Ever wondered how to travel more, even if you’re on a tight budget?
If so, I got you covered.
See, I believe that anyone who has the desire and ability to travel should do just that. It shouldn’t matter your age, ethnicity, familial status – and most importantly – your budget.
Many of us don’t travel much, because we don’t believe that we can afford to travel. Or blame our lack of travel to the fact that we don’t have enough vacation days to do so.
Budget-Friendly Tips on How to Travel More
You can travel more if you want to and it doesn’t matter how much money you have either. Yes, a Disney vacation is great every once in awhile, but you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to explore the world (or even your country for that matter).
If you want to add travel to your bucket list, here are a few tips I figured could help you to determine how to travel more.
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Explore Your Own Backyard
When I was a teacher, I couldn’t believe how many students had never visited any of the tourist attractions in our city. What was even crazier? Many of the adults who grew up in the surrounding areas knew less about their city than someone traveling as a tourist.
When time and money is short, consider exploring your city first. I live near Washington, DC, so there are so many exciting attractions that anyone, no matter their tastes for art, culture, or food will inevitably find something to do.
You can save up to 35% off of attractions from several cities in the US and Canada by grabbing a CityPass.
If you are unsure of what lies within your local area, consider picking up a travel guide. When there is a place I’m interested in going to, I’ll grab one to find free and affordable things to do.
You can purchase one like this from Amazon, but if you contact the tourism department in your city, they usually have guides you can download online or have mailed to you for free.
Plan Shorter Trips
Many of us would love to get away for a week or two, but realistically this is not always possible. Besides, there are times when I can only take so much of my family…and thinking about being stuck with them for a week makes me pull out my hair.
Just joking (but not really).
If this is you, consider a shorter trip to somewhere you can get to in a few hours by car, train, or plane. Going outside of town will feel like a vacation in itself and you will save money for hotel stays (three nights vs seven).
If time and money are really limited, consider planning a day trip. My family once planned an impromptu trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Our 2 1/2 hour drive was enough for a mini vacay experience.
We spent the day exploring activities to fit three generations and we didn’t spend a lot of money. Do some research and use this cute travel planner from Erin Condren to map out your trip.
Every vacation spot has an off-season, which is basically the time when rates and crowds are at their lowest. This is the when you should schedule a vacation – when at all possible.
I try to avoid the beach in the dead of summer and tend to wait to go when the kids are back in school. The hotels on the beach will usually drop their rates during the off-season, mostly because they’re in less demand. You can literally save hundreds on a one night stay at a hotel by visiting during their off-peak times.
It’s better to sell a discounted room than to leave it vacant.
No one says you have to only travel during the summer months. Your local off-season may be different for someone else’s so do your research. You’ll find that you’ll be able to save a lot of money on travel when you do it when most people are at home.
Compare off-season rates on Priceline.
Be Flexible With Travel Dates
If you have a flexible schedule, be on the lookout for last minute deals. You’ll find that airlines and hotels will get rid of empty spots at discounted rates during this time. Check out the Daily Deals section on Skyscanner and you may be able to find discounted deals.
How flexible should you be? Instead of picking the days, let the deals tell you when and where to plan. You’ll save hundreds of dollars by letting these last-minute deals plan your vacation.
On Kiwi, I found a roundtrip flight from DC to Atlanta for $88 by checking their calendar. Moving my travel dates over a day or two, saved me hundreds on airfare.
Travel During the Week
I work mostly at home, so my schedule is quite flexible. When traveling, I try to schedule my vacation during the week, because prices are usually lowest during this time.
And…I know that most people are traveling on the weekends, so vacation destinations tend to be less crowded during this time. Another nice fact, hotels will usually drop their prices during the week because they will have vacancies they will want to fill.
Save money and fight the crowds by traveling during the week.
Plan Your Meals in Advance
Food can be a huge budget buster if you let it. Planning where you’re going to eat while on vacation will help you to better manage the amount you will spend on food. You can set a daily budget and find restaurants that allow you to stay within it.
You can pocket the money you save or put it towards fun excursions.
Another way to save money on food is to go to the grocery store and pack your own snacks and lunch. Look for hotels that offer free breakfast and eat a hearty meal. You can often collect fruit and snacks to pack with you while you’re out exploring.
My family tends to eat out during a restaurant’s lunch hours while on vacation. Not only do we save money, but if we’re hungry later on we can just get a snack (that we purchased earlier from the grocery store).
Not in a hurry to get where you’re going? Look for late and overnight transportation. You can avoid hotel costs by securing late travel and sleeping on the plane or train.
I know some people who opt to sleep at airports, but I would caution against this. Some airports aren’t open 24 hours, so if you’re using this as an option, make sure the airport will be open. It’s not a great feeling to be kicked out in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar city.
Unless you can find a super deal, I would recommend forgoing a hotel altogether. You may be able to find more affordable accommodations if you find a house through Airbnb or Homeaway. You’ll be amazed at the level of comfort you can get for less than the cost of staying at a hotel.
My extended family and I met in Myrtle Beach and stayed in a house for less than $500 a family from Airbnb for the week. Not only did we save on a huge and great house, but we were in an exclusive community close to the beach.
Another option is to look into a hostel. Depending on where you travel, you may be able to find a decent hostel that is not only affordable but near popular attractions. Some hostels have private rooms and are family-friendly, so do your research.
Stay Outside of Town
Just because you want to visit a popular area during a high peak time, doesn’t mean you can’t save money. Though you will save money going during off-peak, you can save big by staying in a nearby city.
Visiting Disney World? Instead of staying in Orlando, consider finding a rental in Kissimmee. Staying in the DC suburbs will save you money, versus staying within the city. The robust rail system makes the city easy to reach and will keep more dollars in your pockets.
Compare Transportation Prices
If you travel by plane or train, then you will undoubtedly need transportation while you’re out. You could rent a car, but is that the most cost-effective way to travel?
You may save money by using an Uber or Lyft, instead of paying for a rental car. Even public transportation may be cheap and give you more of an opportunity to explore the area and get to attractions without spending a lot of money.
Plan out your trip and events. If you find that the car will be parked most of the time, skip the rental car altogether.
Start a Savings Fund
One way to not stress over having enough money to travel is to start saving throughout the year.
I used to have a jar where I threw all of my loose change. Whenever the jar would fill up, I would just deposit it into a savings account designated as my “Get Out of Dodge” fund. This method helped me to pay for a cruise with my girlfriends.
Have a hard time saving money? Consider signing up for Digit. This money-saving app will save for you automatically. It’s free for the first 100 days and then only $2.99 a month thereafter.
Saving for money will help you to not feel as if you’re taking money in your budget set aside for bills.
There are people who travel away from home for extended periods of time and don’t like to keep their homes empty. They will often hire a housesitter to look after their home while they’re away.
If you’re looking to save money on accommodations, consider housesitting for someone. Your responsibilities will vary, but you’re most likely will be there to make the house look “lived in”. Many of the people who are looking for housesitters often have pets, so if you’re not pet-friendly, look for homes without them or consider something else.
Find housekeeping opportunities on Housecarers, which match house sitters with homeowners throughout the world.
Make Money on the Road
One of the best ways to afford to travel is to earn money online. There are many people who have become location independent and work from their laptop. Though you could ask your current employer for a telecommuting position, you could work for yourself.
Blogging is a great way to make money without having to go into an office and can pay for your travel. Go to my Start a Blog page to see how you can get started.
There are many opportunities out there to work online and make money to afford travel. Some long-term travelers freelance write, teach others English, and design websites to support themselves.
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My goal is to show you all how to travel more without spending a lot of money. I’m taking away all of your excuses. Start packing!