Your Essential Living

Is It Possible to Travel on a Budget?

It’s easy to get wrapped up in Instagram and Facebook posts that show friends, family, or “influencers” traveling the world. You see swanky hotels, first-class flights, and expensive dinners every night and think travel must be so incredibly expensive.

But it doesn’t have to be! You can absolutely travel on a budget! Traveling the world isn’t just something rich retired people can do, or those deeply in debt. Let’s look at some of the best ways to save money and spend less while traveling.

Never Pay Full Price for Airline Tickets

Stop booking your tickets right now! Are you paying full price for that flight? If the answer is yes, you’re the kind of people airlines love. A total sucker, that is.

Before you hit book, try looking for a United Airlines sale or a discount code. Sales happen all the time, to dozens of destinations, so be sure to add yourself to any mailing list you can possibly find (Scott’s Cheap Flights, anyone?).

Also, use Google’s Flight tool to look at flight prices within a range, and even set notifications to when your flight drops in price. Start looking for flights a good bit “out” of your ideal time of leaving, and keep checking back. Being flexible on dates can also save you a ton of money – coming home on a Monday instead of a Sunday could save you over $100 in some cases.

Don’t Spend Thousands on a Hotel

Most of the places you’re going to go to, you don’t need a five-star hotel experience. Be honest with yourself – are you really going to take advantage of it, or is most of your time going to be spent outside of the hotel, exploring the new place you’re in?

While resorts and “destination” getaways like the Bahamas might be the exception, for the most part, you’re going to spend very little time actually in your hotel. You’re there to see the area, not the hotel room.

On top of looking for a United Airline sale for your flights, make sure you’re booking a reasonable room for a good rate. Use a third-party booking site you trust, or go to the hotel’s site directly. Find a balance between shady and maybe dirty, and obscenely expensive.

Travel With Someone You Trust

If you want to go it solo, awesome! More power to you. But know it’s going to be a lot cheaper if you can split the cost with someone else.

Half of a hotel room, splitting “groceries” for a picnic lunch, splitting cab fare… it can be significantly cheaper to travel with a friend or partner.

Just remember that traveling with someone else isn’t always sunshine and roses. Be clear about your expectations for the trip (what do you want to see? What do they want to see?), and talk about your travel style a little bit before your final booking.

There’s nothing worse than being in a foreign country and realizing you don’t want to do any of the same things your travel buddy does!

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