Budget travel does exist, you just have to know where to look for it. It doesn’t mean cheap motels, and sub-par attractions, in fact it’s quite the opposite if you plan correctly.
Budget Travel- Tips For Planning Your Next Vacation
There is nothing wrong with wanting to save money when you travel, especially if you travel often. You just have to know what you are looking for when trying to stay on budget. Your bucket list destination doesn’t have to be out of reach, you just have to know how to plan for it.
Sure, it would be great if we could just up and go when the wanderlust hits, but that’s not realistic, at least not in the world I live in. Here are my top tips to help you travel on a budget.
Book Your Flights In Advance
Using a trusted budget travel site, such as JustFly will get you the most bang for your buck. They work in partnership with over 400 airlines to bring you the cheapest flights available. They will even alert you if the price drops on your flight!
Fly economy as well, there is no need to upgrade to business class if it’s not a long haul flight (for me that is 8 hours or more). Never book airfare on a Friday, as that is when air is the highest. Try to book your air at least two months before departure, if not more.
Travel Out Of Season
Did you know that traveling over holidays, and school breaks are the MOST expensive times to travel. Everything from flights to hotels are almost double in price if you travel when everyone else is. Research the best time to visit, and travel before or after those dates. This is often called the ‘shoulder season’. You will still have a great time, it just won’t be as costly (or crowded). Some of our favorite trips to Walt Disney World have been in January, with virtually no crowds. Want to see The Vatican without hundreds, or thousands of others, go during shoulder season!
Don’t Travel On Peak Days
If you want to save money, avoid weekends as your arrival day. This may sound strange but checking in on a Tuesday or Wednesday will certainly save you money. Midweek travel prices are lower as a premium is added to weekend flights and hotels. Midweek travel also means shorter security lines at the airport. Who doesn’t love that!
Book Cruises WELL In Advance
If a cruise is on your travel bucket list you can absolutely do it on a budget. Booking your dream cruise 9 months to a year in advance will get you the best pricing. When cruise dates are first released, supply is high and demand is relatively low, it’s easy to find budget friendly cabins. As rooms get snapped up, of course, demand rises and so do prices. We don’t see the major last minute cruise deals that we used to, so it’s best to plan in advance if you plan on hitting the high seas.
Some cruise lines are releasing dates almost 2 years before departure, and that is when cabins will be rock bottom pricing. You can even afford a cabin that you thought was out of your price range by planning this far ahead.
Save On Accommodations
Skip the suite and get a standard room. Accomodations can add up quickly if you go for the fancy rooms, with all the bells and whistles. Think about how much time you will actually spend in the room to enjoy the extra perks, and see if it will be worthwhile. Sure it’s nice to have a one bedroom, with a stunning bathroom and butler. But, if you have to give that up in order to be ocean-front in a standard room overlooking the Caribbean wouldn’t you?
Use Public Transportation
This will save you money versus renting a car. If you are staying in a major city, be sure to see how far you will be from major sites and attractions. Being close to public transportation will help you save money and wasted time wandering the city.
You can often get a bus pass or train pass for the duration of your trip for half the cost (or more) of a rental car. You also won’t have parking fees, tolls and more that add up quickly when you rent a car. I often use ride share services like UBER and LYFT as well and it saves me a ton of money.
Get Travel Insurance
While this will cost you money up-front it will save you money if something should happen. Many times deposits, and airfares are non-refundable. If you have a good policy you can often get that money back, even if you need to cancel for any reason. You can’t stop emergencies from happening, but you can protect your investment.
Sure the flashy tourist spots are great, but they are also very costly. Skip the concierge, and ask your housekeeping attendant or wait staff where the best places to eat are in town. I have never been steered wrong by a local, and had some of the best meals for under $10!
This is also a great tip for best places in port on cruises. Again ask the locals, they are always in the know.
Research Your Destination
Flying by the seat of your pants will end up costing a lot more than you bargained for. You can go on-line and often get discount attraction, and museum tickets in advance. You also don’t want to be disappointed when you show up to The Statue of Liberty only to learn that you need to reserve your spot six months in advance.
Many National Park sites and museums are also free, so this is a great way to experience a destination. Did you know that almost all of the museums in Washington D.C. are free? You can experience Dinosaurs, American History and Space Shuttles all for free!
Hopefully these tips for keeping a travel budget will help you not to break the bank on your next vacation. What is your best tip for staying on budget when traveling?