Even if you’re still wearing sweaters, spring has officially arrived. That means longer days, warmer temps and most importantly, planning summer vacations. However, there may be one thing that’s dampening your mood, and that’s your finances. If you have your heart set on traveling but aren’t short on cash, all hope isn’t lost. Read on to learn our tips for traveling on a budget.
Create a Travel Plan
Traveling on a budget starts with financial planning. When you have money to spare, how much you spend might not be a big deal. However, when money is tight, you need to account for every penny.
Even before you choose a destination, you need to look at your finances. Identify areas where you can spend less. If you’re currently paying high interest on your credit cards, reach out and ask if they can lower your rate. If you’ve been paying on student loans for a while but don’t seem to be making headway, you could look into student loan refinance options. If your loans are in good standing, you may be able to roll your current loans into a new one with better repayment terms and lower interest rates as well.
Book Your Trip in Advance
You should try to book your trip in advance. While you can score last-minute deals, you usually save more when you book early. In addition, planning your vacation early gives you enough time to cancel pre-existing reservations if you happen to find a better deal. This can also give you an opportunity to choose the best hotel for your budget since often there is only a small fee to hold the reservation and full payment is not due until check in.
Travel Off Season
It’s been said many times before, however, it bears repeating: travel during the offseason. Peak travel season starts in April and runs all the way through the end of August, so pushing your trip out just a few weeks can cut the cost in half. In fact, if you’re looking to go somewhere tropical, it’s better to go right before or right after the summer season. The prices are lower, and the weather is much more pleasant as well.
Use SkyScanner or Hopper
If you don’t mind sitting in economy, you should download SkyScanner or Hopper. Both apps deliver real-time results of the low-cost flights, which means you could book a round-trip ticket to France for under $700. You may even be lucky enough to find an upgraded seat for a lower price.
Pack Light and Right
Regardless of where you want to go, you need to pack light. Far too often, we overpack, which leads to being overcharged at the airport. Instead, you should only pack the bare necessities. You can always buy a couple of t-shirts or toiletries when you arrive at your destination. You also need to pack your suitcase properly. Invest in packing cubes to keep your suitcase organized and actually create enough space for everything you want to take.
Travel For the Experience
When traveling, you should focus on the experience, not material goods. While staying in luxury accommodations is nice, it shouldn’t be the reason why you travel. Look for low-cost hotels that are comfortable and affordable.