How to stretch your travel budget

Traveling can be expensive, sure, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be that way as a rule of thumb. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of ways in which you can enjoy activity filled vacations in comfortable accommodations without breaking the bank. Let’s take a look at the ways in which that’s possible so that you can enjoy travel ballin’ on a budget:

Formulate a Budget and Stick to it

This sounds like common sense but trust us on this one.. When you are traveling it’s easy to justify purchase decisions with the argument “I’m on vacation!”. These three little words become your answer and reasoning to virtually every question.

You decide to buy that quirky looking scarf (despite having approximately 976 scarves at home) “because you’re on vacation”, you ask for another $15 Pina Colada “because you’re on vacation” – the list goes on and on. Establish how much you want to spend each day and stick to it. Document your outgoings in a little notebook or in the “notes” section of your phone as necessary.

Take an Annoying Flight Route

Okay, not one of those routes that you see suggested on Skyscanner that take 45 hours and have 4 transfers (and they just go from LA to New York!), but if you are willing to trade in a little of your comfort in exchange for value then you can certainly save some money on flights.

Often if you opt to take a flight that is indirect (ie, you have to transfer to another plane at some point) then the journey is much cheaper than taking a non-stop, direct flight. It’s important to weigh up precisely how much money you are saving this way though as some journeys may cause you more inconvenience than they are worth.

Come Without Baggage

You’re going away for seven days, do you really need so many shoe choices and outfit options? It’s heartbreaking to choose between items and leave some of your favorite outfits feeling neglected and left out back at home in your wardrobe but depending on the airline that you are traveling with, you may be able to save money on baggage.

Most airlines offer a relatively generous carry on allowance (circa 10kg and upwards) and so, you have the potential to make some good savings by not paying for a checked bag. This comes with the added bonus that there is less for you to lug around!

Consider Travel Credit Cards

Having a credit card does not mean instant debt, particularly if you are smart about it and pay your balance odd in full each month. Some travel credit cards offer you airline mile points in exchange for purchases made on the card – even if they are completely unrelated to travel like grocery shopping or replacing towels at Bed Bath & Beyond.

All you have to do is use the card for making the bulk of your purchase, consistently pay off the balance and voila – free flights! Some travel credit cards also offer double points if you book flights or a hotel with the card.

Reconsider Your Accommodation Choices

A luxury boutique hotel is lovely, sure. Who doesn’t go crazy about those teeny tiny bottles of fancy toiletries and the complimentary snacks left out to welcome you? That said, how much time do you actually spend based at your hotel when you are on vacation? Really you should want to spend the majority of your time outside your hotel room sightseeing, immersing yourself in the local culture, and learning about the destinations you visit, not in that king’s size tub drinking champagne.

Instead of a hotel, consider self catered apartments where you can reduce your accomodation costs and indirectly, your food bill since you have the opportunity to cook for yourself rather than constantly dining out at restaurants. For the young or solo adventurers, there is also couchsurfing where you have the opportunity to stay with a local for free in a form of cultural exchange.

All inclusive resorts can also be an option since they are, well, all inclusive! Once you have booked your resort then you know that all of your meals and accommodation is covered for and so the additional expenses you need to consider are minimal. All-inclusive resorts are also great vacation spots for kids since there is plenty to keep them occupied, and they can go off and socialize with other kids while parents enjoy a little alone time.

Shop at Local Markets

In some countries, street food culture is huge and you can get a delicious and filling meal for less than a dollar or two.  Many street food markets also sell fresh produce at cheaper rates than the supermarkets and other large stores and so these are great places to pick up groceries if you have opted to stay self catered.

Head to a More Economical Destination

Two weeks by the sea at a resort in the Caribbean will be enough to make you and your bank account cry. Two weeks at a beach side resort in South East Asia however? A completely different ballgame!

Consider what qualities and activities you are looking for on your vacation and plan your destination accordingly. In some parts of the world you can get much more return on your dollar while still enjoying a pleasant or luxurious experience. Keep these tips in mind for your next trip and save some money.


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