Are you looking for tips for traveling without breaking the bank? Being financially independent also means being free to travel anytime you want. Travel must not impact your cash flow, at least, not too much. Here are some tips to achieve that.
Do your research
Start planning far in advance. Prepare a spreadsheet with all the expenses (hotels, transportation, meals, etc.) and see how much the holiday will cost you. When you have a good idea of the cost, it is easy to come up with a plan on how to cover those costs. Our favorite way of doing it is to divide the expenses by the number of months we have before we have to pay the full amount and start saving that every month. Sometimes you have to prepay for some items, make sure to include those in the spreadsheet and mark them paid as you go.
In many areas of the world, you have a high, low, and shoulder season in between. For example, the shoulder season in Europe is March/April and October/November. And you can get cheap Caribbean vacations in the fall. Traveling during shoulder season, the weather isn’t too bad, hotels and flights are cheaper so it won’t break the bank. Also, cities are not too crowded with tourists, and the lines to get into museums or attractions are usually shorter.
Book at the last minute
Flights are usually cheaper when booked far in advance (6 months to a year in advance) or at the very last minute. If you can take advantage of this opportunity, you can travel more without breaking the bank and save a lot of money. One way is to use Google Flights to find cheap flights and then open up the calendar to see the pricing schedule.
Travel off the beaten path without breaking the Bank!
There are many amazing places to visit that are “off the beaten path”. Indeed, they usually cost a fraction of the well-known tourist attractions. In Europe, staying in small towns outside the main tourist cities and taking a commuter train into town in the morning can be very advantageous. In countries like Italy, some areas offer farm stay (agriturismo in Italian). Usually, these farms are quite beautiful, and traveling to one won’t break the bank. A quick train ride will take you to the city center to visit.
Consider all-inclusive travel options
If you have can choose an all-inclusive option, go for it. An all-inclusive option makes budgeting for your trip much easier since you don’t have to consider all the extra costs (food, drinks, etc.) For example, in Europe, many hotels offer breakfast free. And even better, sometimes you can choose a second meal included (most often lunch). Indeed, all-inclusive travel options are a great way to travel and not break the bank.
Most cities in Europe and South-East Asia are built on the ocean or very close by. Indeed, this makes cruising in those areas extremely advantageous. Your cruise fare includes all your meals, transportation, and entertainment. Also, you don’t have to deal with multiple currencies. Indeed, it’s because onboard, USD is generally the single-used currency. And my favorite thing about cruising is that you don’t have to pack and unpack several times. Yes, your resort takes you to a new destination daily.
Consider visiting a museum, free of charge
Did you know that thousands of museums worldwide offer free local museum passes, courtesy of their corporate sponsors? Also, consider visiting a virtual museum at home, before visiting in real life. This way, you can plan out all the exhibits you want to see.
Use public transit
If you’re traveling to a big city, familiarise yourself with their public transit system. For example, check online for timetables, maps, and routes. To be sure, it’s not only quicker (you don’t need to find a taxi), but also, it is usually rather inexpensive. To be sure, many cities offer a transit pass that covers all day or several days.
Avoid tourist traps!
When you travel, avoid the major tourist traps. Yes, the wax museum might seem unusual, but did you go halfway around the world to see an attraction that exists in every single city of the world? If you decide to do the gondola ride in Venice or travel on a Tuk Tuk in Bangkok, ask for the price in advance, you don’t want the bank to break when you arrive. If you decide to bring home some souvenirs, avoid gift shops. Instead, go to a local supermarket, you will be able to find the same fridge magnet for a fraction of the price.
Use social media
Before you go on a trip, check travel groups on Facebook, and ask for recommendations. For example, if you’ve never been to a particular place, people will be happy to help. Indeed, they will chime in on what to visit or where to go or how to travel around. People are usually more than happy to give you a lot of tips that will save you time and money.
Eat like the locals
When you are traveling and you see a restaurant that offers North American food, especially if they have photos, stay away. Those restaurants usually target tourists, and the prices are often higher than average. It’s also a great idea to try the local food. For example, if a city has a market, the food there is excellent and affordable. Eating like a local is a great way to travel without breaking the bank.
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Check your travel insurance policy terms and conditions
Your travel insurance package with work or your credit card might cover for medical problems while traveling abroad. Always check with your insurer to see the coverage. Indeed, by doing so, you will avoid surprises. If you don’t have a travel insurance package included, shop around there are several places that offer travel insurance at a very affordable rate.
Use travel points
Collect loyalty points with your favorite Airline or credit card if you can. Using points is a great way to travel without breaking the bank as you’ll save money with flights, car rentals, and hotels. However, the key to using points is being flexible with traveling to avoid blackout dates.
Final thoughts about traveling without breaking the bank
Above all, travel safely, enjoy and bring home a lot of fun memories.