6 Travel Tips for the Budget Friendly Traveler
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We all say we want to travel, but how many of us actually do? We always find some excuse to not make it work. We either have school or work that can't be missed, but, my personal favorite would be that we can't afford it. "It's too expensive!" "I can't afford to spend $1,000 on a plane ticket!" "How am I supposed to travel the world when tickets are $900?" (This is actually something I have said in the past, Twitter I look to you when I need to vent about plane ticket prices.) But that travel myth is about to be busted.
But here's the glorious thing about traveling. It DOESN'T have to be that expensive. That's a myth all in itself. If you want to travel the world, the only real excuse you have is the one you give yourself, because traveling can be cheap.
If we check out the three most expensive parts of traveling, it's usually narrowed down to these: Airfare, Hotels, and Food. So let's get started.
Airfare is a killer when it comes to traveling, and usually the reason people don't travel. But what many of us forget is that although airfare is the number one item that costs the most when traveling, you typically pay it months in advance, which gives you more time to save up for other things, such as food, site-seeing, etc. But who doesn't love a cheap ticket? In order to obtain a cheap airfare ticket, you have to follow just a few guidelines.
Be Flexible With Your Dates
By being flexible with your dates, you are allowing yourself to pick the cheapest days to fly, which usually are Wednesdays. Don't take off any work until you are sure that you have found the best days to fly. You can save hundreds by doing this.
In one quick search, I found that flights from LAX to CDG (Paris) from Sunday-Sunday were $1,023. But when you change the dates to Wednesday-Wednesday, they were $829. That's almost $200 saved just from changing the dates by a few days. Flexibility is key when traveling on a budget.
For those of you in the West United States, I actually have found a great tool for tracking flights. One of my favorite Instagram accounts is one that posts great travel deals all around the world. She has multiple accounts all for different little parts of the U.S., and if you happen to be within one of her locations, I highly suggest following her and turning on post notifications. Her different location are, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, as well as a community page sharing her follower's trips! I was able to get a $400 round trip ticket to Paris because of these accounts, so if you're in that area, definitely give her a follow, she is a lifesaver. Not to mention, I had NO IDEA where I wanted to travel to, and seeing her posts daily about the best flight deals was a great way for me to figure out where I wanted to go, and what I could afford. She only posts prices that are cheaper than usual, so you won't be bombarded with flights to California for $300 because that is NOT a steal.
Google Flights is Your Best Friend
My favorite tool for finding cheap flights is Google Flights. While we all have a preference for which airline we prefer, if you want a cheap flight, you can't go to one airline, such as Delta, and expect to get the best offer. From the previous example above, on the Wednesday-Wednesday flight, if you flew on Norwegian Airlines, it is $829, but if you flew on Delta, it is $900. That is another $70 saved! Google Flights is simpler than you would think. It has a calendar option that will show you the best prices for each day and will let you look at multiple destinations all across a country.
When you go to Google Flights, you will immediately see this. You can decide round-trip, one-way, etc, and it will show your previous destinations as well. One of the other great features is the Discover destinations. You can put in your dates, a continent, and interests, and it will pull up tons of places with prices for those dates.
Fly to a Different Destination
One of my favorite tips is to fly to a different destination, and then take a more local flight to where you truly want to be. For my trip to Paris, I had researched the cheapest places to fly and ended up booking a flight to Paris, and from Paris, I will take a local European flight to Rome, which was much cheaper than flying directly to Rome at that time of year. Using the previous example. A flight to Paris was $829, but when flying to Rome, it is $1031. If you were to fly to Paris for $829 and then take a local flight to Rome for $103, you would save around $100. Local European airlines can save you hundreds when flying inside of Europe. The goal is to get to Europe for as cheap as possible, and then either take a train or flight to your actual destination. While many think that trains would be the cheapest way, on occasion, a flight is much cheaper, some of which I've seen for $40, while a train is around $60.
The second biggest killer when traveling is paying for hotels. This is one of those that I swear I forget about every time I'm planning to travel. One of the things I constantly have to remind myself is that I will only be staying there to sleep, it's simply a roof over my head and a place to leave my bags, it doesn't have to be luxurious (unless of course, you WILL be there all the time.)
Hostels are a Cheap Go-To
If you're planning a trip to Europe or Asia, hostels are a great place to stay if you're looking for the cheapest route and don't mind sharing a room. Hostels have had a bad rap but have recently become much safer, and better for tourists and it is a great way to meet other travelers!
AirBnB is The Luxury Version of Hostels
My personal favorite way to book places to stay is AirBnB. I'm sure many, if not all of you have heard of it, and it really is as great as everyone says it is. I prefer AirBnB over hostels because I prefer to have a room to myself, instead of sharing one with other travelers. It is a great way to book entire homes for cheap, especially if you are traveling in a large group. If you haven't signed up, you can sign up here and you'll receive a $40 travel credit!
I was able to book an entire home for 3 nights in Rome for $180. A steal right? That's what it would cost for one night in a hotel!
Food in other countries, such as the United States, Europe, or Australia, can be expensive. If you're wanting to save money on food, and don't mind not eating out all the time, your best bet is to grocery shop and stay somewhere with a kitchen.
Eat Breakfast at Your Hotel
An extremely easy way to save on food is to eat breakfast at "home." Breakfast is an extremely simple meal to make anywhere, including a hotel room. If you're able to have access to a fridge, all you need is milk and cereal, (probably $8 total) and you've saved tons, just by that. Personally, breakfast is one of those meals that I don't mind eating at home (unless I'm in Paris, croissants, hello!)
I personally love to eat out when I'm traveling, getting to experience cuisine in different countries is one of the highlights of traveling, and I like to save for that. I'll sacrifice a new shirt if I get to eat some dang good food.
Now On to You Guys:
What are your favorite travel tips? Do you have some ideas on how to save money traveling that weren't listed? And what places are on your travel bucket list, mine would have to be Greece, and Spain (so I can practice my high school Spanish that I don't actually remember.)
And stay tuned for Paris and Rome travel tips coming soon!
Love the map in this photo? So do I! A big thanks to Kunst In Kaart for their generosity and sending me this map! If you'd like to check them out, you can click here, and if you don't see your city, they take free requests as well!
Don't forget to save this post as I will be updating it frequently!