Wanna travel, but don’t want to break the bank doing it? We’re in the same boat. I’ve been a student for the past twenty years (geez!), so I’ve always had to travel for the low. Cheap travel can be just as fun as any other type of travel, and it’s not as difficult as people think. Follow these tips and you can be on your way to your dream destination without going broke.
- Effortlessly save. Does your employer give you the option to transfer a part of your paycheck into another account? If so, take advantage of this. You can set it up to transfer a small amount of money into a “travel account” every pay period to save money for an upcoming trip. If you are paid twice a month and auto debit $50 per pay period into your travel account, by the end of the year you would have saved $1200 towards your trip. By using auto debit, you won’t see the money that is being transferred into your travel account, so you won’t miss it.
- Cancel an unnecessary bill. Have that Netflix account but never use it? Cancel it. Have a gym membership but haven’t seen the inside of a gym since you signed up? Cancel it. We all have subscriptions that we can do without, so why not cancel the unnecessaries and put that money towards a trip? Cable is a big bill that can be canceled and turned in to a great way to save. With Firesticks and movie streaming accounts (that you actually use!) can easily take the place of cable and save you a lot of money in the process.
- Sign up for a credit card with flight points. If you don’t have the best track record with credit cards, or don’t think you’ll have proper self-control with a line of credit, then this tip is NOT for you. However, if you don’t think overspending will be a problem, this may be a good option for you. Instead of paying for bills with your bank account, pay your bills with the credit card to rack up points and pay the balance off at the end of the month. American Express and Capital One have good travel perks. The American Express Delta Skymiles card will give you 30,000 miles if you spend a certain amount within the first month of having the card, plus you’ll always get your first checked bag for free. With the help of my Delta AmEx card, I once got a round trip ticket to Paris for only $182. You can’t beat that.
- Use Google Flights to browse flights. I rarely go directly to an airline’s page to book a flight nowadays. I like Google Flights, because it gives you different airline options and prices to choose from. It also gives recommendations for different days to fly on to save money. Google Flights offers a price calendar for you to choose your flight days based on price, if you have a flexible schedule.
- Know when to book your ticket. I never book flights on the weekends. I’ve found that flight prices are higher on the weekends than they are during the weekdays. And what they say is true: the best day to buy your plane ticket is on a Tuesday. This is because airlines start to post sales on Mondays and by Tuesday, other airlines will have followed suit. If I can avoid leaving town on a Friday or Sunday then I do. And while I haven’t discovered a magic time amount of time in advance that I should book my flight, I tend to book about four weeks ahead of time.
- Use budget airlines. Frontier and Spirit are the two budget airlines that I like to use. They are strict on their rules, but they are worth it. I end up saving tons of money on flights by utilizing these airlines. If it is your first time using a budget airline, I have written a post on navigating through Spirit to help you.
- Sign up for airlines’/travel sites’ emails. While it can be annoying to add your name to another company’s email list, it may be worth it. You’ll be among the first to know when airlines are having a sale or when sites like Groupon.com and Travelpirates.com have cheap, inclusive packages available. Trust me, the bother of the emails is worth the savings.
- Skip the hotels. It’s not necessary to stay in a hotel when you travel. There’s now Air BnB or hostels that are viable options. Air BnB is a space sharing company where people can rent out rooms or their whole homes for a variable nightly rate. Hostels are my personal favorite! They are super cheap and are a great way to meet other travelers. If you’re going to be traveling for a while, some hostels will exchange free board for your working there, so you stay for free! If you’re nervous about staying in a hostel, check out this post to read about why I think they’re so awesome.
- Be flexible. We all have our lists of places that we want to go and will go one day, but some of those destinations may be out of reach if you’re on a budget. The key is to be flexible. There may be an inexpensive destination that you have never considered that fits in your budget more than the destination that you have in mind. Why not take it? You’d be going to a new place and you’ll probably end up having just as good of a time as you would have had in the other place. Also, be flexible with your travel dates, if you can. Instead of leaving for the trip on a Friday, why not leave on Thursday when the flights are cheaper? Flexibility is key when you’re traveling on a budget.
You don’t have to be rich to travel! Traveling on a budget just takes a little time, patience, and planning. Do you travel on a budget? What are some of your best tips? Contact me and let me know!