How to travel on a budget: our 11 best tips
Travel on a budget without sacrificing your comfort is perfectly doable if you use our best tips. The 7th tip is certainly the most important.
1. Be flexible on the destination and the date
When you are looking for how to travel on a budget, being flexible on your destination already allows you to save a lot of money.
Be flexible not only on the destination, but also on the trip date, will allow you to save up to more than 50% on the normal price.
There are so many countries to discover: so go where airlines offer you the best rates of the moment.
Visit Bangkok for less than €400, Rio de Janeiro for €200, Singapore or Saigon for less than €500!
If you want to travel on a budget, it is better to be flexible on the dates of departure and return flight. Plane tickets are always cheaper when you buy them around noon or in the weekend.
Search engines like Kayak allow you to search prices throughout the month and find the cheapest dates. For one week stays, Sunday and Wednesday offers are usually at a better price.
2. When it comes to travel on a budget, do the job yourself
Review our article on how to travel on a budget with cheap airline tickets:
Do not book with a travel agency.
Use a flight search tool to compare prices.
Our favorite one is always Kayak because it allows you to find prices for different dates at a time.
Thanks to a fantastic tool like the Kayak Explorer, it is easy to understand how to travel on a budget.
3. Do the job yourself (bis)
Do not expect that anyone else but yourself will really take care of your wallet.
Learn how to find an online hotel to travel on a budget:
4. Do the job yourself (ter)
Don’t be afraid to book and organise everything yourself.
At first, learning how to travel on a budget might seem a little intimidating.
But the online search tools and especially the recommendations you will find (certainly on Booking.com) make your job easy, pleasant and interesting.
Start by buying a good book on where you want to go.
The Lonely Planet guides are our favorite. They offer reliable info.
Very often, we buy only a one way plane ticket (or train ticket), and spend our first nights in a comfortable hotel. After that we can stay a little longer or go somewhere else.
5. Stay loyal to an airline alliance
If for the same price and same level comfort, you can choose a flight with an airline alliance with which you have already earner air miles, do it.
You can easily accumulate the amount of air miles necessary to get a free flight.
And above all, pay with a good credit card like American Express linked to an airline: your air miles will double each time you book a flight!
6. Travel on a budget, yes, but don’t be stingy
Nobody likes misers.
And they do not love themselves.
If you travel on a budget, you want to spend your money on the best rates and still travel comfortably.
Finding out how to travel for less money is a real philosophy of life.
Determine what is important to you, and save on what interests you less. For some that means nice hotels, and for others perhaps museums or nightlife.
Spend the money that you save this way o what gives you the greatest pleasure.
A good beer on the beach? Or go diving to see turtles?
Travel hacking is a method to learn how to travel on a budget and bring your travel costs as close to zero as possible, without sacrificing your happiness and level of comfort. Quite the contrary.
Some go very far.
They spend hours and hours finding a flight that ultimately costs €50 less, and fly in a surreal way, for example flying ‘from Paris to New York via Bangkok’, to earn 100 extra air miles on their flight.
They meticulously go through airline rules and regulations in order to find away to save €10.
This is not what we do.
Our goal in our research on how to travel on a budget is to get there as quickly as possible, with the best available level of comfort, at the best price.
But even so there is little effort needed to save a lot of money by doing it right!
7. Travel in low season
This is rule number 1 if you want to travel on a budget.
And that counts for airline tickets as well as accommodation or all inclusive holidays. Prices are always a result of supply and demand.
So if you still want to travel in the summer, try to book from June to mid July or in September.
In general, the months of October and November are the best months to travel on a budget.
8. Go on a trip in cheap countries
This is the easiest way to travel on a budget.
To find a cheap stay, avoid Scandinavia, Canada, Japan or South Africa, and countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India, Greece, Bolivia and others.
Among the really cheap countries we have traveled to recently, we can recommend Vietnam, Malaysia, Greece and Spain.
9. Plan long in advance or find a (real) last minute
These are the two easiest ways to travel on a budget: book long in advance, or at the very last minute.
Look on Booking.com which cheap rooms have not been booked yet.
10. Be ready to discover original destinations
To travel on a budget, it is better to go to countries or cities that are less known.
For example, rather than going to major cities in Europe like London, Paris, Rome or Amsterdam, consider visiting less touristic and equally interesting cities like Manchester in England, Naples in Italy or Antwerp in Belgium.
11. Consider going to ‘more riskier’ countries
No, we don’t recommend to go to countries that are at war or very unstable like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.
However the negative news of the last few months and years has kept travelers from going to certain destinations like Tunisia, Egypt, Sri Lanka or Turkey.
We can understand the apprehension that limits the desire to go to these countries. Statistically the risk remains very low of ‘being in the wrong place at the wrong time’. Tragedies can also very well happen in Paris, Washington, Brussels or just any other ‘safe’ city.
We were in Brussels just 10 days after the terrorist attacks in March 2016 and the hotels cut their room rates in half.
In addition, continuing to travel despite terrorist threats supports the tourism sector of countries and cities that are already affected.
You will not always win when you travel on a budget
When you are looking for how to travel travel on a budget, you will sometimes make a wrong decision. Things sometimes don’t go as planned, even if you are experienced.
It happens to everyone.
You might buy tickets for an excursion for $100, and you will discover by talking with other people in your group that they have paid only half of that.
But don’t let that affect your happiness.
You can’t always win, but you can control your emotions.
Learn from it.
Tomorrow is another day.
We hope these tips are helpful.
If you have any other tips on how to travel on a budget, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments.