How to Save Money: Traveling

how to save money traveling

How to Save Money is a  monthly think fruitful series with helpful hints and tips for taking control of your finances. Get your free monthly budget template and 4 tips for traveling on a budget!

If you know me well, then you know that I love to travel. Especially if you know my family, then you’ll know that it practically runs in my blood.

My parents have traveled everywhere from Myanmar to Cuba, and my mom is the best travel planner I know.

I’ve been to about 10 countries myself and spent 4 months studying abroad in England during college (saving my pennies to travel to France and Germany during my stay). This year, we’ve already got 3 trips in the works (Asheville, Charleston and Maine if you want to know).

Like I’ve said before, budgeting influences every part of your life, and it can take a lot stress out of traveling.

Here are my 4 quick tips for saving money when you travel:

1. Start planning and saving early

Make sure to include your trip expenses in your monthly budget. In fact, you can even start to save a few months before the trip to spread out the costs. To do this, you’ll need to calculate what your travel expenses, food and transport will cost.

I enjoy starting to plan my trips months ahead of time, so I can make sure I have the time to do ample research. Start with your transport (plane tickets, trane tickets, gas budget), then where you will stay, then restaurant reservations.

Pro Tip: For plane tickets, I like to buy them about 2-3 months ahead of time. Although they used to say Tuesday was the best day to buy, now they say it’s Sunday. Also, check out Google Flights to see when it’s cheaper to fly if your dates are flexible.

2. Consider hotel alternatives

While hotels can be a great option for a relaxing and luxurious stay, I would suggest you compare prices with alternatives like Homeaway and Airbnb. I’ve found that I usually prefer to go through a home rental service because it’s often cheaper (especially with a bigger group), it’s roomier and you can have a kitchen, patio, etc.

3. Balance cheap meals with fancy ones

While I’m all for a fancy shmancy dinner out while I’m traveling, I also think it’s good to balance with cheaper meals. (And make sure you get a reservation for the fancier, busier places.) With all of the local food buzz these days, it’s pretty easy to find more budget-friendly options that are just as good.  I like to keep a running “Note” on my phone per travel location with restaurant ideas as I run across them. Don’t be afraid to search for dives and well-rated ethnic restaurants where you can get a lot of bang for your buck (and you probably don’t need a reservation).  You might even find a famous falafel stand or take-and-go sandwich spot that’s cheap and easy to eat as you walk (allowing you to save on dining in costs). Speaking of walking…

Read more about saving money when eating out here.

4. Step up your walking game

Transportation during your trip is a great way to save. Whenever you can, use your legs and get to walking to enjoy the scenery, get some exercise and really get a feel for a city. Subways are also a good option, and you can use Uber as a back-up when your legs are tired or you need to get somewhere quickly. If you’re traveling internationally, trains are a great way to save and still get to see the landscape of the area.

Traveling is one of the best ways to expand your world, meet new people, experience new cultures and celebrate life and your loved ones, and I fully believe that it can be done on a budget.

Start saving now — the world awaits!

What budget travel tips do you have?