How to Travel on a Budget

How to Travel on a Budget

You don’t have to be rich to travel the world and even having a little bit saved up can take you a long way, you just need to be ready for a different experience! It may include staying in hostels, traveling during the off-season or doing a lot of research before booking your tickets, but it is possible. If you truly want to get out and see the world, travel on a budget is more adventurous and fun since you have to get more creative.

How Do I Travel So Much?

Let’s be honest – I don’t have a lot of money to travel. I graduated college a couple of years ago and have been working a regular job in a regular town. Except, I had my first taste of adventure when I was 15. I came to the United States for an exchange year and absolutely fell in love with traveling.

Oh, by the way, my parents or I could never afford to send me abroad for a year, we didn’t plan for it and I didn’t know I was going until a few months before I left. How is it possible? At the age of 15, I was looking for more opportunities in life, I wanted to see what’s out there. I found a competitive scholarship for kids of the age of 14-16 that gave an opportunity to travel to the United States for free for an entire year.

And there are a lot of opportunities like that. You just need to look for them and then submit applications for it. It takes a lot of work, but there are programs for people from the United States to travel abroad for several months for free. If you are interested in learning more about studying abroad (which you can do at any age) and truly changing your life, read about my story and what opportunities are out there to help you go abroad.

How to Travel on a Budget – Finding the Best Travel Deals

I am no longer a student, but I stayed in the United States after college and got a job. Citizens of the United States have a lot more opportunities to travel the world than most any other country on the planet.  With a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can travel in your country or even go somewhere abroad with just a little money in your checking account. Let’s get to it!

Do Some Research

Travel prices can really be unpredictable, check some of the most popular travel search engines as well as the hotels and budget airlines themselves for deals and offers! Read more great tips below that will help you save money on hotels and flights!

Check Company’s Social Media

A lot of the time, travel companies put out promo codes and promotion links on their Facebook or Twitter page, check in for any promotions before booking!

Look for Promo Codes with Retail Me Not

So far retailmenot.com has been a really great resource for finding good promo codes that help me save money on travel. I also downloaded Honey promo-code extension to my browser and it notifies me and scans all of the coupon codes automatically, which saves a lot of time searching!

Use Groupon to Find great Deals

Big cities like New York or San Francisco have a lot of restaurant offers on Groupon. You can get more than 50% off and get a 3 course-meal on a rooftop if you look hard enough. They also offer a lot of travel activities like walking tours, escape rooms or cooking classes. Download the app and check often when you travel, this can open up doors to new experiences and awesome savings!

Related: Even more Tips on How to Travel More!

How to Find Deals on Flights – Flying on a Budget

Flights on a Budget

You can save some money every step of the way, and a good place to start is how are you getting to your destination. Driving a car and splitting it four ways with friends is one way to do it. Flying can be the priciest part of the journey, especially with extra baggage fees and taxes that are involved. But sometimes, you may have to fly and here are a few tips on how to save money when booking your flight.

Fly in the Middle of the Week

It’s no secret, that the day you are booking your travels for makes a big difference. So, if you are flexible with your travel dates, you’re in luck: most of the time, traveling in the middle of the week can save you a lot of money.

Use Budget Airlines

Budget airlines make it easier and cheaper for people to travel, especially if you don’t take a lot of luggage with you and are flexible with the dates. Depending on where you live, different airline will work better for you. Check with your local airports for budget airlines hubs and look for the destinations these airlines go. Some of my favorite budget airlines are Spirit and Frontier. Read about my experience with Frontier Airlines and flying on budget airlines if you are planning on using a budget airline for the first time.

Travel Light

A carry-on backpack will help avoid checked baggage fees on many budget airlines out there. Even more, airlines like Delta also started to offer low-fee flights if you only have a carry-on and don’t have to choose your seat ahead of time. Might as well get very good at packing light and start planning your trip!

