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23 Of The Best Budget Travel Tips For Cheap Vacations

Have you ever looked at your bank account and reconsidered traveling because you simply cannot afford it in today’s economy? 

You may think that traveling is expensive, but what if I told you that these 23 budget travel tips can help you save money on your next vacation?

I have personally used many of these budgeting tips when I traveled, so I am confident that they will work for you too! 

With these awesome budget travel tips, you can explore the world without breaking the bank!  

Budget Travel Tips While Planning Your Trip 

1. Consider Where You Travel

It may seem obvious, but some countries are more expensive than others. While this should not stop you from traveling to a place that you really want to explore, if you’re on a tight budget, then you should look into the cheapest places to travel across the world. These popular destinations offer cheap destinations for as little money as $32 a day!

If your travel budget is extremely limited, then consider where you travel and look for places that align with your budget. 

2. Book Things In Advance

This should not act as a surprise. But booking early things can save you a significant amount of money.

Whether it’s your flights or accommodations, prices usually increase as the availability decreases.

Meaning if you want to travel on a budget, book your flights at least 90 days in advance, so you can enjoy lower prices on your flight costs. 

So start planning your next trip now and secure the best deals!

3. Travel During The Low Season

As you travel during the off season, you can enjoy significantly lower prices throughout your travels. From paying less on your flights to hotel stays, you can enjoy huge savings.

Plus when you travel off season, you will avoid the overcrowded attractions and may even have a more enjoyable experience.  

Budget Travel Tips For Accommodations

4. Swap Hotels for Hostels

Hostels can offer a rich experience at a fraction of the price. Especially if you are traveling solo and want to meet other travelers, using a hostel is a great way to connect with others while maintaining your travel budget. 

If you’re traveling with your partner or family, you can book a private room which may still be cheaper than a hotel room. 

I have personally stayed at hostels that were even better than some hotel rooms. And I know some travelers even swear by using hostels due to their comfortability, and luxurious accommodations while maintaining their affordability. 

5. Consider Long-Term Stays for Discounts

If you’re planning to stay in one place for a few weeks, look for accommodations or vacation rentals that offer discounts for extended stays.

If you simply call your hotel or hostel, they may reduce your overall nightly rate if you book for a week or more. 

Budget Travel Tips For Transportation

Budget travel tips for transportation image

6. Pack Light and Avoid Extra Fees

Overpacking can be a real budget killer! So do yourself the favor and make sure to pack light and only what you need. 

For minimalist travelers, if you just use a personal carry-on bag, you can save money upwards of $50-$100 each way, instead of paying to check in your luggage. 

If you must check your luggage, then double-check the airline weight limits and stay within your means. If you go over by even a pound, you will pay for these expected fees, meaning less money in your pocket!

So by packing light, you don’t have to worry about carrying your luggage and you can avoid those pesky baggage fees. Your travel budget (and your shoulders) will thank you!

7. Travel Overnight

Booking an overnight flight or train means you are essentially saving money on a night’s hotel room while only paying for your transportation costs! 

Not only that, but the price of your ticket may be significantly lower as overnight travel is less desirable and there is more availability (meaning more savings for you!). 

As you save more money by embracing overnight travel, you can simply wake up the next day in your intended destination ready for the adventures ahead! 

8. Use Flight Comparison Tools

Before you hit that “book now” button, make sure you’ve done your research. 

Tools like Skyscanner or Google Flights are designed to be your best friends when it comes to searching the best flight deals. 

Even taking a few minutes to research competitors’ prices can mean saving significant money compared to the original flight costs for you.

9. Opt for Layover Flights

Check if having a layover flight can save you some money. This can help you save additional money while allowing you to explore a new city! 

If you live in a densely populated area with multiple airports, check the price of flights within each nearby airport. Even if you have to drive 30 minutes to the next airport, you might be able to save hundreds of dollars for a similar flight. This is a great way to save money if you’re traveling with your family or with a big group.  

10. Use Public Transportation

Ditch the pricey rental cars and hop onto the local bus or train for a fraction of the cost.  

Think about it, a rental car can cost you hundreds of dollars a day, but traveling by bus would probably cost you only a little money each way. 

If you’re traveling across the country, then you can travel by train and enjoy the views of the countryside instead of worrying about the road trip ahead of you. During this downtime, you can relax, catch up on work, or binge-watch your favorite TV.

This is much better (and cheaper) than navigating your way to a foreign country and paying for local gas!  

By using public transportation can you sit back and enjoy the views while immersing yourself in the daily life of the place you’re visiting. Plus, you will be lowering your carbon footprint, allowing you to travel more sustainably

11. Use Loyalty Programs and Points

If you’re always on the move, then this one is a no-brainer. If you are a travel rewards member and then you can earn points as you naturally spend on qualifying travel expenses. 

Over time, these rewards points pile up, and before you know it, you’re booking flights using just your points.

If your not a current member, you can enjoy sign up bonuses when you use these loyalty programs. 

Budget Travel Tips For Food

Budget travel tips for food image

12. Eat Local Over Tourist Traps

If you’re looking to enjoy the real flavor of a new city, then choose local options over popular tourist traps. Avoid restaurants that appear to be centered around tourists, as these places may be overpriced and overrated anyways.

By eating locally, you can enjoy local street vendors, food trucks, or mom-and-pop food shops. 

If you’re unsure where to go, try asking locals where they recommend you eat. Not only is this a great conversation starter, but you can get insights into the best places to eat. 

