5 Simple Tips to Traveling on the Cheap

Travel is not cheap. It can be, but usually you’re sacrificing comfort or convenience. The key to enjoying yourself is budgeting enough money to take with you. A few tips on how I make time and money to travel as often as I do:

From my trip to Reykjavik, Iceland; October 2012

1. Book in advance.

this is a life-saver for me. I book my airfare, hotel, car, museums, sight-seeing, etc in advance, before I leave for my trip. I usually try and do this a month or more in advance. When it comes time to travel, I have a good cash flow because I’m not having to spend my cash on things that can sometimes be the most expensive part of a trip.

2. Research the Airlines.

Many airlines run deals for very limited amounts of time. A few airlines have deals when you sign up for a credit card. I use Spirit Air. I know their airline is not the swankiest, but my gosh, it is the cheapest. I do not have a credit card with airline advantages, so Spirit Air is the next best thing. I went to San Francisco from Dallas for less than $150 on Spirit, while other airlines were going to charge over $300 for a round-trip flight. The key to Spirit Air is booking one way at a time – they usually do deals every week and in my experience one way goes on sale, then the other way goes on sale a couple of weeks later!

My friend Tori & I in San Francisco. I stayed with her, which saved me a good chunk of change!

3. Travel with a buddy! 

Traveling with one person or more helps cut costs SO MUCH. I prefer to travel alone, but when I do travel with friends, it helps tremendously on things like car rentals, hotels, etc. Staying with friends is also a money-saver.

4. Use Social Networking.

I have used CouchsurfingAirbnbRelayRides & other social networks to help make my travel cheaper, easier and more fun. In Iceland, I stayed with a host who contacted me on Couchsurfing and it was such a fun experience! The locals always know the best places and hidden gems within their city. These social networks are designed to not only be a better and sometimes cheaper option, but you also get to meet people and add to the travel community.

Skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; March 2013 – paid cash during the whole trip because I budgeted it into my expenses the previous month.

5. Budget in your travel as part of your monthly expenses

This is probably the KEY to why I am able to travel. Setting aside time and money for my future travel adventures is part of my monthly income. I don’t have a new car, I don’t go out drinking, I don’t dine out often – and all of these little things help me have more money for travel. Many people tell me how jealous they are that I get to travel so often – but I manage my finances so that I CAN travel. I pay my bills first, then go grocery shopping, and whatever is left is adventure money! I do have a credit card that I use when I’m traveling and before I book another trip I pay that card off. This method has worked for me over the last year and I have no travel debts that last longer than a couple of weeks.

I hope this helps! Anyone have any other tips for budgeting their travel?

<3 Tiffiny

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