Traveling on a budget allows you to use your money more wisely, to have richer experiences, and to travel as long as you can. I use the principles of budget travel all the time, it’s the only way I’ve been able to travel as extensively as I have. I’ve recently been asked to teach a budget travel course, and in preparing for that course I wanted to share some of my tips here with all of you. For those of you who are in Boston, you should register for the class! It’s going to be inspiring and fun and packed full with information. Plus, I can’t wait to meet you, all of you, as many of you as can make the class! (Get the details and sign up here.) So in the meantime (and for those of you not in Boston), here are my top 10 budget travel tips for you, use them wisely!
My Top Budget Travel Tips
1 | Minimize air time
Flying is the least economical way to travel, it will take up a big chunk of your budget! Wherever possible, try to travel by train, bus, car, or hitchhike to get where you need to go. If you have to fly because you’re going to the other side of the world, that’s fine, but then use ground transport to get around the region. Which brings us to #2…
2 | Explore by region
You’ll make your money go much further if you explore by region, instead of trying to cover the whole planet in one trip. Whenever I’m choosing a destination, I’ll try to loop in other cities and countries nearby, so that I can explore more of the region within that trip.
3 | Travel off-peak
The off-peak and shoulder seasons are always going to be cheaper than traveling during the peak season. Look at when destinations are going to be busiest and try to travel outside of that range, if even only by a month or two. It will save you on airfare, food, and accommodation.
4 | Travel light
Travel light by bringing only a carry-on bag or backpack. Doing this allows you to avoid airline fees for checked bags, and avoid paying for a taxi because you can carry your bag and walk or take public transport. I show you how to travel with just a carry-on bag here. I promise it’s worth the effort of packing light!
5 | Stay in hostels
Hostels are often a better choice than hotels because they’re cheaper and they allow you to meet other travelers wherever you go! They also offer tours and excursions and pub crawls, which can be cheap and fun ways to enjoy your travels.
6 | Shop at grocery stores
Instead of going out to eat for every meal (you wouldn’t do that at home, so don’t do it on your travels!), go shop at the grocery store. Do this for at least your breakfast and lunch, and if you’re staying at a hostel where there is a kitchen, you can even cook yourself dinner too. Plus shopping a grocery store gives you another look at local life you wouldn’t otherwise see in your travels!
7 | Choose budget locations
Depending on where you choose to travel, your budget will be partially set for you. Choose budget travel destinations, places that are popular for backpackers, like Central America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. Your money will take you further in these regions automatically!
8 | Triple travel points!
My triple travel points system is simple: for every flight you book, you should be earning triple points. Book with an airline that you have a rewards account with, use a website that you have a rewards account with (like Expedia), and use a credit card that has travel rewards points. That way with every booking, you get three times the points, which will add up to give you free flights later!
9 | Travel for longer
When you can travel for longer, for months at a time instead of just a few days, you’re able to travel slower which is cheaper. Without the rush to get somewhere quickly and see everything there in a short time, you have more time to explore. You can also take the longer route to get somewhere when it’s cheaper, like taking a bus between countries instead of a flight, because time isn’t so sensitive. If you can get away from work for awhile or travel between jobs, do it because your money will last you longer!
10 | Be flexible
In everything in your travels, flexibility is key. Be flexible in where you go, when you go, and what you do there. By being flexible, you can take advantage of the cheapest options. Don’t book too much ahead of time, instead be open to the options that present themselves in your travels…there may be a cheaper and more fun way to go that you find out when you get there!
Check out my video blog about budget travel as well! And while you’re at it, subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get all my videos straight to your newsfeed: https://www.youtube.com/c/brittanyfromboston