking up and booking a last-minute trip is great until you look at your credit card statement the next month. Though time-consuming and tedious planning out the details of your trip can save your bank from breaking. Airfare prices fluctuate based on the day of the week, the travel season, and popularity. Booking at least seven weeks in advance, choosing an early flight time, and opting for a budget airline offer the lowest costs for your fare. Though these options are not as appealing as a midday flight on a fancy airline these will help bring your costs down. Booking in advance for any activity you have planned can make a difference as well, it is always important to check the admission costs for activities online. Prices can sometimes be cheaper if bought prior to arrival, while other places charge more for pre-ordering tickets. To be on the safe side, plan your activities, and check the costs of everything you would like to do. If you refer to your budget and see that your activities planned to exceed that - think about cutting an activity or choosing a cheaper/free option. In addition to saving your money, planning out these minor details will keep you organized and ensure that you make the most out of your trip!
Saving versus splurging is another vital part of making your money last longer during your travels. Once you have a budget in mind you can start to think about the aspects of traveling that you would be willing to cut back on or splurge on. A perfect example is housing during your stay, before booking an expensive hotel, explore the prices of budget hotels, Airbnb’s, and hostels in the area. Realistically while traveling you will spend the majority of your time exploring, not sitting in your hotel room. Saving on this can lead you to splurge on a paid activity such as a private tour, or museums and amusement park costs. Treating yourself to a vacation is wonderful, but on a budget always keep in mind that if you splurge in one place try to save somewhere else on the trip. Pick and choose wisely.
What About Food?
My favorite part of traveling is the food, I love exploring trendy and authentic local restaurants, but eating out for three meals a day for five days can add up very quickly. An easy way to save some money is to only splurge on one meal rather than three. Take advantage of where you are staying, if breakfast is being served in the lobby, eat there. You can then splurge on your lunch or dinner, you won’t miss out on the local cuisine but you will save some money. If breakfast is not being offered, try finding a local grocery store or bakery, there are many benefits to eating and shopping locally! You will feel like a local and maybe explore an area of the city that you weren’t planning on visiting.
Traveling can be an amazing adventure that gives you lasting memories, wonderful pictures, and a desire to do it all over again. But that amazing adventure shouldn’t be putting you into debt, traveling on a budget is 100% achievable. Planning, budgeting, and choosing your splurges will make all the difference in your travel funds. Traveling does cost money, but remember that the memories and experiences you gain from it are priceless.