Whether you’re an occasional traveler or a jet setter, you likely want to experience your vacation getaway without breaking the bank. Planning every detail of a trip can sometimes feel overwhelming and thinking about money can often induce unwanted stress. No matter the destination, knowing a few tips and tricks can help set you up for success.
Here Are 5 Ways to Travel on A Budget:
Set A Travel Budget
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this simple step, Start by setting a travel budget. If you know before you begin the planning phase how much money you’ll be able to comfortably spend, then choosing affordable accommodations or budget-friendly experiences will be easier to manage. Waiting until after you pick every detail, only to realize the bottom line is more than you bargained for, sets the tone for stress, not enjoyment.
Decide What Matters Most
The next tip is not as easy as the first, but it’s a must. Decide what matters most. Know from the start of your travel planning, doing it all and seeing it all is just about impossible. Gather the family, your travel companion, or if you’re a solo traveler gather all of the options and make a list of the top three or four “must-see’s” or “must-dos” during your time away. Even if what’s important to you is relaxation or mindset reset time, be sure the add that to your list. In some cases, you may find that the accommodation is what’s most important (think luxury spa or themed hotel). Other times the accommodation is less important because you know you’ll be spending little time there other than to shower and sleep. From this list, you’ll be guided to make budget-friendly travel plans and still design the trip your way.
Plan to ‘Eat-In’ Some of the Time
Consider staying where you’ll have access to a kitchen or at the very least a small refrigerator and a cooktop. Cooking and eating even one meal a day in your room can really save the budget, not to mention the added bonus of eating a healthy meal. A quick trip to the local grocery store or farmers market at your destination to pick up a few whole foods, plant-based items to prepare in your room will help keep your gut healthy, in turn, boosting your immune system during your time away from home. Add a few healthy snacks, such as organic apples, raw almonds, nuts and seeds, or raw carrot sticks with hummus, and you’ll be sure to keep snack costs down while boosting energy.
Know Where to Find Valid Information on Sales and Travel Deals
Months before your planned departure, sign up to receive emails from travel deal sites such as Travel Zoo or Travel Pulse. Not only can you spot ways to save on travel, but you might discover other close-by destinations or hotels that you may not have otherwise considered. If your time away is flexible, traveling a week ahead or behind your original schedule could save you lots of cash. Look for travel sites that show a calendar view of the nightly rates during any given month, and you’ll be astonished how widely these rates can vary.
Always Consider Ancillary Costs
Budgeting for travel should also include those small things that are necessary while you’re away, but sometimes are forgotten about when designing your travel budget. Paying someone to cut your grass while you’re away? Add that line item to the travel budget. Putting your dog in a kennel for a week? That can add up to a large expense and should be considered in the overall budget. Consider parking fees at the airport or hotel, tolls along your road-trip route, fuel for the car, and rest stop quick grabs. Last, but certainly not least, consider an emergency contingency fund. Things come up, and if you’re lucky enough to not need to draw from it, you can use that money to begin to fund your next travel adventure!
Overall, planning to travel should generate eager anticipation. By creating a budget routine each time you plan a trip, you’re better prepared for the long haul. Once you get the routine down, not only will you be able to stick to your budget, but you’ll be sure to see and do that which is most important to you at your destination.
After all, isn’t that what travel is all about?