Travelling costs money, and even if you’ve been planning and saved up, you’ll still want to find ways to stretch your travel budget as far as possible and have a great trip! When you’re constantly thinking about money and what you can and can’t do, it’s no fun! So I’ll show you 15 easy ways to help you stretch your travel budget and make your money work for you! I mean, why spend more when you can spend less for the same thing??
How to stretch your travel budget come under four main categories: Accommodation, Food, Transportation and Activities. In this post I’ll touch on all of these and some extras!
1. Travel Off-Season and maybe the Shoulder
This sets the foundation – travelling during off or shoulder season is the best way to stretch your travel budget. Want to visit Athens in July? Unfortunately everyone else is thinking the same thing and the prices reflect that. Planning your trip to be either before or after the main tourist season is an amazing way to help stretch your travel budget. When there are fewer tourist numbers, stores, restaurants, tours, even cab drivers are more likely to negotiate on prices. Your bank account will thank you, trust me!
2. Don’t Be Put Off by the Weather
Don’t always be put off by the weather forecasts. If you’re willing to be flexible and take the risk, it can be worth it! Just spend time doing research, use Instagram and blogs to see the weather when people visited.
When I visited Zanzibar, it was the start of the short rainy season, We got a great deal and had to just roll the dice and hope for the best. Did it rain? Yes but only at night so it didn’t affect our trip at all and we saved a tonne on flights and hotels!
3. Save On Flights
First things first, flights. Flights are easily the biggest expense on your travel budget but you have to be savvy with ways to get cheapest flights. If you haven’t yet you should check out 10 Proven tips for getting Cheaper Flights (and some bonus ones!). Also, if you’re aiming for off or shoulder season travel, ticket prices are usually significantly less and drastically increases your saving.
4. Pick Budget Friendly Destinations
It’s so important to be thoughtful when picking your destination. But before you even pick your destination, you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend. Once you’ve decided the amount you’re willing to spend, you can now start looking at budget friendly destinations. I talk about this in 6 Ways to Travel More. You need to turn the process on it’s head and let your budget determine our destination!
READ MORE : HOW TO CREATE A TRAVEL BUDGET (AND STICK TO IT!)
5. Think Quality over Quantity
Let’s say you’ve been dreaming of a particular destination and now you have your heart set on visiting but it’s over budget. What do you do? Find the perfect balance! You can consider maybe a shorter stay so that you still get to visit your dream destination and stay where you want to stay.
Instead of sacrificing your vacation to have a longer trip and be disappointed with your time, change your trip duration to fit your budget!
6. Book Accommodation for Less
The cost of accommodation, along with flights, can make or break your travel budget. If you keep your accommodation costs low, it will go a long way in helping you stretch your travel budget.
Booking accommodation for less is easy with sites like booking.com, hotels.com and Airbnb. You don’t have to stay in a very average (or less) hotel that costs more than it should. You can stay in some places that are seriously even better than hotels and still not have to pay a lot! AND it lets you live and experience the city like a local.
7. Saving on Food
Food is one of my favourite ways of embracing a new culture when I travel. I know I’m not alone in that! But if you’re not careful, eating out can be an easy way to blow your travel budget. However, it’s also one that you can save on significantly. Here are some ways to do just that:
- Go for Lunch – Lots of restaurants offer very similar or the same menu at lunch but for much cheaper prices.
- Carry a bottle of water and some snacks
- Get fresh pastries from supermarkets for breakfast or visit a deli
- Eat Local – It’s almost always better and significantly cheaper
If there’s a fancy restaurant you want to visit, you could eat local earlier in the day to offset the cost of dinner. Another option is to ask if the restaurant serves food at the bar. You still get to experience the restaurant but at significantly lower price.
READ MORE: 10 TIPS FOR AFFORDABLE LUXURY TRAVEL
8. Book Group Tours instead of Private
If you want your travel budget to stretch , I recommend booking onto group tours instead of private ones because they’re usually way cheaper and you still enjoy the same experience.
9. Be Savvy About Admission Fees
Museum entries, Tours, Admissions fees add up real real quick. You should first make a list of the sites and attractions that are a must for you and prioritise those. A lot of cities have “City Cards” that bundle up discounted or free admission to a lot of major attractions like Barcelona City Pass or Copenhagen Card. The list you’ve made will help you decide if the card is worth getting or if it’ll be cheaper to just pay as you go.
Also a lot of attractions offer discounted entry for students, teachers, children and seniors so make sure you bring your ID along to take advantage of that!
There are also lots of discount booking sites like Get Your Guide, LivingSocial, Groupon or country specific sites that offer great deals! When I went to Marrakech, I booked my day trip on Get Your Guide and got a great deal!
10. Wait till you Arrive to Book Activities
Most times prices listed online for excursions/tours/activities are much more expensive than the prices you would get in person. The price you get quoted in person is usually cheaper and you also have a better chance of negotiating cheaper prices.
When I went to Zanzibar I paid 50 USD for the Blue Safari Tour, but if i booked online in advance it would’ve cost me at least 70 USD! Now this isn’t always the case and especially so for really popular tours.
11. Look for the Free Stuff
Another great way to stretch your travel budget is to look for free things to see and do! On city breaks, I mostly lots of free or cheap activities. It’s the best way to save money! Whether it’s free museum entry o free walking tours, you’ll still have an memorable experience but for much less.
But don’t miss out on the bucket list experiences you really want to do. Travelling, at the end of the day, is all about unique, memorable experiences. So finding the right balance between stretching your budget with free activities and splurging on a once in a lifetime experience is important!
12. Learn How to Haggle
Mastering the art of haggling can be such a big money saver and if done correctly it can stretch your travel budget quite a bit. Haggle with fairness, don’t be shy about bartering on the price of everything from taxi rides to souvenirs to street food. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
READ MORE : 8 STEP GUIDE TO HAGGLING LIKE A PRO
13. Walk Walk Walk
If you can walk, WALK! Put some comfortable shoes on, get to walking and ditch the taxi! Always go for the cheaper form of transport. In the end you still get to your destination but just in a different, much cheaper way. If you can get the bus or train between cities/countries instead of flying, then do that. Every little helps, so where possible, walk or take public transport.
These small savings over your trip will help you stretch your travel budget massively. And not only will you see more of your destination, you also get to walk off those extra calories you’ve been enjoying, win win!
14. Pay In Local Currency
If you pay by credit card you’ll often have the option to either pay in local or your home currency. ALWAYS pick the local currency and you can save money that way!
European countries like Croatia, Hungary and Serbia are not Euro countries and they can offer way more bang for your buck. Look for destinations where your home country’s currency is strong. Your money goes farther, and you’ll get a better deal on everything from accommodation to transport to food.
15. Keep Track of your Spending
The best way to make sure you don’t bust your budget is to keep track of your spending. I use my Notes App to keep track of my spending when I’m on holiday and honestly, its super easy. It helps to budget how much your daily travel sending will be and stick to that limit. Take that amount of cash with you, and at the end of every day, count out how much you have left to determine how much you’ve spent. This helps you get a clearer picture of how you’re spending. There are also apps like Trail Wallet to help you keep track.
By being conscious of how each little cost adds up, you will get much further with your money. There’s no magic trick to it and I hope this motivates you to get started on your travel savings. I would love to hear your tips for stretching your travel budget. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
Until next time,