Many of us set goals for the new year in order to travel more; at the same time, we want to save more and improve our budgeting skills. Though it’s hard to picture accomplishing both of these goals in unison, it’s completely doable with the right wealth mindset! Traveling doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. It’s totally reasonable to travel on a budget and enjoy the finer things in life without getting set back financially.
Switching your spending mindset is going to lead you to a healthy relationship with your finances while you are traveling. You have to think about every dollar you are going to spend while traveling and how that aligns with your overall savings and budgeting plans. Thus, taking the time to plan your traveling expenses will set you up for success. Here are some valuable budget-saving tips that will help you travel more for less.
Come Up With Savings Goals
Before you even decide where you want to travel, conduct research online to determine a place that best fits your budget. Though cheap flight and lodging deals may be tempting, there are many other expenses that you will need to worry about, such as food, transportation, and activities. Search for online resources and forums to get more information on day-to-day expenses and travel recommendations so that you can make an informed decision on where you want to go.
After you have an estimated travel budget, you should determine a savings goal to work towards as you get ready for your trip. Using personal finance apps like Mint will help you stay on track for your savings goal. Just make sure these goals don’t overlap or compromise your savings goals for the rest of the year. Though it’s important to allocate a budget for your trip so that you have fun, it shouldn’t set you back to the point where it is detrimental to your financial health, leading you to financial stress. If it seems like it will, it might be a good idea to reconsider where you want to go.
Flexibility for Travel Dates and Times
You can save hundreds of dollars on airfare by making slight adjustments to your travel accommodations. Being flexible on travel dates and times, in particular, can help you score the best deals. Budget-friendly travel sites, like SkyScanner or TravelPirates, can help you compare flight prices depending on your desired departure time frame. You’ll want to compare prices for different days up to 6 or 7 days before and after your desired departure dates.
Keep in mind that traveling during high seasons is expensive and can get crowded with other tourists. Instead, traveling in the offseason can be just as rewarding and will be much more forgiving to your pockets. Just remember offseasons change from country to country.
Compare Prices for Different Airports
If you live near an airport, research their rates thoroughly. You’ll also want to see if there are any better deals at nearby airports or even a different city airport.
For example, if you’re from San Diego, driving two hours out to Los Angeles can sometimes be cheaper than flying out of one of your local airport.
Do the same for your destination airport. Oftentimes you can take taxis or shuttles from smaller cities with cheaper flights into bigger metropolitan areas to cut down on costs.
Travel Like a Local
Most popular destinations with high tourist traffic overcharge on costs. In addition, many of the restaurants and shops in those areas are less authentic as they cater to tourists rather than locals. You can find the best deals, and meals, by doing your research ahead of time and by asking locals for their recommendations.
Another way you can increase your savings while getting a more authentic experience is by using the city’s public transit system, walking, or biking to get around. Not only is it cheaper, but it also gives you an increased sense of adventure and provides new perspectives you may not get from the back of a taxi.
Choose the Best Credit Card
Getting a travel credit card can help you save heaps on future adventures. Many credit companies offer rewards programs on their travel cards that earn you mileage points, cashback, or discounts on travel-related expenses with purchases. Over time, you can save up enough points to get free or discounted flights, lodging, or other travel expenses. They also provide a ton of other benefits such as complimentary hotel stays, priority boarding, free checked bags, hotel status, and airport lounge access.
Before you begin applying, see if you qualify for any cards to help reduce costs. You also want to consider the foreign transaction rates for each card. These fees are applied to purchases you make in other countries. Though they might seem minor at first, they definitely add up in the long run.