How to Travel on a Budget

For most of us, we spend our days scrolling through social media, daydreaming of warm, sandy beaches and a relaxing vacation.

And even though the coronavirus pandemic has put quite a few plans on hold, we can use this time to learn ways to better budget our travel for the future.

Planning a vacation on a budget can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Enjoy the process of planning your perfect vacation, whether it’s a long weekend to a neighboring state, or a dream trip, and do it all on a budget with these tips.

Travel Off-Season

Traveling according to the season is always tempting.

Keep in mind that this is when most people travel and can lead to higher costs. Different destinations have varying tourist seasons, so it’s important to do quite a bit of research.

With a bit of extra planning, you can put together a trip that avoids price hikes and swarms of tourists, allowing you to have all of the fun of a vacation without the guilt of overspending.

Some destinations might be hard to avoid high prices, like Disney. But the prices of flights and hotels fluctuate throughout the year. Depending when you book flights and accommodations, there could be savings waiting for you.

Skip the Tourist Spots

Even though tourist destinations are often a reason for visiting a state or far away land, they can often be quite costly.

Instead, find a spot that’s off the beaten path. Immerse yourself in the local culture, experience local cuisine, and avoid the long lines and high prices of tourist spots.

While planning your excursion, search social media platforms for must-see places or upcoming events to take in and do your standard Google-based research to learn the ins and outs.

And, who knows, you might make a connection with a local group that can show you around.

Walking Tours

Traveling can turn you into a bit of a walker.

And that’s a good thing.

Exploring cities and towns on a bus or a taxi is certainly faster, but you miss quite a bit.

Stretching your legs lets you experience more of the area, especially if you’re in a city. Not to mention, you will burn the calories from lunch.

Save some of your money by exploring the nooks and crannies of a new city on foot.

Choose a Destination That Fits the Budget

This sounds obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind while trying to vacation on a budget.

And it’s more than just paying for transportation to and from the destination.

Bear in mind the cost of lodging, meals, and excursions. Areas with a high cost of living might not fit a smaller budget.

Staying in a place like New York City can get quite costly but finding a place to stay just outside of the city could be the perfect solution.

Keep the big-ticket trips on your bucket list but find a destination that fits your current budget. Unless, of course, you’d prefer to keep saving for your dream trip in lieu of another trip — and that’s okay!

Research Flights to Find a Good Deal

Finding a flight that doesn’t break the bank or have long layovers can be half the battle.

Booking directly on the airline’s website may cost you more money rather than a third-party website like Kayak. The airline’s ultimate goal is to make more money, so deals can be rare.

Third-party websites will do the legwork and show you the best possible rates available. This will give you the opportunity to compare rates, times, and possible layovers to ensure you’re getting the best flight.

Now you’re saving money in the budget and saving time.

Souvenirs

Keepsakes to remember your trip can be great, but the costs can add up rather quickly.

Instead of bringing back a suitcase filled with knickknacks, limit yourself to one or two. Better yet, opt for something from a locally owned store.

Supporting the community while making memories certainly feels better than owning a keychain that will undoubtably break.

Be Flexible

Having an itinerary can be great but putting together a simple list of must-see items could be better.

This leaves some of your time open to spontaneity — finding fun experiences that might not require a lot of your travel funds.

Immersing yourself in the local culture can create the opportunity to experience something that might not be on the itinerary, like a local band or food festival.

Start Saving Today

Opening a savings account or credit card dedicated to traveling expenses can also help keep your budget in check while allowing you to enjoy your trip.

Some options like the Visa Platinum credit card will reward card members with cashback and uChoose Rewards programs.

Let Hudson River Community Credit Union help you save and plan for your bucket list trip.