Traveling has a lot of benefits, whether you’re going to another state or another country. It can broaden your horizons, introduce you to different cultures and even improve your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, traveling is also expensive, and if you don’t have a lot of extra money you might balk at spending it on a trip.
However, just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean there’s no way to travel. There are several travel hacks that will help you save money on traveling expenses, whether you’re in your 20s and just starting your career or want to travel with your family.
Here’s how to Travel on a Budget
Plan in Advance
The biggest secret of traveling on a budget is planning your trip out as far in advance as possible. This means figuring out vacation goals like where you want to go, how long you’ll be at your destination and what you’ll do while you’re there.
Your biggest asset in planning early is going to be your vacation budget. It’s similar to a monthly budget, except your vacation budget will contain all the expenses you expect to incur on your trip, such as:
- Air fare
- Campsite fees
- Event costs
Once you’ve listed all the expenses you expect to incur, add them up to get the total cost of your trip. (You might also want to add an additional 10% of that number to the total, just to be on the safe side.)
If you’re comfortable with that total, all you need to do is put a plan in place to make sure you have that money saved by the time you plan to go on your trip. On the other hand, if the trip is too expensive, you can search for discounts and alternate travel plans that will help you keep costs down.
Of course, starting early will also help you get better prices on items like airplane tickets and hotels, both of which usually have lower rates for people who buy earlier.
Create your travel budget today!
Travel During the Off-Season
When you plan to travel can make a huge difference on the price of your vacation. Companies tend to charge a lot more during popular tourist seasons, and less during times when there are less tourists, also known as the off-season. If you can manage to schedule your vacation during the off-season, you’ll save quite a bit of money.
While there usually aren’t any official off-season dates, it’s not hard to figure out what they are. You won’t see many beach-goers in Florida from September to April, and towns known for their ski lodges aren’t very busy in the summer.
If you do want to take advantage of seasonal activities, though, you can also try to book your trip during the shoulder seasons. These are the first and last couple of weeks in the tourist season, and they’re usually not as expensive. Just be aware that you do have a higher risk of the weather not cooperating with your plans, like a cold snap hitting Daytona Beach.
Be Creative With Accommodations
It’s always nice to have a hotel you can come back to at the end of a long day having fun, but cheaper options are available. For instance, you might be able to find a less expensive place to stay at a site like Airbnb or Vrbo . If you’re not averse to the great outdoors, you might even want to pitch a tent at a nearby campsite and spend the night there.
You might also want to look for hostels, especially if you’re a college student or in your 20s. A hostel offers travelers a bed and a space for personal items in a dorm-like setting. Not only is this a great way to save money, you might also get the chance to meet some fellow travelers.
Use Public Transport
Buses and trains are cheaper than taxis, rideshares and renting a car. You might also want to consider walking if possible, since it will really give you the opportunity to get away from the tourist locales and let you experience the area.
Cook for Yourself
Eating out every day can be a lot of fun, but it also drains money like nobody’s business. You can save a lot of money by buying groceries from a local store and either eating in your hotel or hostel or having a picnic outdoors.
Questions about saving money while traveling? Ask us!
Have a Great Trip with First Alliance Credit Union
If you’re trying to travel on a budget, there are a lot of tricks you can use to keep costs down. Planning ahead will help you come up with an affordable vacation budget, and you can travel during the off-season or shoulder-season to get discounts on everything from air tickets to hotels. You can also look for cheaper accommodations, and cook for yourself to save money.
You can also save money on traveling when you become a member of First Alliance Credit Union. You can use our SMART goal planner to figure out how to save for your trip, open up a separate vacation savings account where you can set aside money and track your progress on our online banking platform and mobile app. Your goals, made possible.