Are you wondering how to travel without spending too much money? To be sure, traveling will certainly cost money. But, there are ways to travel without going overboard. Here are some of our best tips to save you money while traveling.
The key to travel without spending too much money is knowing your costs in advance and plan ahead. So, start planning months, or perhaps even a year in advance. Prepare a spreadsheet, and start filling in all the expenses. For example, estimate hotels, transportation, meals etc. Then, you will see how much the holiday will cost you. Once you have a good idea of the costs, you can start saving for it. Our favorite way of budgeting for a trip is to divide the costs by the number of months left before the trip. For example, if we’ll be spending $2000 on a trip that is 12 months out, we put aside $167/mo.
Now, that’s manageable! Here are some other tips to travel without spending too much money.
Consider Shoulder Season
In many areas of the world the tourist season is divided in seasons. For example, high season, low season, and shoulder season. Additionally, in Europe, the shoulder season is March/April and October/November. During the shoulder season the weather isn’t too bad, hotels and flights are cheaper, cities are not too crowded with tourists and usually the lines to get into museums or attractions are way shorter.
Book Early or Last Minute
Flights are usually cheaper if they are booked way in advance (6 months to a year in advance) or at the very last minute. Last-minute bookings allow you to travel without spending too much money. If you have the opportunity of taking advantage of this opportunity you can save a lot of money in the flight portion of your trip.
Off the Beaten Path
There are many amazing places to visit off the beaten path, that costs a fraction of the well-known tourist attractions. In Europe, it can be very advantageous to stay in small towns outside the main tourist cities and take a commuter train into town in the morning. In countries like Italy, some areas offer farm stay (agriturismo in Italian) usually these farms are quite amazing, cheap and in lovely areas. Indeed, staying at an agriturismo is a perfect way to avoid spending too much money when traveling. A quick train ride will take you to the main city to visit.
Make Money While Traveling!
While the gold standard would be to make money when you sleep, if you can’t achieve that, you can do the second-best thing. Make money while traveling, to support your travels!
Consider all Inclusive Options
If you have the option of choosing an all-inclusive, go for it. Rick and I love All-Inclusive travel options as it’s an ideal way to avoid spending too much money. This makes budgeting for your trip extremely easy because you do not have to worry about all the extra costs (food, drinks, etc.) In Europe usually, hotels offer breakfast included but sometimes you can choose a second meal included (most often lunch).
Travel & Keep Your Spending Money by Using Public Transit
If you are traveling to a major city familiarise yourself with their public transit system, Check online for timetables, maps, and routes. This is not only more efficient (avoid traffic, avoid the need to find a taxi), but it is usually pretty cheap. In most major tourist cities you can buy a transit pass that covers all day or several days. For example, in Tokyo, you travel on the subway with a metro card that is good for 1 or 2 days. Indeed, buying a 2-day pass is a perfect way to avoid spending too much money on travel.
In Europe and South East Asia, most cities are built on the ocean or very close by. This makes cruising in those areas extremely advantageous. Basically all your meals, transportation and entertainment is included in your cruise fare. On top of that, you do not have to deal with multiple currencies because on-board USD is the only currency. You also don’t have to pack and unpack several times, your resort basically takes you to a new destination on a daily basis.
Avoid Tourist Traps!
When you travel, avoid the major tourist traps, yes the wax museum might seem interesting, but think about your travel halfway around the world to go see an attraction that you can find in every single city of the world? If you decide to do the gondola ride in Venice or the Tuk Tuk in Bangkok (just as an example) ask for the price in advance, you don’t want a big surprise when you arrive. If you decide to bring home some souvenirs, avid gift shops go to a local supermarket you will be able to find the same fridge magnet for a fraction of the price.
Use Social Media
Before you go on a trip, especially to a place you have never visited before, check travel groups on Facebook and ask for a recommendation on what to visit, or where to go or how to travel around. People are usually more than happy to give you a lot of tips that will save you time and money.
Keep your Spending Money and Eat like the locals
When you are traveling and you see a restaurant that offers North American food, especially if they have photos, stay away. Those restaurants usually target tourists and the prices are usually way higher than normal. It is also a great idea to try the local food. By eating local food, you’ll be able to travel more without spending too much extra money. If a city has a market usually food there is great and affordable.
Check Your Travel Insurance
Your insurance package with work or your credit card might cover for medical problems while traveling abroad. Always check with your insurer what the coverage is while traveling to avoid surprises. If you don’t have a travel insurance package included, shop around there are several places that offer travel insurance at a very affordable rate.
Reduce Travel Spending by Using Points
If you can, collect loyalty points with your favorite Airline or with your credit card. This is a great way to save money with flights, car rentals, and hotels. The key to using points is to be flexible with your traveling in order to avoid blackout dates.
Above all travel safely, enjoy and bring home a lot of fun memories.
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30, he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America, and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising, and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.