Traveling on a Budget
With spring and warmer weather around the corner, a vacation may be on your mind. Sometimes; however, finances can hinder you from taking that trip. Follow these tips and tricks and learn how to travel on budget.
Don’t Be Afraid of Airfare
Some people will automatically assume they can’t afford to travel because airfare is expensive. However, you’d be surprised how cost effective it can actually be. There are multiple ways to get a great deal on a round trip flight.
- Choose to fly during the off season when lower rates are offered.
- Try to be flexible with your dates.
- Find airlines that offer low fare calendars and show which days the rates are lower.
- If flying internationally and the rates are high, try mix matching airports as international airports tend to have lower rates when flying outside of the country. If you don’t have an international airport in your state, fly into one on your first leg and then take a flight from there to your overseas destination.
- Use a search engine like kayak.com to help you find the best rates and notify you when to purchase.
- Travel light and carry on your bag as opposed to checking it. Airlines like Southwest do not charge a fee to carry on.
- Purchase your ticket in advance to take advantage of lower rates. Studies show that the best time to purchase flights depending on the season is:
- Winter: 62 days in advance
- Spring: 90 days in advance
- Summer: 47 days in advance
Research Using a Private Browser
Another great trick to budget travel is performing your research using a private browser (incognito). Websites can track what prices you’ve been quoted in your past searches. Keep this in mind when looking for airfare and hotel.
Take a Road Trip
If you aren’t having any luck finding affordable flights and your destination is within driving distance, drive. With great music, company and gas station snacks, a road trip might just be the vacation you need. To keep costs down, drive your own car. If doing so isn’t an option, though, you can always rent one without spending an obscene amount of money. If renting, opt for an economy car but do not rent from an airport due to airport surcharges. Spend some time shopping around online for a good deal. Also, if you’re going a long distance make sure to rent a vehicle with unlimited mileage and check with the rental company about any travel restrictions.
Use Public Transportation
If renting a car once you’ve reached your destination isn’t necessary, save your money and don’t do it. Before you leave on your trip, research what kind of public transportation is available such as:
- Bike rentals
- Uber or Lyft
The best way to explore a city is by foot and walking is free! Use Uber and Lyft if available when rates are low (not during rush hour). Try to avoid taxis as they typically have higher rates than Uber or Lyft.
Save on Lodging
There are a few options on where to stay when traveling:
- Airbnb or Home Exchange
Websites like Airbnb have a variety of accommodations and prices. You can select from an entire house or apartment to a single private room all for reasonable rates. Always make sure to read the reviews from previous guests. If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel, make sure to compare sites and deals to get the best rate. Compare prices on search engines such as kayak.com or hotels.com. Make sure to sign up with your email address for alerts on price drops. Lastly, one of the cheapest options is staying at a hostel. Not only is it the most economical option but because of their common areas there’s a chance you can meet new people.
Additional Budget Travel Tips
Do your research! By spending a little time before your trip reading reviews and researching the city, you’ll find many ways to stay on budget while still having a great experience. Look for attractions and events that are free including museums, parks and historical sites. If an attraction requires an admissions fee, find out when the fees are lower. Some places tend to have lower fees during the beginning of the week.
Whether you’re traveling a few hundred or a few thousand miles, follow these travel budget tips to save money.