How to Stretch Your Travel Budget

While many of us dream of high-rolling, luxury vacations, the reality is most folks don’t have the bank account balance to match our travel fantasies. Right? Not necessarily. Anyone who says you can’t maximize your experience while pinching pennies, probably hasn’t put in the effort.

budget travel tips

By using a few travel-savvy tips, you too can experience premium travel on a budget. Here are some helpful tips.

Plan Ahead
It may seem like a cliche, but it’s true when it comes to travel: good things come to those who wait. Planning in advance gives you time to research the cheapest flights, most affordable destinations and transportation options once you get there. You might also consider augmenting online research with offline sources for travel deals too. Travel agencies are still a good resource for package deals, especially if you’re the type who’d prefer to hand the dirty work off to someone else. Pro tip: look for promotional deals with newly-opened hotels to save big on swanky accommodations.

Take the Road Less Traveled
Traveling to a lesser-known place offers many advantages, from lower prices to less-crowded attractions. Many locations off the beaten path will offer discounted luxury options. Take advantage of these offerings and be a trailblazer while enjoying the peacefulness of a place unspoiled by heavy tourist traffic. For a beach vacation that won’t break the bank, look into places like Anna Maria Island, a mere hour from Tampa. It’s full of quiet, pristine beaches and accommodations at a fraction of the price of the big touristy coastal cities nearby.

Travel Off-Season
Forget traveling during popular travel times such as national holidays. This is a surefire way to blow your budget on travel and lodging during peak pricing. Instead, travel during off-seasons when there are far fewer visitors in an area. For example, Austin, Texas is an amazing and popular destination for travelers from September to May. Plan your visit during the dog days of summer, and you’re bound to find incredible deals on lodging and entertainment.

Use Exchange Rates to Your Advantage
Traveling abroad can be costly, but there are times the currency exchange rate is on your side. It’s cheaper to travel to countries where the value for your dollar is higher than the local currency. Dollars have a tendency to go quite a bit further in Southeast Asia and Central and South America but can feel a little weak in Europe and Australia. Familiarize yourself with exchange rates and the relative value of goods and services before you book. You’ll end up experiencing some very luxurious places for pennies on the dollar.

budget travel tips

Travel in a Group
If your idea of a great vacation involves you and six of your best friends, then you’re in luck. The easiest way to save big on luxury travel is to go in on it together. Dividing the cost of travel, accommodations, and food can lighten everyone’s load. Sharing the cost of a vacation rental can mean staying in far finer hotels than you can afford on your own. If you’re a pack of partiers, you may want to explore the options of all-inclusive packages, which can amount to huge savings in food and drink.

Stay Strategically
If you can choose a hotel a little farther from the center of a major destination, you can save big bucks. Upgrade to the nicest room in a less-expensive hotel to treat yourself. Situate yourself close to public transportation or bicycle rental to avoid the expense and hassle of a rental car. In countries with good exchange rates, you may find that ride-sharing apps are cheaper and easier than car rental.

Go Native
One of the most exciting parts of traveling to new and exotic places is indulging in the local cuisine. To really save some cash and experience the best a place has to offer, follow the lead of locals and sample food from street vendors and the least touristy eateries. Splurge on a few great meals at notable restaurants with the money you save eating locally, and you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds.

Remember that the joy is in the journey. So take it easy, make some memories, and don’t forget to savor each moment of your trip. For more travel inspo, check out our list of amazing budget destinations for 2019.

Paul Colbert is a travel blogger and nature enthusiast. He loves exploring new places and new ways to enjoy the outdoors.

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