How To Travel On A Small Budget

People used to call airlines directly to book flights. The most you could wish for was a small discount if you knew a pilot or flight attendant who could pass their discounts on to you, or if you were a ‘frequent flyer’ you might earn a free trip somewhere in the continental United States. Then online booking became popular. But what about getting great deals on travel, hotels, flights, cruises, rental cars, excursions and the like? Check out these helpful tips to help you save money, time, and travel hassles.

1. Don’t go it alone

Single travelers can expect to pay 25% to 50% more for hotel rooms and lodging overall. Think about it from a lodging owner. He could rent you a cabin in the Alps or Lake Tahoe, and you’d be paying through the nose as a single traveler because you’d bring in less tourist business to the surrounding restaurants, events, and nightlife. That profit has to be recouped somehow, and yeah, you guessed it, you’re the one paying for it. If you travel with others, it’s easy enough to coordinate who gets a more private/larger room in the inn if that’s what you’re after by traveling solo. Do yourself a favor and be sociable. It’ll save you a pretty penny.

2. Use a VPN service

When you’re researching flight costs, use a VPN service to conceal your identity and also save some money. Booking a flight from Fargo, North Dakota, could be more expensive than booking that same flight from Los Angeles. Why? As algorithms determine flight costs, your location is just one component of that equation. Airlines and booking websites know your IP address. When you search the internet from a different server location, that algorithm will calculate a flight cost based on the location of your chosen server, not your physical location.

3. Travel during “off” seasons

For instance, Vermont and other parts of New England are bustling with leaf peepers in the fall and ski bunnies in the winter. Planning a spring or summer trip there could save you double-digit percentages on your travel budget. Not only that, you’ll avoid the on-season crowds.

4. Hang with the locals

Enjoy the local food scene away from tourists. Check with your hotel’s front desk or concierge to find out where the locals eat. For example, the night markets in many Asian cities and villages are teaming with bustling food stands serving neighborhood delicacies, hangover cures, and cheap eats. In Thailand, you could feast on chilled mango slivers atop sticky rice drizzled with coconut milk. In Japan, crispy mochi is sticky rice that’s been pounded into glutinous rounds that are heated over an open flame: scorched and crispy on the outside, unbelievably sticky on the inside, and savory when dipped in soy sauce. Reserve a mini-fridge and microwave in your room so you can enjoy leftovers.

5. Use discounts

If you’ve got a student or a senior citizen traveling with you, their IDs could garner you discounts on tours, museum visits, bus travel, and more. Another option for saving money on admission to theaters, historical sites, concerts and the like is to buy group tickets. If you’re a single or a couple, befriend other travelers at your hotel and team up to buy a group lot of tickets.

Do yourself a favor: research before you buy. It’s a skill that will help you keep within your travel budget, and you can use the money you save to travel more! What’s not to love about that?