As some of you might already know, I LOVE to travel. I love the rush of excitement that I get whenever I am discovering a new place or seeing something for the first time. Some of you might also know that my husband loves to budget and therefore doesn’t want to travel to expensive places unless I can find awesome deals. Now, after traveling all over the world, for multiple years, I wanted to share some of the best tips and tricks that I have found with you so that you can travel the world on a budget, too!
Travel at the cheapest times/dates
Now, this might mean that you travel during the off season or maybe it means that you travel really early in the morning or really late at night.
Finding the “sweet spot” for your destination is going to save you lots of money on flights and on rooms! I love using Momondo to try and find the best flight deals. There site makes it really easy to compare entire months at a time so that you can make sure you are getting the best deals.
Weigh your baggage before you leave home! (Or just leave it at home, altogether!)
Often times if you are traveling on a budget airline, they are going to charge extra for baggage. Make sure that you are aware of the fees and make sure that you weigh your luggage before you leave home. This will help save those super expensive overage fees if you bag weighs too much.
Fly indirect and/or from a nearby airport
Always make sure to check out nearby airports in your departing city or destination. For us, we always check airports within a 3 hour radius. If we can get a really great deal that makes sense for us to drive that extra time, and spend the extra gas money, we are going to do it.
Don’t be afraid of hostels!
Maybe this is because I lived in Europe where hostels are common, or maybe it is because Manuel has made me more open minded, whatever the reasoning, we have stayed in some nice hostels (for really cheap). I of course, prefer a private hotel but when we are traveling to really busy destinations and I can’t find a great hotel deal, then I look at hostels. This can save you tons of money and if you are looking to meet people during your travels- this is a great way to do it!
I promise that a luxury hotel, at full price, isn’t going to be your best option
Promise me right now that you aren’t going to book any hotel at full price ever. You promise? Good! Using sites like booking.com (a favorite of mine! Plus if you use this link, you can get $15 off your next stay!) can help you find the very best deal. I love booking a refundable hotel right after we book our flights, then I will keep searching for better deals as the dates get closer and the hotels don’t sell out. If I find a better deal, I can always just cancel the first option free of charge.
Another tip that I learned to love from Manuel – if you travel to an amazing place, you shouldn’t be spending anytime in the hotel (other than to get a couple hours of sleep). Therefore, don’t blow a large part of your budget to stay in an expensive hotel, instead find a reasonably priced option that is in a safe area (this is a big one for me. ALWAYS make sure you google the area of the hotel before booking- you don’t want to end up in the slums or the hood.)
Download helpful apps in advance
You might be surprised at how many destinations have apps. Whether that is a map of the “must see” places or interactive “tour guides” get these apps in advance so that you know what type of information you can easily access. Also, if you are traveling to a foreign country, you might not have cellular data. If that is the case, Google Maps will allow you to download an offline map of a specified area. Make sure you do this so you don’t have to waste money (or time) getting lost.
Eat like a local (and avoid the tourist traps)
If you take any piece of advice from this article, take this one. Some of my best memories on trips have been when we get off the beaten path, away from the tourist traps, and truly experience the destination. This might mean that you have to walk further, travel longer, or get lost a time or two. But I promise the reward (of memories and money saved) is going to be well worth it!
In order to find places like these, you are more than likely going to have to get away from all of those “must-see” areas, and get out of the city center. I love using TripAdvisor to check out a place before going, even if it is just to make sure that it is within our budget.
Another tip on food- Manuel and I always try to eat two easy meals and one splurge per day. Typically that looks like us grabbing a quick on the go breakfast, either at the hotel if it is included, or at a local cafe or bakery. Then depending on our schedule, we will grab a casual lunch before we “splurge” on dinner. Now, that doesn’t have to mean that we spend a lot, it just means that we slow down and plan this meal out (unlike our other two which are on the go).
Try a free activity
Whenever we decide on a new destination, I google free activities first. Almost all cities have them, and if the activity isn’t free, it might come at a reduced cost if you arrive at certain times of the day, or if you book in advance online. Do your research, it will pay off!
Check out Sandeman’s Tours
We love these tours! They are great because they offer “free” tours. These tours you can tip the tour guide at the end of the tour an amount that you think reflects the tour quality. We have been on some pretty amazing tours with this company. Why are they all so good? Because if the guide doesn’t do a great job, they aren’t going to make much money!
Even though we typically end up tipping more than what it would cost to book other tours, I still recommend doing this because you are going to get more bang for your buck! Plus, their guides are great at offering free or cheap suggestions so if you can, make this tour the very first thing you do in a new place!
Pick a destination and stick to it. Your travel bill will start to add up pretty quickly if you are trying to travel from city to city constantly. Enjoy the place you are in, after all, that just means that you will get to plan another trip to your other destinations!
There you have it! Those are my suggestions on how to travel the world, on a budget!
Have other travel tips that you have found? I would love to hear them below!