Travel on a Budget: 8 Money-Saving Tips from Finance Gurus & Travel Experts

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If 2024 is the year you plan to check off some places on your travel bucket list, this post is for you.

Whether you want to see the orangutans in Borneo or climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, learning how to travel on a budget means you can visit more places and get the most out of your travels.

So, we’ve asked five finance gurus and travel experts to share their top tips for traveling on a budget to help you book your next vacation without breaking the bank.

Book Last Minute

Book last minute - travel on a budget

Booking a vacation months in advance has its perks; you can take your time finding the perfect hotel, you’ll have more flexibility around flights, and you get longer to be excited about your trip!

The downside is you’ll spend more. Holiday packages tend to cost more the further out you book because there’s no urgent need to fill spots yet.

However, if you wait until 2-4 weeks before you plan to travel, you’ll often find last-minute deals from providers trying to fill up those empty spots.

If you’re going traveling and you’re happy to take some risks, wait to book your flights and hotels until the last minute to save yourself a chunk of your budget.

“It can be nerve-wracking leaving your travel arrangements until just a few weeks before you plan to leave, but you can still do plenty of research in advance to get prepared. Set up price alerts on your phone so you can keep an eye on those last-minute deals.” – Kelly Ann Duhigg from Girl with a Passport

Look For Alternative Accommodation

travel on a budget - alternative accomodation

Popular hotels are easy to find on booking sites, which means they’re also the most expensive option. If you’re willing to try something a little different, look for local Airbnbs, house shares, and hostels to save serious cash while traveling.

“Staying with locals who host tourists or in local Airbnbs is a fantastic way to explore somewhere new, and you’ll save money by avoiding the large hotels. Plus, you’ll help support locals – win-win!” – Fiona Spinks from FollowingFiona

Don’t forget to do your research when booking alternative accommodation. Make sure it has good reviews and you are totally sure about the hosts. Safety is the number one priority, especially if you’re traveling solo.

Eat Like a Local

travel on a budget - eat like a local

Any restaurants or cafes in the main tourist areas are notoriously expensive because vendors know tourists have no other options. Or do they?

If you take a stroll just a few streets from the main drag, you’ll find plenty of local eateries frequented by locals. These are much cheaper, and the food is usually home-cooked and delicious.

Consider a Cruise

travel on a budget - cruise

It’s true that cruises aren’t a budget-friendly form of travel on the face of it, but if you’re planning a trip around the world, this could be a great option.

If you’re savvy about sales, choose an inside cabin, and you’re not too picky about where in the world you go, cruises can cost under $100 a person per day, which is an exceptionally cheap way to travel.

“Booking a cruise is an easy way to affordably see the world. Your accommodation, food, and entertainment are all included, and you’ll get to visit some of the world’s most popular destinations without worrying about hotels or transfers.” – Hannah Dorling from Love Cruise Ships

Use Local Transportation

local transportation - travel on a budget

Most tourists use taxis to sight-see, which are expensive and hard to get in popular cities. Instead, use the bus or train.

It can be daunting getting on public transport in an unfamiliar country, especially if you don’t speak the language, but it’s a rewarding experience and will save you some serious cash.

Find Travel Coupons

travel on a budget - coupons

Plenty of travel sites have discount codes that not many people know about. A quick Google search before you commit to a deal could save you up to 40% off the normal price.

“There are so many websites with hidden coupon codes, you just need to be willing to find them. Most last-minute booking sites have discounts, but you might also find them for the large airlines and hotels.” – Yiannis Zourmpanos from Bountii

You can also sign up for free email alerts from Google Flights, Scott’s Cheap Flights, or Airfarewatchdog to get last-minute deals and discount codes. This will help you get a great deal and set a good point of reference for your travel costs.

Go For Free Activities

travel on a budget - free activities

It’s easy to get sucked into paid excursions while you’re traveling, but some of the best experiences you’ll have are totally free. From hiking and nature walks to wandering around the most iconic museums in the world, you don’t need to spend money to have fun while traveling.

You can even turn this into a challenge – see how much you can do in a day without spending any money, or set yourself a low limit for food only and don’t go over it. You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have on travels when money is out of the equation.

Start a Travel Fund

travel on a budget - travel funds

No matter how much money you save on your trip, traveling is never free, so it’s time to start factoring it into your budget.

Set up a separate savings account for travel, and aim to put a set amount away each month. When you treat your vacations like a necessary expense, you’ll find it easier to save up.

“The easiest way to stock your travel fund is by making extra cash. Whether you go for a side hustle or investment strategy like day trading, it’s incredibly rewarding to watch your savings account grow for your next trip.” – Steven Kibbel from Day Tradingz

Enjoy Your Trip!

Contrary to popular belief, traveling doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With some savvy planning and clever money-saving tips, you can check off your bucket list on a tight budget.

The key is flexibility. The more you’re willing to stray from the beaten path and travel outside of the norm, the more money you stand to save.

This article originally appeared on TheRoamWild and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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