One of the top reasons I hear for why a person doesn't travel more is that they feel they don't have enough money to do so. However, it's very possible to travel on a budget and still have a great time!
Many people think that they need to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars in order to have a good vacation, and/or that vacations are only for those with high incomes.
Well, that's simply not true.
I know many people who successfully travel on low incomes, travel for free, travel for cheap, and more – and yes, they have a great time even when budgeting!
And, you can do it too. Yes, you can go on an amazing trip and still travel on a budget. It may take a little bit of effort and planning, but it can be well worth it in the end.
By finding ways to travel on a budget, you can go on a stress free vacation and not have to worry about money. This makes a vacation much more enjoyable, because who wants to think about money when they are trying to relax?
Here is how you can travel on a budget!
Sleep on people's couches.
I've never couch surfed, but I know a few people who have couchsurfed in order to travel on a budget, including my sister.
Couchsurfing is great because you can get a free place to stay, while meeting cool and friendly locals.
With couchsurfing, sometimes you'll sleep on a couch, perhaps in a separate bedroom, or some other arrangement that you'll know about beforehand.
You can try Couchsurfing out for free here.
Stay in hostels to travel on a budget.
Hostels are great for budget travel. They are usually quite affordable, and you can often find hostels for less than $20 a night depending on where you're traveling to.
My mother is over 60 and lately she has been traveling all around the world. In the past year she's gone to Switzerland, Canada, Korea, all over the U.S., Europe several times, and more. And, she has stayed in a hostel or couch surfed almost every single time. My sister often jokes that my mom has more couch surfing reviews than the average person.
Be flexible with your flight.
Have you heard of someone getting an insanely good deal on an international round trip flight and you just couldn't believe it?
Yes, those $300 roundtrip tickets to Europe actually do exist!
To save the most money on your next trip, one of the best places to start is to look at ways to save money on your flight.
My favorite way to save on airfare is to go to SkyScanner, enter your “From” destination as wherever you plan on flying from, and then for your arrival destination click “Search Everywhere.” You can see this below:
Then for your departing and returning dates, choose “Whole Month ” and then “Cheapest Month.” Here's how to do that below:
This shows you tons of places to go to and on the cheapest budget.
Join Facebook travel groups to find the best deals.
I'm a huge fan of travel-related Facebook groups. I love hearing about the amazing places that people travel to, and they often share great deals, such as limited time flash sales. Flash sales are a GREAT way to save money on travel, and without Facebook travel groups and other places where people share deals, it would be quite difficult to ever find out about them.
My two favorite travel-related Facebook groups are:
- Girls Love Travel – This is a travel group for females, and it's probably the fastest growing Facebook group. In just about a year the group has grown to over 160,000 very active members. There are often amazing flights deals posted here, and one that was recently shared was a $400 roundtrip flight to New Zealand.
- Frugal Travel with Holly Johnson – If you want to travel on a budget, then this is a great Facebook group to join. This group was created by my friend Holly, who is a travel and credit card rewards expert. This group is more about budget travel through credit cards bonuses.
Travel in the mid or off season.
Traveling during the peak season is almost always going to cost you more than if you traveled to a destination during the mid or off season.
I like traveling in the mid season because the weather is usually similar to the peak season, also it’s usually less crowded and cheaper.
It’s less expensive to travel in the mid or off season because it's a little harder for hotels, transportation companies, and so on to sell their services and products when not as many people are wanting them. To find the best budget travel deals, looking at off season travel may be the best idea.
Make money while you travel.
Yes, you can make money while you travel! This is more suited for people who want to travel for extended periods of time or even full-time.
Making money while you travel will only help you to fund your vacations.
You can do things such as:
- Run a website.
- Au pair.
- Find a job in the places you are visiting.
- Freelance write or become a virtual assistant.
- Sell products.
- Earn passive income.
- Work remotely.
Learn more at Make Money While Traveling – Yes, It’s Possible!
Work for an airline to travel on a budget.
My dad worked for an airline nearly his whole life, right until he passed away.
Due to that, we always had free or super cheap flights, most of the time in first class. This was a huge perk of his career, and many other people who work for airlines get this perk as well.
Earn free budget vacations by using credit cards.
If you can trust yourself to use credit cards to their advantage while not going into credit card debt, then you can use them to earn really, REALLY cheap travel. If you don't believe me, I recommend reading this – How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included.
Yes, it's actually possible to go to Hawaii for less than $25 – all by using credit cards and gaining sign up bonuses and other points through them.
Credit card points can be used towards many different things, such as free flights, hotel stays, cash back, and more.
Each month, I put nearly all of my expenses on credit cards, which turns into points that I can use. AND, I don't pay a penny towards interest or credit card charges because I always pay my credit card balance in full each month. I use my credit card as though it's cash – I do it all for the points!
Click here to check out the best travel credit cards.
Fly with a budget airline.
You've probably searched for flights and have seen huge price differences. Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit tend to offer super cheap pricing, like unbelievably cheap plane tickets. A ticket on a normal airline may be $200+ each way, and the low-cost airlines may only cost $40.
