Traveling on a Budget: 10 Tips to Save Money on a Trip


As inflation drives up prices, many Americans are rethinking their spending habits and making prudent lifestyle choices. So, if you are planning a vacation, it is no surprise that you would want to keep expenses low. But is it really possible to travel on a budget and enjoy a relaxing time away from home? Yes, you can with our proven tips for saving money on your trip.

1. Prepare a Budget

Before you start planning, determine how much you want to spend on the entire trip, and then work backward.

Once you set a budget, you can research a few low-cost destinations you would like to explore. Living expenses—from accommodation to food and travel—are often cheaper in places that attract fewer travelers. So, small towns not far from home are a cost-effective option to consider.

You can also find plenty of overseas destinations where expenses are significantly lower than in the USA. Select a few of these places and research the costs involved. Traveler reviews will give you helpful insights, too, especially into what you can do to keep expenses low and unexpected cost items to budget for. 

2. Travel Off-Peak

Summer and Christmas holidays are when the travel industry gets ultra-busy. As demand surges during these times, so will the prices—not the ideal scenario for budget travelers. 

If you want to keep costs low, schedule your travels for the off-peak season when prices come down due to lower demand. You will also get to enjoy your vacation in a more relaxed environment, without the large swaths of tourists encountered in busy periods.

And if you are flying, avoid traveling between Friday and Monday and plan for mid-week flights instead. These are generally cheaper and less crowded.

3. Cut Down on Luggage

Traveling light has several advantages. To begin with, you don’t need to worry about extra baggage fees, especially when you are heading back home with souvenirs and other memorabilia.

Carrying fewer belongings also gives you lots of flexibility that could ultimately translate into cost savings. For example, if you are traveling with just a backpack, you can easily hop onto a bus or train without wasting money on taxis to carry all your luggage.

4. Opt for Shared Accommodation

With hotel room rates rising by over 50% this year, accommodation can take up a sizeable chunk of your travel budget. But if you are willing to give up unnecessary luxuries for decent comforts, you can enjoy significant savings.

Many budget travelers opt for homestays and local hostels, which can help save a substantial amount of money. Couchsurfing and Airbnb are popular platforms to discover low-cost places to stay.

However, minding your safety is critical when you are using any of these options. Remember to find more information about the host before you confirm the booking. You can do this with a quick background search on Nuwber. In addition, read reviews and ratings, and avoid divulging your personal information.

5. Make Use of Discounts and Offers

Comparing prices and taking advantage of deals and promotions is also important when you are looking to keep costs low.

In addition, you may have frequent flier miles or credit cards that offer reward points or travel discounts. If you are a student, you can enjoy discounts on flights, trains, theme parks, and more. Your AAA membership could also get you price reductions at certain car rentals, hotels, and passport services.

All these will help lower your travel budget substantially.

6. Stock Up on Food

Eating out can add up to a sizeable expense if you are not careful.

The easiest way to manage this is by packing your own food and snacks. You can even cook your meals instead of dining out each time.

7. Prioritize Free Attractions

From museums and monuments to theme parks and safaris, attraction fees are often pricey at busy tourist hotspots. But there are always plenty of things to see and do for free at any destination you visit.

Hiking, camping, and sightseeing, for instance, are excellent activities to plan for when you are on a budget. All you need to do is speak to the locals, read traveler reviews, and do your own research.

8. Minimize Extra Fees

Many travelers encounter unexpected fees when vacationing overseas. Identifying these and taking steps in advance to reduce or eliminate them is important for avoiding unnecessary expenses.

For instance, using credit cards and ATMs abroad could often land you with extra charges. You can minimize them by planning expenses and carrying the required funds in cash.

Another additional cost you can incur is data and call charges. So, instead of using your US SIM, remember to purchase one locally whenever you visit another country.

9. Bargain. Bargain. Bargain.

Whether you are buying a souvenir or getting into a taxi, don’t be embarrassed to negotiate the price. In fact, haggling is expected in some countries, and you will be surprised how far it could help bring down the price.

So, start low—around half the displayed price—when making your first counteroffer. It may seem unreasonable, especially considering the market rate where you live. But that is how bargaining usually works. Also, keep in mind that rates in another country could be much lower than in the US. If you are new to haggling, find out the average going rates before approaching a vendor or service provider.

10. Act Like the Locals

Many of the services available at popular travel destinations—from hotels to restaurants—are designed to cater to tourists. So, naturally, they are much more expensive than what the local residents would pay.

If you want to save money on your trip, it is best to live like the locals. For instance, eat at local cafés; These are guaranteed to be cheaper than the ones aimed at travelers. Walk or take public transportation; It will allow you to experience the local culture at a deeper level. Avoid expensive tours and tourist guides. Instead, speak to locals and savvy travelers to learn how you could explore tourist hotspots on your own.

Wrapping Up

If you are looking to travel on a budget, there are plenty of ways to cut down costs and still ensure a memorable experience. Remember, traveling smart is all about making the best out of the available resources, knowing when to splurge and tighten your purse strings, and making prudent decisions with the help of plenty of research.



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