Collect Travel Miles/Points

Travel Miles can be a complicated concept to understand, but it can also be a great way to travel for cheap or even free. Not only does having credit cards builds your credit score, it also can give you miles or points for your purchases. I use my credit card for all of my purchases and then use cashback on tickets or hotels every year, it’s a win-win! Join a credit card that has a great entry offer, is free to have and that will reward you with the most amount of miles for your purchases! To earn, use all of your expenses on the credit card – bills, rent, tuition – all of that will give you great cashback to fund your travel dreams!

Try Out Skyscanner’s Everywhere Function or Google Flights

I always check prices on Skyscanner before booking a trip. The “everywhere” feature brings up the cheapest destinations you can fly to on any dates. Another great engine for flights is Google Flights – and it is really easy to use!

Check Flight Prices on Student Universe

Student Universe is also one of my favorites websites to look for travel deals. I don’t really know how or why, but some flights on studentuniverse.com can be more than 2 times cheaper than on the airline’s websites.

Book Flights Separate

Booking each flight separately has always helped me save a lot of money. For example, if you want to fly from the United States to Europe, you may find a round trip ticket for over $600, depending on where you are. But, if you book a round trip flight to New York City and another round trip flight from NYC to Europe, it can save you more than 50%. This can be a little risky, since if your flight is late, the company will not be refunding your ticket for the delay and your missed flight. That’s why I get flights with least 5 or 6 hour layovers to avoid any problems!

Great Travel Deals on Accommodations – Budget Travel

Deals on Hotels

Book Hotels Through Booking.com

Booking.com is an amazing booking site for cheap hotels, hostels and even apartments. It’s really easy to use! Sometimes you can even pay at the property, which means you don’t have to pay before you travel. Another great feature is the cancellation policy on most accommodations. You can cancel a few days before your trip without any fees! If you haven’t tried out booking.com, use this link and you will get $20 back after your first booking!

Try Hotel Bidding

Have you ever heard about hotel bidding? Priceline.com is a great site where you can bid for any price on a hotel. And it’s fun – you don’t know what hotel you are bidding on! The website only tells you the star rating of the hotel and the neighborhood it is in. But overall savings are worth it!

Get an Apartment through Airbnb

Another great site to look for apartments airbnb.com. By booking from locals, you save money on your hotels and you usually have a kitchen if you would like to cook a meal instead of going out! It can be especially great for bigger families as it can get very costly if you need more than one hotel room. Every time I used airbnb, the experience was great and the hosts were super helpful and welcoming. If you have never tried using Airbnb, use this link and get $29 off your first stay!

Stay at a Hostel

It may sound like it’s not for you, but not all hostels are created equal and fit the same bill. Yes, there are some hostels that have 8 people in the same room with a gross bathroom down the hall. Some of the hostels I stayed at even offered a room for two – but was more that half price of any hotels in the neighborhood. If you are tight on budget and are ok with using a community bathroom, a hostel will be a great place to stay a few nights.

More Tips on How to Travel on a Budget

Are you looking for more ideas on how to travel more? 

Rocky Mountains Camping

Visit Cheaper Destinations

Flying to a city in the United States can be more expensive than a flight to a different country. Plus, American dollar can be a lot more value in counties with a different currency. Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, or many countries in South America are really cheap to live in and have an incredible culture and people (some nice hotels in Eastern Europe can be about $50 per night, which is unheard of in the United States). But, if you decide to stay within United States, there are a lot more than the usual travel destinations. I made a list of underrated travel destinations is in the United States that I highly recommend to visit! By going to nearby locations or visiting non-touristy destinations, you will not only save money, but have a more authentic experience.

Take a Road Trip Instead of Flying

If there are more than two traveling, it might be cheaper to just make a road trip out of it! If you have the time, it might be even more fun and you’ll get to see other places along the way! To save even more, you can take these road trip snacks instead of eating at fast food restaurants on the way.

Join Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to make your travel funds stretch a little further. Travel programs that you can join include airline frequent flyer programs, hotel loyalty programs, or referral rewards programs.

