It seems traveling is on the top of everyone’s bucket list. You can’t open Instagram without seeing someone fulfilling their travel dreams. Seeing everyone else jet setting for paradise when you’re stuck at home is disheartening.
The good news is everyone can afford to travel! Whether you want to travel within the US or internationally, here are 10 cheap travel tips.
1. Travel in the Offseason
Depending on where you go, you’d be surprised how much money you can save on airfare and lodging by simply avoiding the crowds. Many people put off their vacations for the summer when school is out and the sun is shining. However, some of the best times to travel are actually in the fall and winter.
Once school is back in session in the fall, the weather is cooler and the crowds are smaller. You can experience beautiful fall foliage, perfect cool weather, and local festivities. Flights are hundreds of dollars cheaper, and hotels are easier to book.
2. Be Flexible With Your Dates
Along with traveling in the offseason, if you want the best flight deals, you have to be flexible. You will most likely get the best deal by flying out on a Tuesday or Thursday, rather than on a weekend day. There are several travel websites and apps that let you watch deals for specific locations. One travel site is Hopper. With this app, you can set your preferred trip route, and they will send you notifications when deals arise.
Again, you’ll have to be flexible with dates and times. Getting a good deal might mean leaving in the middle of the night or having a long layover. However, the discounted rate is usually worth it.
3. Book on Budget Airlines
Flying economy on a budget airline can be a very cheap alternative to flying on a more mainstream airline. These flights are cheap for a reason, but usually, it’s not that big of a deal. Seats on a budget airline are typically smaller and don’t expect a meal or snack with your flight.
With these, look out for hidden fees. Some cheap airlines will charge you for a carryon, unlike other major airlines. The solution to this is to either pack very light (you can use a strategically designed backpack) or incorporate that cost into your budget.
4. Stay in Hotel Alternatives
Depending on the time of year you’re traveling, a hotel might be the cheapest option. However, if you’re having a hard time finding lodging in your budget, don’t forget to check local hostels or Airbnb.
Most hostels offer a themed experience all of their own. Depending on what you need, you can go the cheapest route, and share a bunk with someone, or you can get a private room for half the price of a hotel.
AirBnbs and hostels are also a good place to meet other travelers or locals who may have some tips of their own to share with you.
Often times, these hotel alternatives will make for an even more memorable vacation!
5. Don’t Eat Out for Every Meal
When you’re in a new place, it can be tempting to try every single restaurant that looks good. If you’re on a budget, those expenses can add up. Instead of eating out for breakfast lunch and dinner, explore less expensive options.
- Check to see if where you’re staying has free breakfast.
- Stay somewhere with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals.
- Pack snacks when you’re exploring.
- Try street food (but make sure they have a good health rating first!)
6. Do What the Locals Do
Typically, locals don’t spend a lot of money on attractions and eateries. But, they still have fun. Look on local forums to see what people who live there do with their free time in the area. By doing this, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also get to experience the area in a way most people don’t.
7. Travel to Places Where the US Dollar Is Stronger
If you’re traveling internationally, consider foreign exchange rates. In some places, you can actually make your money go much further. For example, many places in South America and Asia are exceptionally cheaper than US or European destinations. For example, right now the US dollar equals 21.34 Mexican Pesos. Now that’s getting a bang for your buck.
8. Travel With Friends
Taking on the costs of lodging and transportation by yourself is a lot. To save money, travel with a group. That way, you can split the costs of hotels or Airbnbs. If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, you can split the cost of groceries with the group. Many excursions also have group rates for if you have a certain amount of people.
9. Use Public Transportation
Taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts can really add up in cost. Instead of paying for rideshares, many times you can save money by taking busses and trains. Some cities even have traveler deals for a weekend or week-long public transport passes.
Not only will taking public transportation to save you money, but you’ll also get to hang with the locals and see the sights in a new way.
10. Save on Airport Parking
Finally, instead of paying for expensive parking at the airport, explore more budget-friendly options. For example, we offer free shuttles to the airport from our parking lots, luggage assistance, and 24-hour security. You shouldn’t have to spend half of your travel budget for parking your car.
Did These Cheap Travel Tips Help?
Hopefully, you’ve found yourself more inspired and motivated that you can afford that dream vacation. The average American spends about $1,200 on travel every year, but that doesn’t have to be you. The smart traveler follow these cheap travel tips, and spends half that amount yet experiences twice as much!
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