13. Cook Your Own Meals & Pack Your Snacks

I know when you’re traveling, the last thing you might want to do is cook. But trust me, cooking your own meals can save you hundreds of dollars (literally). 

You can even cook a simple meal, such as breakfast, so you can enjoy a full stomach before your adventure ahead. 

Families traveling on a tight budget can also enjoy huge savings buy shopping at grocery stores and cooking breakfast or packing a quick lunch. Then you can splurge on a nice place for dinner so you can taste the delicious food of your intended destination! 

If you’re not a fan of cooking, then book hotel stays that offers free breakfast. On your way out, you can even grab a muffin or two as a snack for later.

Budget Travel Tips For Activities

Budget travel tips for activities image

14. Explore an Area Yourself Instead of With an Organized Tour

Navigating big cities by yourself can be one of the most rewarding experiences while you travel. 

If you feel up to the challenge, you can avoid pricey organized tours and see the best sights yourself. With a trusty guide, such as with this blog post, you can discover hidden gems that many organized tours might overlook.

By exploring an area yourself, you have complete flexibility over where you want to go and what you want to do.

And let’s face it, there’s an unbeatable sense of accomplishment in navigating a new place on your terms!

15. Try Free Walking Tours

If you’re in a big city, take advantage of the available free walking tour offered around popular destinations. These walking tours are led by locals, and at the end you tip as much money as you feel. 

So, walking tours are not totally free (as you should always leave a good tip), but you enjoy significant savings while exploring a new city led by a local. 

It’s a win-win situation – where you can learn the rich history of the area while financially supporting the locals. 

Plus, you can even get a local perspective on the best places to eat or must-see attractions! 

16. Use City Tourism Cards

If you have never heard of a city tourist card, most popularly known as a city pass, they are a traveler’s secret weapon to seeing more while having significant savings.  

Think of it as an all-access pass to the best attractions a city has to offer, without the hefty price tags.

You pay a one-time fee or a daily cost for having a city tourist card and you have entrance to all the major attractions an area has to offer.

You can enjoy upwards of 50% discounts by using this card instead of purchasing individual tickets, you can skip ahead to the front of the lines, and you can enjoy more exclusive perks!  

17. Take Advantage of Free Days

Many museums, national parks, and attractions have specific days or times when entrance is absolutely free (or at least reduced). 

These dates are year-round and are different for every location, so if you research the dates beforehand, you can enjoy these world-class attractions absolutely for free!

So, as you plan your next trip, definitely look into when the attractions offer free entrance. 

Budget Travel Tips While Your Traveling

18. Learn Basic Bargaining Skills

Trust me on this, and learn basic negotiation skills. Not only can this help improve other aspects of your life but it will ensure that you get the lowest prices possible! 

In many cultures, around the world, you are expected to negotiate prices. 

But by not bargaining, you can end up spending double or even triple the price of the actual value.

If you are unsure if you’re in the right place to bargain, check to see if you can see a clear and defined price tag. If not, feel free to negotiate. 

Or you can simply state that the price is high, and see if they are willing to come down or throw an extra item included within the price. 

By politely negotiating the price, you can easily save hundreds of dollars from hotel accommodations, tour activities, to souvenirs. 

Just remember as you negotiate to be fair and kind. People are more likely to say yes if you treat them with kindness and respect!  

19. Get a Local SIM Card

If you’re traveling internationally, then you must get a local SIM card and avoid the highway robbery roaming charges!

You can get a local sim card at the airport or nearby shops, and easily connect it to your phone. Or can also use an eSim card so you can conveniently switch between carriers without the need for a physical SIM card. 

Trust me, getting a local sim card is an international travel essential, and will help you stay connected while abroad while avoiding the expensive international or roaming charges. 

20. Have Multiple Forms of Payment

By carrying multiple forms of payment, such as cash, credit card, and local currency, you can save additional money during every transaction. 

Instead of using your credit card, you can use cash or local currency which can save you from hidden international transaction fees. While these fees range from 1-4% of the transaction total, these fees can seriously add up at the end of your trip. 

Some vendors may even give you a better deal if you’re paying in cash or with their local currency. 

I noticed that when I was asked “How I was going to pay, by cash or card”, I would often get a cheaper price when paying in cash versus card for similar items. This is because it’s easier for local places to use local currency than to deal with converting money or dealing with international charges. 

Just be careful not to count your wad of cash in public, as you may look like a target. 

21. Attend Free Local Events

Travel isn’t just about seeing—it’s about experiencing. Local events, be it a lively festival or an art show, provide a genuine taste of the place.

Ask around, keep your ears to the ground, and you might just stumble upon a free event that offers a memorable dive into the culture.

22. Use Your Available Discounts

Are you a student, senior citizen, military personnel, or have some other rewards membership program? 

If you present your ID at the ticket counter, you can save a percentage of the total cost at participating locations. Not only can you present your ID at major attractions, and national parks, but even at local stores or restaurants. 

Simply ask and present your ID and see the costs reduce in your favor!

23. Volunteer as You Travel

Many volunteer organizations will happily exchange accommodation or meals for your time as a volunteer. 

This is a great way to save a lot of money while traveling the world, and you can help a great cause as you do it. 

Just make sure to always research the organization and ensure it is a safe and reputable organization. 

Conclusion

Let’s face it: traveling often feels way too expensive. But there are tons of ways you can see the world without financially draining your wallet. 

By taking advantage of these budget travel tips, you too can travel on a budget like a pro! And save money from every aspect of traveling from planning your trip to while you’re actually on vacation! 

Do not miss the opportunity to travel cheap and save more money on your next vacation!

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