If you’re someone who gets the traveler’s bug often, then you definitely know the financial burden that comes with travel. Many choose to bear that burden, allowing their wanderlust to take them anywhere regardless of the cost. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if traveling didn’t always have to be a huge splurge? If it were just a little bit more affordable?
Fortunately, if you have a traveler’s heart, there are ways to make your trips more wallet friendly. No matter where you’re off to next, here are six ways to make it more affordable.
1. Look at All Your Options for Where to Stay
Choosing the perfect destination is key to planning an unforgettable vacation. But once you pick a destination, you also need to decide where to stay. This is an important decision that will greatly impact your trip, given you’ll spend a lot of time there. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming and exhausting looking for the right place to stay.
Start by laying out all of your options — mix it up with hotels, homes, condos, etc. You could even look into vacation home co-ownership. Then, narrow it down to a few of your top choices, deciding which place provides the most value for your dollar. The best bang for your buck will be budget-friendly but will also have everything you need.
2. Learn How to Score Cheap Flights
Now that you have a destination and place to stay, how do you plan to get to your destination? Unless you’re planning a mini road trip, flying is usually the popular option. But flights also tend to be expensive. Waiting too long to book or choosing a popular destination can mean paying a pretty penny for flights.
When purchasing flights, don’t go into it blind. Be mindful of the tips and tricks that can help you save money and score the best possible deal. Research the best times to buy flights. Should you wait? Should you book now? Is there a certain day of the week you should book flights? Flight price tracking apps can help automate this process for you to make it easier.
3. Consider Different Times of the Year
If your travel plans aren’t time sensitive, then you should definitely consider being flexible about the dates. It could end up saving you a ton of money. Be open to the idea of changing up the days, the week, or even the month of your trip.
For example, traveling to Europe is typically more affordable in the late fall and winter months. The summer months are tourist season, and the prices for traveling across the pond reflect this. The weather is absolutely beautiful during those months. Plus, with many European cities being so walkable, sightseers want nice weather to wander. If you’re planning to go to visit family or stay inside museums, a little bad weather might not matter.
4. Work in Exchange for Accommodations
Everyone loves to relax and unwind on vacation. However, if you love traveling and don’t mind working in exchange for accommodation, you may be in luck. These arrangements are actually very common. Essentially, a host will provide you with a place to stay in exchange for some type of work for a set number of hours per week.
First, determine the places you’re interested in visiting. Then, look for work exchanges in that location that align with your skills and interests. You may be surprised at what you find. Hospitality services, cleaning and housekeeping, bartending, language teaching, childcare, and community service are all common jobs you might find.
5. Build a Vacation Budget for Your Trip
Whether you’re traveling or not, it’s always important to budget. It’s a crucial financial skill to have for when it does come time to plan a trip. When you’re planning your next vacation, start a budget just for that trip. Your budget during the months leading up to your trip can help you save money. Set aside that money in a vacation fund — you’ll need it for food, excursions, etc.
You can also take this a step further by creating a budget before your trip that breaks down your expenses. Even if you’re the type to go with the flow, it might be time to turn over a new leaf. Planning a trip can save you money; plus, you won’t feel as stressed trying to plan a trip on the fly. Make reservations at restaurants, plan experiences, shopping days, and so on. By planning ahead, you can more accurately predict how much you’ll spend on your trip.
6. Stay Open Minded About Destinations
Too often, people hear about travel and immediately think of dollar signs. It’s seen as something only those with a lavish lifestyle can afford. But anyone can travel if they plan accordingly and do it the smart way. You just have to budget, plan, and stay open-minded. But not just about the timing of the trips and the places you stay. You should also be flexible about destinations.
Sure, the well-known destinations are always pricier. And there’s a reason why they’re so popular. They’re amazing! But the world has a lot of amazing places. If you’re not able to afford your dream vacation just yet, look into other cities. Just because you’ve never heard of a city doesn’t mean it doesn’t have great things to offer. Research underrated destinations — you may be surprised at what you find (and even more surprised by the prices).
Money doesn’t have to be a barrier when planning your next vacation. At one point in time, you may have purchased an extravagant getaway. But even if you enjoyed every minute of that trip, the financial burden is a lot to bear. Don’t let money trigger you this time around. When planning your next vacation, be smart and find ways to cut back. It’ll be unforgettable and affordable.