How To Save And To Travel On A Budget
People see traveling as a luxury thing or something you have to really spend a lot of money on. As someone who booked a 5 days trip with flights, hotels, car rental and food included for less than $500 to visit three different states, I think it's very possible to see what's out there without spending every penny you have.
I find it fun and a great challenge when there's a budget on a trip. I get to search and learn more about which month or which season it is best to go to certain places around the world. The best part is, I get to experience so many great places without spending a whole lot.
So how can you travel without without breaking the bank?
7 Tips To Save And To Travel On A Budget
1. Choose a cheap destination
Figure out what's important to you. Is it the destination? the accommodation? the time? are you willing to go to a different place that offers a better pricing?
If saving is truly your priority, you have to be open minded and be flexible when it comes to your destination. If you have a set month to travel, find a destination during that month that offers the best bargain. If you have a particular destination in mind and you have the ability to choose the month or season you can travel, it's always better to book your destination during the month that offers their lowest prices.
Another smart option is to identify the high traffic places. My friends and I wanted to go to take a road trip in Arizona and Utah. We found out the flying to Las Vegas and renting a car will be a cheaper option for us than flying somewhere in Arizona or Utah. Since Last Vegas always have deals on flights, they offered 50% less than flying to the other two states. We knew that this decision will require an extra 4 hours of road trip to get to Grand Canyon, but since we had the time to spare, driving was not a big deal for us. We actually saw it as an opportunity to see and discover more places along the way. This is when you really have to be optimistic and find the positive side on everything.
2. Go during off-season
Most places in the world have tourist off-season where fewer people come and prices drop extremely. For Australia, you are more likely to find better prices from June to August during their winter season than in December-January, during their summer season. A few parts in the Caribbean is usually April to August and Europe's off season is January to March. Although January to March is usually Europe's off season, I've found round trip tickets in different places in Europe such as Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and many more for only around $400 in the month of September.
You just never know what deals you can find so don't be afraid to check whatever destination you have in mind. You can always search when is the off-season of specific destination and begin the search to find deals during those dates.
Please know that off-season often coincides with less ideal weather, so make sure that you pack smart. I've been to a destination during their off-season and weather seem to be just fine. I suggest to keep up with their weather forecast to know what to bring.
3. Find a package deal
It surprises me how not many people doesn't think of a package deal. Often, you will hear package deals if they book it through a travel agent. You can definitely find a great package deal without speaking to a travel agent. Based on my experience, booking through a travel agent always cost a lot more than what I find myself.
80% of the time, I find better pricing when I book a package. From Flights, hotel and car to even just flights and hotel or flights and a car rental package. Some people book things separately which is perfectly fine. There is that small percent where you will find a better deal by booking separately which happened to me a few times. I highly recommend that you compare prices at all times and see your options.
During our trip, I found a great deal for roundtrip flights and car rental for 5 day that cost us around $275 per person. I did book the hotels separately but I found a discount code online and was able to book everything for $380 per person. This is a crazy price that we just couldn't let go. YES, we chose a hot month which was July but with the proper clothing, sun screen and ways to stay cool, this trip was totally worth it.
4. Find odd hours and schedules
If you don't mind flying at midnight or the first flight offered in the morning, you will most likely find flights that cost less. It's usually cheaper to fly on Wednesdays than flying on the weekend. If time isn't as sensitive, and you don't mind having a connecting flight, that's another way where you can find low prices tickets. Sometimes, flying on Tuesdays or Saturdays is a better deal than Fridays and Sundays, as they are the priciest.
The reason we found such a good deal on our flights was because we pick a flight that flights out at midnight. If this is something you think you can work with, you will save money.
5. You don't need a travel agent
Like what I said above, you really don't need a travel agent to find the best deals. You can do it on your own. If you have the time and the patience and saving money is truly your absolute priority, you can plan your trip on your own.
I found these websites to be very helpful when looking for a cheaper flight, hotels and even packages.
booking.com - a travel fare aggregator website and travel metasearch engine for reservations. One of the best way to compare prices on flights and even hotels.
expedia.com - You just have to compare prices at all times, but I've used expedia many times and found many great package deals using it. Be a member, you get exclusive upgrades and discounts when you rack up some points.
There are also great public transportation on so many places. A great way to save instead of taking overpriced taxis sometimes. Just read the maps, read some reviews online and learn your destination.
6. Figure out a budget
Create a realistic budget that you feel comfortable spending. Search on the average cost of daily food and activities you plan on doing after you pick your destination. Find an estimate budget so you have an idea on how much you will spending during your trip. Look over the cost to determine if you can afford a longer trip or if you need to cut it short. See what you prioritize more, and figure out where you can cut costs. You can also buy tickets in advance, so you'll know how much are going to spend for entertainment.
Take advantage of free local entertainments like walking tours and museums. This is another way to save and you might surprise yourself on what you can find to do for free.
The hotels we stayed at offered free breakfast and truly helped us save some money during our budget trip. It's always best to see what hotels are offering when booking.
7. Find the best travel credit card
This is not for everyone. But if you're the type of person who travels often or you plan on taking many trips, find the best travel credit card that gives you 0% transaction fees abroad and points you can earn while you use it.
If you earn enough points, you can either get the money your earned or use it to book flights or hotels for free. By having the card, you may even get free flight or hotel upgrades. Just read carefully about the benefits they offer and see which one will work best for you.
Here's a list of the best travel credit cards for 2017. Click here.
With such a good deal, my friends and I booked our trip with no hesitation. For less than $500, we were able to book our round-trip flights, hotels with free breakfast and a car rental. It was a remarkable experience due to we were able to see so many beautiful places.
Here's a list of places that we checked out during our Arizona and Utah road trip. Something you should definitely check out when you visit. Some pictures taken by my friend, Marc A.
1. The Grand Canyon
2. Lake Powell
3. Antelope Island
4. Upper Antelope Canyon
5. Horseshoe Bend - one of my favorite!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! I will be happy to help you find the best deal on travels. Plus, who doesn't want to save money?? :)