Tips On How To Travel On A Budget
Don’t Pack Your Debt on Vacation!
They say, “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. Now, while we love that concept, we at Yofii like to think we know a thing or two about finances. That’s why we’re back with a guide on how to travel on a budget! If you weren’t the lucky, lucky, and I mean the lucky winner of an all-expense-paid trip, traveling can be very expensive. But what about people with other circumstances, like those of us who are lucky enough to have a sugar daddy or sugar momma? Well, those people are excluded, but for the rest of us, traveling can be very expensive!
Now at times, the best thing you could do for your mental health is to take a summer getaway. We’re not alone in this sentiment, 71% of Americans plan to take a vacation this summer. According to a survey conducted by Discover, summer travel is up 58% from last year. Life can be stressful whether that’s due to work, family or finances. Many people like to travel to get away from their stress, so how do you ensure your travel choices don’t increase your financial stress?
Here Are Some Yofii Pro-Tips:
Tip 1: Be Aware of Your Financial Situation and Travel Budget
It’s 2019 and we all want to ‘live our best life’. In the age of social media, it’s easy to feel major FOMO when we see our family, friends, and favorite influencers on traveling to exotic places and living seemingly lavish lifestyles. Ready for the catch? What you see on social media isn’t always real and trying to copy those things while you’re trying to stick to a budget can land you in a messy financial situation. We need to learn how to travel on a budget if we truly want to ‘live our best life’!
Before you book a trip, you should always review how much money you can spend on your trip. Review how much money you have in your savings, and then review which destinations and vacations fit within your budget. If you’re living in the US, a trip to Santorini, Greece is drastically more expensive than a weekend trip to your local beach town. When you’re looking at your savings, calculate: how much money you will need to travel to your destination, how much money you will need for your hotel, and finally how much money you will need for all of the fun stuff like food, activities, and more.
Once you’ve estimated how much money you will need for your vacation, increase your budget by a little more just in case you run into unexpected issues or unanticipated expenses. Vacations should be a time when you enjoy yourself and relax, not stress yourself out!
Last but not least, keep in mind how you plan on financing your trip. Are you paying for everything upfront with money you’ve set aside for travel? Are you paying for your vacation a credit card? If you’re paying for your vacation with a credit card, how quickly do you expect to pay off the balance? Will you pay for your vacation using a payment plan and making incremental payments? Are you paying for some of your vacation upfront, and paying the remaining expenses when you arrive at your destination?
As you can see, vacations aren’t simple. It is best to measure 1,000 times and cut once than cut 1,000 times and measure once!
Tip 2: Properly Plan Your Vacation
What’s the most important part of booking your vacation? Property planning and researching your trip! This is the next step in learning how to travel on a budget. The prices for transportation, hotels, and food can vary drastically depending on where you’re traveling. You should have a solid idea of how expensive things will be at your destination, and take that into consideration.
When researching your trip use as many booking tools as possible.
- Skyscanner is an awesome tool for looking at prices on flights to different destinations and picking the best day to travel at the best price.
- Expedia is an awesome tool for looking at prices on hotels.
- Airbnb is an awesome place for finding someone who is open to sharing their home or renting an entire apartment. In some instances, this may actually be your cheapest option.
- Turo is an awesome place for renting cars at great rates, think of Airbnb for car rentals!
- National is another awesome place to rent cars from a major car rental hub.
If you plan on driving your own car to your destination, make sure your car is properly maintained so you don’t have to worry about unexpected surprises. Gas prices can change drastically depending on where you’re going, and if your car consumes a lot of gas, it may make sense to rent a car.
If you’re not a driver, think through the best transportation options when you arrive at your destination, for example, taxi, rental, bus, ferries, trains, etc. At the least, you should try to calculate how much it will cost to get to your hotel(s) from the airport and what transportation you’ll use when you arrive.
Professional travelers like to compare prices ahead of time to reduce confusion in a new place and stick to their budget.
Now the fun part, where are you going to eat!? When planning trips, it’s a great idea to look into what options are available for restaurants in the area you’re staying. Some resorts and hotels offer all-inclusive packages where you don’t have to pay for food or drinks, but this isn’t everywhere.
Google and Trip Advisor can be your best friend when you want to research local food options in your vacation area. On Google, you can also pin the restaurants you want to visit for ease of access. If you’re anything like us, you’re a free spirit when you’re on vacation and love to go where the wind takes you. If you end up in an area where you don’t have any food places, walk into restaurants, ask for menus, review the prices, and see if those places fit within your budget before you commit.
Last but not least, when you’re planning your trip make sure you take into account the peak vacation season for your destination. Peak vacation season trips are usually more expensive and will greatly reduce your budget for the trip!
Pro tip: Are you more of the spontaneous type? Many airlines offer last-minute deals on flights. By all means, if you find something within your budget and you’re able to do it…DO IT! Make sure you read ALL of the fine print and you’re aware of any additional costs. If everything checks out, go for it! We love random trips!
Tip 3: Cut Costs Where Possible
Pro travelers love cutting costs. It is a crucial skill that must be mastered when learning how to travel on a budget! When it comes to traveling in groups, the more the merrier for your budget! Traveling with friends often helps with splitting the costs for lodging and food. Do you have friends who like to travel? They may have a buddy pass you can take advantage of! Do you have friends who like accumulating points on their credit cards? If your friend is open to it, have them pay for the flights or hotel upfront and pay them back as soon as possible.
A few other cost-cutting tips you can follow for your next vacation:
- If you’re staying at a hotel and breakfast is included, eat breakfast at your hotel,
- Use public transportation or ride-share instead of private transportation.
- Check multiple sites for hotel and flight packages. You can save a lot of money when you book a package instead of separately. See above for some recommendations.
- Avoid getting a vacation wardrobe! Wear what you already have, you’re in a new place, those people won’t know your old clothes are old!
- Stay open-minded. At times you may need to be flexible with your expectations. That dream oceanfront room may need to be replaced with a more affordable hotel room that’s a few blocks from the ocean. Your first-class seat may need to be a basic economy seat. The best experience doesn’t always have to be the most expensive. Once you achieve financial freedom, you can get the best of everything!
- Monitor your cell phone roaming charges! Some companies will charge up to a dollar per minute spent on a phone call and even more for data!
Tip 4: Watch Out For Hidden Fees And Unanticipated Costs
How many times have you been caught off guard by hidden fees? If you say never, that’s probably because you never noticed these hidden fees! We all know the feeling when we have to pay unanticipated costs. When you’re vacationing, make sure you read everything! If you take your time to read the hotel contract, terms of your airline tickets, or anything else you’re reserving you’ll make sure you’re not blindsided when your time to travel comes!
Some great questions to ask when booking your travel:
- Does the airline charge extra to check a bag?
- What taxes and fees does the hotel charge?
- Are there any additional fees that may pop up on the hotel bills that aren’t already included in the per-night prices?
Last but certainly not least, make sure you bring emergency money with you while you’re on vacation. Life happens whether you’re home or on vacation. If something unexpected comes up while you’re traveling, it’s always great to have emergency money to cover these expenses.
Financial Freedom = FREEDOM
Travel is one of the best things for many people’s lives. We at Yofii love traveling! No really, you should see our passports! It’s our job to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt. It’s important to keep these things in mind when you’re looking to make major life decisions like planning a vacation. If you can stay within your budget, achieving debt freedom should be a breeze. A debt-free life allows you to do all of the things you want to do!
Want some guidance on how to save up for your next vacation? Check out our post on budgeting! We believe in you, get started living your best life!