The number one question V and I get asked is how do we travel on a budget? “Aren’t y’all teachers?” “How can you afford to go on so many trips?” The answer is simple, we budget for it. We not only budget on our trips, but each pay check we put a little aside for our travel adventures. I mean it’s our passion and you have to make time for your passion right?! Okay, enough bout us. I am here to HELP YOU have a more budget friendly vacation so that you too can start traveling, and traveling often! Below I will tell you the tips and tricks to save money when planning and for throughout your travels.
Download the Hopper App. Like literally right now, download it to your phone as you read this. You can also check it out online here, but the app will SAVE YOUR LIFE. This little bunny will save you lots of money!! Airfare is where you need to start when planning your vacation and I always suggest putting in the dates on Hopper before you do anything else. So it is pretty easy to set up, but I have included a good tutorial video here if you want to check it out. You will open up the app, type in the city you are interested in traveling to, type in the dates and go. If your dates are flexible, then you can find even more deals, so just put an about date you are looking for, then sit back and wait for the bunny to do it’s work. I always suggest doing this about 5 months before your planned trip, as that is when I have noticed the best deals. WARNING: You need to be ready to buy when you are notified of a good deal, because those deals some times only last an hour. When you get the notification, go on and book if the price is right. V and I always decide a price that if the bunny tells us that or lower, we book immediately. Some examples of great deals we have received are – Round trip to Barcelona for $500 – Round trip to San Francisco for $150 – Round trip to Italy for $375 – and many more! This is my number one advice to anyone traveling on a budget, so download the app today. 🙂
Apply for an Airline Credit Card. Now I know this may seem like crazy advice, but it’s not! I was skeptical at first, but V has gotten us a few free trips, so I recently applied for my own. Most airlines will give you free miles just for signing up. Others you may have to spend a certain amount on the card first, and then you will receive the miles, but you are doing it anyways. After spending a certain amount you will rack up miles and eventually receive free tickets anywhere you would like. V and I are going to Mexico City in a few weeks and we only had to pay $100 for both of us to have ROUND TRIP tickets. V has the United Airlines card and I recently got the American Airlines card. Once I spend a certain amount on the card, I will receive 50,000 miles. That can get round trip tickets to Europe and back for free, and guys you’re spending the money anyways! I just transferred my bills onto that card and will make payments on that card instead. If you are unsure, stick to Hopper, but I do highly suggest it. I mean miles for money you are already spending?! You can’t beat that! To look into the United Airlines card click here and to look into the American Airlines card click here.
Where to Stay:
Airbnb is the first option you should look up when traveling somewhere. You can rent a room, an apartment, or even an entire house depending on how many travelers are with you and what you prefer. What I like most is that when you search up a city, you can compare the prices on the map, that way you only click on ones that appeal to your price range. It is simple to use and works with every budget. Also, staying in someone’s home seems cozier than a hotel to me and the hosts usually help you out with tips while traveling the city. Be sure to message the host ahead of time if you have any special needs or have questions. You can book through Airbnb by downloading the app or through your web browser. Use our promo code and get up to $55 off your first Airbnb stay by clicking here.
Book your hotel through Priceline. We highly suggest you search up your next stay on Priceline.com! They have pretty great deals accessible to you at all times. We like the name your own price option, where you put in how much you want to spend and they set you up with a hotel in that price range. You choose which star level you would like to stay in, but you don’t know what hotel you will get until you pay. We have done this a few times and received amazing deals! We stayed in the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas for only $75 a night in the middle of the summer! Also, we stayed in the middle of Times Square in New York City during Thanksgiving Break for less than $85 a night! All because we booked through Priceline. Click here to go online and start finding your deal today.
Stay in a hostel. So V and I have never done this while traveling together, but he has done it on his solo trips and guy trips and speaks highly of it. We will one day soon though, and I will tell you about it. This is going to be the cheapest option you can find. They have many options, you can do a room with two people or even up to ten. You can stay with all girls, all guys, or mix it up. This is an affordable option that allows you to connect with fellow travelers. Whether you stay in a hostel or not, we suggest you check out the local hostel where you vacation, as they always host events and tours that are more affordable and it is a great way to get to know more people and enrich your experience even more. To look up hostels where you will be visiting, we suggest using Hostelworld.com, you can get to it by clicking here.
Walk. Seriously this sounds like common sense, but it is the cheapest way to travel and in our opinion, the best. It is completely FREE and it allows you to see more of the city you are exploring. V and I like to walk until we literally can’t any more. Yes, it can be tiring but we always get the best memories from the random places and activities we bump into along the way. With this, be sure to pack comfortable shoes and charge your phone so you can prepare for all the picture opportunities along the way. Along with walking, we also suggest biking. You can rent a bike for cheap if you get tired of walking, and you will still not miss out on the random pop ups. Both are fun and affordable ways to move along the city.
Public Transportation is the most affordable way to get around, plus it allows you to feel more like a local and engage with locals. In cities outside of America (and major cities here like NYC) they typically have a metro or subway system. This allows you to get where you want to go quickly and at a fair rate. The underground trains are pretty easy to navigate, and once you figure it out in one place, you can pretty much get it anywhere. If you need help, there are always people working that can help you or you can ask a local. Buses are also a great deal! They may take a little longer to get from place to place, but they are cheaper! We bought tickets for the bus in San Francisco and it was only $3 for two hours. Definitely beats anything else, especially one of the tour buses that will charge you an arm and a leg! We highly suggest public transportation for anyone trying to save some money.
