The most common question I get as a traveler is along the lines of money. How do I have the funds for traveling? It’s no joke that travel can be expensive, but if you do it the right way, you can afford to go anywhere.
I’ll be frank. When I was in college my parents helped me financially to travel. I am perpetually appreciative of them; without their assistance I wouldn’t have gone anywhere & I honestly wouldn’t be writing this right now. Thanks, guys! But the fact that they helped me doesn’t mean they didn’t set guidelines for me so that I could learn essential budgeting & goal-making skills. I always had the responsibility to save and pay for portions of my trips, whether it be additional travel outside of my main destination, my flight, or another cost. Now that I’m on my own, those skills that they instilled in me have helped me to be able to continue traveling.
You don’t have to make a ton of money to be an avid traveler, believe me. I simply have several guidelines that I take into consideration when I make the commitment to take a trip, whether it’s domestic or international. Those guidelines keep my expenses low & assist me in making all of my trips affordable. So if you've ever wondered how you can travel on a budget, look no further. ;)
Save, save, save
This is my number one tip! Saving money is extremely important to me in all aspects of life, but especially because of my love for travel. It is absolutely essential to have a savings plan when you decide to take a trip. I know that if I don’t put the money away for my trips I won’t be going anywhere. Every single paycheck I get, I save a portion of it. I have a set amount that I put into savings and I do that every pay period as soon as I get paid. That way it doesn’t even feel like I had the money to begin with & it is safely stowed away somewhere that I can’t spend it. :) This portion doesn’t have to be a massive amount of your income; anything you think you can spare is great! Be strict on yourself with saving. It hurts a little to make that deposit to my savings twice a month knowing I have bills & won’t be able to do or buy everything I want, but it’s so worth it when I’m on a plane.
Make travel a priority
With that being said, in order to save enough money to travel you have to make it a priority in your life. This is HUGE. If you put the money in your savings account specifically for travel, you have to use it for travel. Don’t take it out because you see a cute top on sale at Madewell and you want to buy it. When this urge hits me, I remind myself how much more joy I will get out of travel experiences than I would from purchasing a material item. It sounds silly to give yourself a pep-talk, but it actually does work. Believe me, I’ve been there more than once!
Do your research
Research is extremely important when planning a trip. For example, researching the expense of a country will let you know traveling in the United Kingdom is much more expensive than traveling in Thailand. This is something you’ll need to know before you can begin planning & saving for a trip. It sucks to get your hopes up on a destination and then realize you can’t afford it. With that being said, if you still want to venture to that more expensive destination, just keep saving!
You’ll also need to research popular travel times and more sparse travel periods; this will help you decide on a time to take your trip & do it on a lower budget! I also like to research the general cost of hotels, transportation, and extracurriculars that we will be doing in a destination at differing times. Hotels, transportation, & activities’ prices fluctuate depending on how many tourists typically come through their doors during a given time period. Typically it is cheaper to travel to a location during their off-season, which is most likely going to be fall, winter, or spring – summer tends to be a high density travel time. However, it can different depending on the destination, hence the need to do research. Knowing highs & lows of travel destinations helps you get a well-rounded budget estimate.
Plan your trip in advance
Planning a trip in advance can be a super helpful thing to do, especially if it’s a destination you’ve never had experience with before. A lot of people will tell you the exact best day to purchase a plane ticket, or the best time to catch a train, but the truth is that you need to plan. I just purchased a plane ticket to Scotland and I cannot tell you how long I looked at flights on a daily basis to be sure that I got the best price possible. Planning ahead of time gave me months to find the ticket price that I was comfortable with paying. This goes for all aspects of a trip. Prices for hotels, flights, and other modes of transportation are going to fluctuate. Be sure to catch them at their lowest and be prepared to purchase when they are at a good pricepoint. Be patient! Prices go up and down frequently, you just have to keep an eye out.
Planning in advance also gives you additional time to save. You can save for a portion, book it, and then save for additional portions. For example, save for & book your plane ticket, save further & book your hotel, save even more then purchase your rental car – you get the picture.
Use discount websites when booking flights, hotels, etc.
This is extremely important, too! There are so many websites that have discount rates for you to peruse that it’s crazy not to use them! My favorites are Kayak, Expedia, & STA Travel (click on the websites' names to check out their websites!). I actually recently booked my flight to Scotland using STA Travel and saved over $200 per ticket. STA Travel is a special website that is geared towards students & young adults that gives discount rates. If you’re under 26 and are itching to travel, definitely check them out. If you happen to be over 26, Kayak & Expedia are still excellent options. These websites sometimes give bundle deals, too, if you book flights & hotels at the same time as a package.
So, now you know how I have the funds for all of my adventures! I will be directing anyone who asks me how I afford to travel to this post! ;) What are your best money-saving travel tips?
Hi, I'm Madeline
Blogger, teacher, writer, traveler, reader. Welcome to Mad's Muses!
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