It’s best to choose just a few programs to join, and use them regularly. My favorites are the Hotels.com rewards program (you get 1 night of free accommodation every 10 nights booked), the Airbnb referral program (credits for anyone that signs up through your referral link), and Booking Referral program (you and your friend get $20 for each booking with your link).

Use FlixBus

If you are looking for a trip to a nearby city, Flixbus is a great alternative to flying! I have used it many times and it was great for short and over-night trips.

Go Camping

Camping is one of the cheapest ways to travel! You can get all of the necessary camping gear and then see the most beautiful places for just a small campground fee! On our recent trip to the Rocky Mountains we paid just $20 a night. So, start looking for camping gear and get ready for your next exciting adventure!

Go on a Cruise

Go on a Cruise to save more

A cruise will take you to multiple locations while saving on transportation costs. Average 5 day cruise from Carnival takes you to 2 or 3 new destinations, includes food and boarding costs and can be as low as $50 a day per person! That’s an amazing deal! I have gone on a couple of cruises and was able to explore Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island. Such amazing destinations that I never thought I would be able to visit! Try out cruisesheet.com when you are looking for a cruise, you can find some of the cheapest cruises on the web!

View Everything As An Opportunity

Weddings, work trips, or just visiting family may require travel. Use these opportunities to explore a new city or go out on a hike nearby. Plan a walking tour, look for new restaurants, attend another event while you are there. This will help you explore the world around you and travel more!

Bookmark This Post

Will you be traveling soon? Bookmark this post and use the links above to get discounts and promotions. I  always take these steps before looking for a new flight!

What do you use to find the best travel deals to travel on a budget? Let me know in the comments below, I am always looking for new programs and deals to join!

Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!

16 Comments

  1. John Saeger
    February 17, 2019

    Thanks for all the tips, particularly the booking.com one. I’m always looking for ways to save on hotel rooms so I can spend that money on fun stuff for the vacation and I’ll have to give that one a shot.

    Reply
  2. Megan
    February 24, 2019

    What a great list of tips! Since starting a family saving money on travel has become a priority. I’m pinning this for future reference.

    Reply
  3. Chloe Daniels | Clo Bare
    February 28, 2019

    Love this! Such great advice and doing LITTLE things like flying in the middle of the week is stuff people never think of! Love this, and really love your blog! <3

    Reply
    1. Marina
      March 14, 2019

      Thank you so much! I do so much research on finding the best rates for flights, that I had to share all my little tricks!

      Reply
  4. SXM IS BACK
    May 16, 2019

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your valuable information. Now anyone can easily travel in a budget.

    Reply
    1. Marina
      June 5, 2019

      So glad this post was helpful, I try to update it regularly to stay on top of it!

      Reply
  5. Nat Wanderlust
    June 2, 2019

    Thank you for the tips! This is great! I also use “I know the pilot” and sign up for their newsletters and try to be flexible in my travel dates 🙂

    Reply
    1. Marina
      June 7, 2019

      That’s a great tip! I sign up for newsletters to get secret deals, too!

      Reply
  6. Aaron (@1dish4the4road)
    July 4, 2019

    Wow, so many tips! Thanks for all the info!

    Reply
  7. Darcy
    July 4, 2019

    You have many great suggestions! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  8. Ivana
    July 4, 2019

    I love flixbus! They are my favorite choice when I travel to nearby countries 🙂

    Reply
  9. Becca
    July 4, 2019

    These are great tips!! Travel really is doable – you just have to take the time to check things out! Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    1. Marina
      July 15, 2019

      So happy you enjoyed it! I am a true believer of that!

      Reply
  10. Woman Restated
    July 4, 2019

    Whoa I had no clue about Frontier and I was really looking for cheaper flights! Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Marina
      July 15, 2019

      Frontier and Spirit are definitely good options when you are looking for cheaper flights!

      Reply
  11. steve
    July 11, 2019

    Great Tips. Thanks.

    Reply

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