Ride Share services are a good idea, especially if you are in a hurry, but if you really want to save money I only suggest using them from time to time. Uber and Lyft are in nearly every country and state, so be sure to download those apps ahead of time. Go to your app store now and let them download while you finish reading. The good thing about these apps is that you can ride share, which will save you money. You are able to split the fare between travelers as well through the app, so you don’t have to worry about who paid for this trip and making sure everyone pays equally. THE LAST THING I want to suggest when it comes to transportation is to not take
taxi’s. Sorry to all you honorable taxi drivers, but I have not had that same experience. If you have no other option, then yes take one, but use these other options first if you can. Taxi drivers tend to be scam artists, and you have to watch the meter to be sure they don’t up charge you. Also, they will take longer routes, because you can’t track it like you can with Uber/Lyft. They are way more expensive too. If you want to stay on a budget, Uber and Lyft are definitely the better options.
Go to the market. We always do this when we are staying somewhere, especially over three days. People make the mistake of going out to eat for every single meal when vacationing, and this can really add up quickly. We buy breakfast items, snacks, water and adult beverages from the market, and then we will eat lunch and dinner out. This has really helped us be able to maintain a budget when on vacation. Bring a back pack when you travel and carry around snacks and refillable water bottle, and you will save at least $20 a day, and up to $40 if you eat breakfast this way too. Also, eat the hotel breakfast and drink their coffee if it is free! No need to go to Starbucks every day.
Eat the Street Food! Not only is this the cheaper option, but it is easy to eat on the go and typically more culturally accurate. My favorite meals usually come off of a street cart or a to go window. The best part about this is the price though! Street food is always cheaper than a sit down restaurant. We usually eat street food for lunch and then sit down for dinner. Street food examples that we have tried are hot dogs in New York city, Fries in Amsterdam, Gyros in Greece, Tacos in Mexico, etc. Your belly and your wallet will be happy and full if you do this.
Share meals! I am not kidding, this is something we strongly advise. Most places give you such big portions when you go out to eat and when traveling you aren’t going to take a doggy bag to the hotel, so why waste food and money?! V and I do this especially if we are going somewhere that is a little more pricey. We typically will get an appetizer and one meal, as appetizers are pretty inexpensive, and we always leave full. We actually do this all the time, even at home, so we really do live by it. This cuts down the price in half at restaurants. Some times we will just get one meal, and then later get something small from a bakery or a street food vendor as well. To get bigger portions, you can ask for a meal to be split onto two plates, that’s just a little life hack for you. 😉
Check out the FREE activities and landmarks. Most of the time whenever you are traveling the things you want to see are Free. Yes, you can pay money to go inside these attractions, but a lot of time there is no need to. Plus if you go inside, you end up not only spending money, but a lot of time there. In order to get the most of your vacation and see all the attractions and landmarks you would like, just go check them out and keep moving. If there is something you really want to do, then do it! But maybe pick one or two places to pay the entrance fee, and everything else just admire from the outside. Also, if you do take a tour, we suggest booking a Free Walking Tour. They have these almost everywhere and they aren’t for a set price. You go on the tour and at the end tip the tour guide a fee you feel they deserve. I like this option because it is cheaper, you get more of a local spin on it, and 100% of the money goes to the tour guide, rather than a company taking out half of it. So again, go check out everything and get all the pictures you can, but only pay for a tour if it is something you MUST do, and you will save lots of money.
Check out the local Street Art. You can tell a lot of each place’s history by doing this, as well as get to experience incredible art at no cost. I mean how can you beat that?! There are so many talented local artists expressing themselves through murals and graffiti, so make sure you check them out. Also, they make for great picture opportunities along the way. 🙂
Do your research! You cannot just go on a vacation and expect to save money if you do not look into it before. A lot times there are free days for activities, or half off days, and you would miss out on this if you don’t research before. Most museums are free on Sundays and Mondays, so plan ahead and be sure to go on those days. Also, most of the time if you do want to take a tour, it will cost you way less if you book it in advance. We also like to suggest doing research ahead of time because it enriches your overall experience. When you look something up, you are excited to see it come to life when you travel. People get scammed all the time as well because when they are traveling they will just listen to people on the street and pay way more money than if they had actually taken the time to research and book ahead. When you research, you can build an itinerary as well, built upon the free activities, and be sure to save money!
Set a budget:
I know I know… this seems obvious, but it isn’t! When V and I travel we set an overall trip budget (which includes airfare, hotels, etc.) but we also include a daily budget. We will tell ourselves we are not spending over a certain amount of money each day and we stick to it. This helps you gauge which activities you really want to do, and which ones you feel you can miss and be okay. It also helps us to not just indulge in a bunch of food or shopping. We typically try to keep it at $50 or less a day, and it is possible! There are times we don’t even spend that much, and so what we will do is save the leftover money and on the last night just splurge. That may be too much or too little for you, and that is okay, but decide what works with your budget and stick to it. If you go over one day, take it out from the next day. Setting this daily budget is the only thing that keeps us accountable for our spending.
So again, this is why we say travel and travel often! You can do it, you just need to do some research before. It takes a little more time, but it saves you A LOT more money. You will be able to easily save up and go on many more adventures if you begin to travel this way. 🙂 We truly hope that this blog helps you figure out your upcoming budget conscious trip!
Please comment below any budget tips you have while traveling so that you can help me and fellow bloggers out there. I love some good money saving deals, so help ya girl out! 🙂
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Until next time…. XOXO ❤