Examples of random flights I found through budget airlines:
- Austin, Texas to San Juan, Puerto Rico for $70 on Spirit Airlines.
- Fort Lauderdale to Cincinnati for $48 on Allegiant Airlines.
- Los Angeles to Las Vegas for $25 on Frontier Airlines.
Housesit to travel on a budget.
Housesitting is becoming very popular these days, and there is usually a big demand for reliable housesitters with positive past reviews.
We even know of a couple who have their house on a housesitting website, and they often have housesitters, so I know it's a real thing!
Find cheap travel destinations to travel on a budget.
Some travel destinations will be much cheaper than others. Due to this, you may want to research what cheap travel destinations are out there and which ones you may be interested in so that you can save the most amount of money!
Stay in an Airbnb for a better travel budget.
Whenever we go on a trip that we don't bring our RV, we almost always stay in a short-term rental that we find on Airbnb.
An Airbnb is occasionally someone's home, but I've found that most of the time they are just vacation rentals that a person is renting out.
I enjoy Airbnbs over normal hotels when I'm on vacation, because there is usually much more room, a backyard (a huge plus since we usually travel with our dogs), a kitchen, they are great for when traveling on a budget, and more. An Airbnb is usually very beneficial if you're traveling with a big group. You can split the cost of a larger space with numerous people, which can make it often cheaper than a hotel.
If you sign up for Airbnb, you will receive a $35 Airbnb coupon for your next stay. This Airbnb coupon does not expire, so you can just sign up and it will save to your account for when you plan a trip in the future.
Sign up for a hotel’s loyalty card.
No matter where we stay, we always sign up for a hotel’s loyalty card so that we can earn free hotel stays for the future. This allows you to accrue points on the hotel’s member card (they are usually completely free) and accrue points on your credit card as well (if you can use credit cards responsibly). I have earned free hotel stays this way, and it’s always nice to earn double the points.
So, even if you book on a hotel discount site such as Booking.com, you can still use the hotel’s loyalty card. Don’t forget that!
There are also other benefits to signing up for these cards. Sometimes you can score free hotel room upgrades, early check ins, late checkouts, additional discounts, and more.
Be flexible with the dates for your stay.
A flexible schedule can save you a decent amount when booking where you will sleep. Staying on the weekends will usually be more expensive, and choosing a destination’s high season will most likely cost you more money as well.
If you can, you may want to do some research and see what the accommodation rate is when just changing the date by a day, a week, or more. This is an important money saving tip and can possibly save you hundreds of dollars on your vacation.
I once looked at a hotel that charged over $300 a night for a room, and just a few weeks later they had the same room for less than $50 a night. That is a HUGE difference for the same exact room.
Ask for a discount to travel on a budget.
My last vacation money saving tip on your stay is to simply ask for a discount. When you are looking at hotels, motels, short-term rentals, and more, simply ask if there are any discounts available. I usually book my trips at the last moment, and asking for a discount usually works for me because places are trying to fill up any remaining rooms.
Sometimes asking for a discount will work, other times it does not. It’s just a simple “Are there any available discounts I can receive?”
The worst that can happen is that they say no. The best is that they'll say yes!
Find cheaper ways to get around locally.
Once I get to my destination, my favorite way to travel is to use Uber. It's usually much cheaper than a taxi, which helps to travel on a budget.
Uber is a ridesharing company similar to a taxi service. Uber uses a phone app (I LOVE how easy their app is to use) so that passengers can easily find an Uber for their next ride.
All you need to do is open the app on your phone and request a ride. You can then see who will be picking you up, how long it will take the driver to get to you, and more. It makes finding a ride very easy.
You can read more about Uber at My Review of Uber and How To Get Your First Ride For Free. Also, by using the coupon code “kimmies8” or by signing up through this link, you can get $20 off your first Uber ride. So, if your Uber ride is $20 or less, then it's completely free! Note: The dollar amount varies from time to time.
Hitchhike (but be safe).
Okay, so this may be frowned upon in some areas and by some people, but this can be a way to get around if you're safe and know what you're doing.
Hitchhiking is somewhat common in popular hiking areas and in some parts of the world.
When my husband and his friend went to hike the Colorado Trail in Colorado, they hitchhiked because there were no taxis. The person who picked them up was on the cell phone the whole time, and when he finally got off the phone he told them that many people hitchhiked in Colorado to get from a hiking spot back to their car.
Use your student ID to travel on a budget.
If you have a student ID, then you should definitely use it while traveling! This can get you discounts on many different things, such as attractions, transportation, food, clothing, and more.
A discount can help you to save more money and travel on a budget, of course!
Eat like a local to travel on a budget.
Eating like a local is the best way to dine while traveling, as you can save money most of the time and have a more authentic vacation experience.
Buy groceries and eat out less for budget travel.
Yes, it can be fun and even a little more relaxing to eat out when traveling to a new place. However, you can save a little bit of money by eating in at least once a day, especially if you're not going to get something local or special anyways.
You can easily save money by eating out one less time each day on your vacation by just buying groceries and making a meal where you're staying.
I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to travel on a budget! What other budget travel tips do you have to share?
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