Like many of us, I love to travel and don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like. Most of my traveling for pleasure is linked up to an event (like, say, a wedding for a coworker in Northern Cali. Thanks for that incentive, Megan!). It’s always interesting when I meet people who don’t have any interest in traveling at all. I guess it’s just one of those things that hits for some and not for others.
For most of us with a regular job, a family, a busy life, and not enough money, travel can seem pretty out of reach. But if you’ve decided to make traveling a priority in your life (which is the trick!), these are the travel tips to save money that can help you get there.
Make travel a priority
Traveling is almost never free, so to actually make it feasible for most budgets, you’ll have to start thinking of it as a priority. If you’re making your budget and can handle giving up something else (new clothes, eating out more), that extra savings can go straight into your travel budget.
There’s totally nothing wrong with liking more stuff (I personally love having stuff!), but know that travel might make you choose between them sometimes. One tip is to have a travel savings account that you are funding consistently and make a trade-off to fund it. Maybe it’s nixing the daily Starbucks in favor of coffee at home or a lower phone plan.
Look for bonuses to make travel more affordable
Your job, AAA, credit card points, and more can make traveling more accessible. If you’re a student, check out sites like STA Travel and Student Universe for cheap travel deals and tips for students only.
Look closer to home
If international travel just isn’t doable, budget-wise, look for avenues closer to home. See if you can crash with some friends and explore another city. See if there’s a work conference in a city you’d like to visit that your job could help fund. Or do some research on your general area to see what haunts you haven’t yet haunted. Trips don’t have to be huge to be awesome.
Travel by train or bus
It’s not a good time to be an airline these days, as I’m sure you already know. They’re also super expensive most of the time. If you’re traveling over land and not sea, consider giving trains and buses a shot. Bus companies like Megabus, Boltbus, and RedCoach and many trains are available in most major cities and can get you a scenic route to where you’re heading.
Look for local street food and produce
Not only will local food stands and markets save you some money, but, depending on where you are, you’ll find some of the most interesting foods that aren’t available in your hometown. We forget that other areas of the world have climates that grow dramatically different types of produce, so try them! Better yet, buy a bag of whatever looks interesting and go have a picnic/taste test.
Load up on freebies when you can
If your hotel or rented room has a free breakfast, eat heartily in the morning to make it last until dinner. When you’re booking your hotel/AirBnB/hostel, look to see which has free internet and other amenities. A concierge can be immensely helpful.
Check out if there are any free national parks and local museums you can visit, too.
Use online apps to find deals
Apps like Hopper and Skyscanner and sites like Momondo can give you a leg up in finding the best deals for travel. Sign up for deal alerts, too, and be open to time-flexible deals if your job and lifestyle allow for it.