The Ultimate Guide: How To Travel On a Budget

traveling on a budget

How Can I Travel On A Budget?

Although it may seem like a stretch, there are dozens of different routes to take on the way to save your precious, well-earned finances while also scratching that travel itch.

Studies have shown that time and time again millennials choose prioritizing experiences over buying material possessions. A recent study on CNBC found that 72% of millennials prioritize experiences such as travel, skydiving, festivals, etc. over material things. The millennial mentality on finances has been described as “Money made for memories.” Millennials are always looking for new ways on how to travel on a budget.

With these experiences, a good majority of them come from the strong desire for travel exploration. However, we all know that planning a trip and booking a flight can be as expensive as deciding to invest in name brand appliances, accessories, clothing and so on.

These misconceptions about traveling being too costly or the ability to have enough time available to permit a leisurely trip discourages many people from ever leaving their homes.

I’m here to tell you that creating those Instagram worthy travel experiences IS possible! And the best way to crush your travel goals is to plan!

It may not sound too appealing right now, but it’s the only way you’re going to be able to get all the passport stamps your heart desires! Read on and learn how to travel on a budget!

Here’s a full guide that will help you get started, and level up when it comes to collecting those travel stamps in your passport without collecting a mountain of debt to go with it.

how to travel on a budget

How To Travel on a Budget Summary

Know Where You’re Going

Plan the Budget

Credit Cards

Travel Options

Find a Place to Stay

Plan Your Time Off (Skip this one if you can work remotely or have unlimited vacation)

Consider a Staycation

travelling on a budget

Know Where You’re Going

Steve Jobs said it best when he stated:

“You have to start with the customer experience and
work backwards to the technology.”

Don’t focus on vacation days, holidays, or logistics (yet), first just simply figure out where you want to go.

The first step in how to travel on a budget: Try to get your top three destinations nailed down.

This is an important first step for several reasons. After you do your research on where you want to go, you’re going to be more energized and motivated to make it happen.

But nowadays, Millennials have shown that they want to travel differently than the generations before them (and responsibly). No more vacations at a fancy all-inclusive resort in Cancun and staying poolside. Instead, they want to travel like a local and get an insider taste of different cultures.

With that in mind, when you do your research, make sure to read reviews from Millennials like yourself and not from the 60-year-olds who have extremely different views of the world and traveling than you do. Also, seek to travel with companions that share your vision and passions but who also try to keep the money local to the countries they’ve visited.

If it’s hard for a travel goal to feel like a potential reality because you’re worried about your work schedule, start with what motivates you: travel! Don’t get bogged down by all the stressors.

Once you solidify your top three destinations, consider the following steps for each of them.



Plan the Budget

Usually, budgeting sucks, but this is the most important part of breaking down how you will make your trip feasible on a tight budget and crush your travel goals!

You know where you want to go and now you get to do the research on how to get there.

Learn about the country you want to visit and figure out the total cost of the trip. There are plenty of different ways to handle the financial part of the planning.

travelling on a budget


Credit Cards

How to travel on a budget with credit cards: Yes, we do not want to abuse them, but the costs can be easily justified depending on the means. If you’re looking to open a credit card, make sure you get one with amazing travel benefits. Some great choices are Chase Sapphire, American Express, or Bank Americard. If you have a specific airline you prefer to fly with, they typically partner with Visa or MasterCard for their own credit lines, and you can earn points while also earning flight miles!

The key rule is to read all the terms as well as rules of earning rewards and points. You want to be sure that you get the most beneficial, obtainable, and manageable plan for you. However, if you’re like myself and aren’t dedicated to one airline, I have a rewards program with multiple airlines without dedicating to an actual credit card. I still accumulate those points anytime I book a flight, but I’m not using them for my primary credit line.

Here’s an example, Southwest Airlines (which is my personal favorite because of the capability of changing flights with minimal penalty) has a rewards program with which I was able to book a round-trip flight during their flash sales for free! Free using my points, that is. It’ll take some research to find the right plan for you, but it’ll be worth it once you start hopping from country to country.

travelling on a budget


Travel Options

Speaking of Flash Sales, signing up for Airline notifications when certain airlines typically have their sales is beneficial for trips. Airlines like Delta or Southwest have flash sales on specific flights to and from certain locations and during specific time frames. So, when you book between August – September to fly during August – December they are usually heavily discounted. With the new tech-savvy era we live in, information is accessible at our fingertips.

Information such as discount travel sites like Kayak, Priceline, Expedia, and mobile apps like Skyscanner, AirFareWatchDog, FareCompare, and Hopper help you find, watch and book cheaper flights or get cheaper rates on the flights you really want. Other travel options such as Boltbus and Megabus are great for road tripping with friends within states or renting a car with Enterprise, Hertz, and Alamo. You can finally mark off “inexpensive flights” from your how to travel on a budget checklist.

travelling on a budget


Find A Place to Stay

Now that you’ve booked your flight, it’s time for us to discuss where you’re going to stay. The first thing I primarily do when deciding where to go is WHO do I know that lives there, or has someone in their extended network stayed there?

It’s simple, say you’ve got a good friend from college that you haven’t seen or even spoken to in some time. Hit that person up! Be friendly, warm, and butter them up. And I’m not saying use and abuse people that you are friends with only Instagram.

Actual people that you have built a relationship with that you can reach out to. Let them know that you’ll be visiting their city. Ask their recommendations on what to do, what to see, what to eat, and see if they open their doors to you.

Another really great option when traveling on a budget is Airbnb. I think we should all be aware of how Airbnb has grown and dominated the market. Yet people still have their reservations about staying in one. It makes sense. I mean, I can’t lie and say that sometimes my anxious paranoia doesn’t kick in and I think the house could be owned by cannibals or something. However, there are many perks to staying in an Airbnb:

  1. Access to a full kitchen (depending on which you select of course) that allows you to cut down on meal costs.
  2. Sometimes included in the price for the stay or as an additional fee, the host will prepare breakfast.
  3. Some locations you can even access some of the amenities to enhance the trip.
    • Once, I was in Cape Cod with some friends, we picked a location right off the lake. We were able to utilize a swing, hammock, canoe, kayaks, paddleboard, and a firepit!
  4. You can even ask the hosts for suggestions on places to go, how to travel, restaurants, nightlife, etc.
    • And you can ask these questions prior to getting there and booking the location.
    • I’ve even seen some Airbnb’s offer a pickup and drop off at the airport.

Want to find more ways to better organize your finances to travel more? Read this: Nxt Modern – Money


travelling on a budget


Plan Your Time Off

If you happen to work remotely or have unlimited vacation, then you can skip to this section. For the rest, it’s time to finesse that time off!

It may not seem like an important step in how you can travel on a budget, but trust me it is. The reality for many of us is that time off from work is a limited commodity. So, what’s the best way to go about getting time off from work?

First, check your company’s vacation policy. In most cases, even if you’ve used up all your paid vacation you can still ask for additional time off. The main thing to keep in mind when asking for additional time off is making sure you have a game plan for your absence before you even approach your boss.

Make sure you have someone to cover your workload while you’re gone. And/or offer to work extra hours before and after your planned vacation to compensate or complete any necessary tasks. You want to be sure that your employer is comfortable knowing that your work will be taken care of even while you’re away.

Secondly, ask at an appropriate time. Approach your boss when you think they’ll be the most receptive to hearing you out. Planning and asking as far in advance as possible is usually helpful in giving you the advantage.

So, if you start planning next year’s travels now, you can nail down your dates, request the time off, and relish in the joy of stress-free anticipation!

travelling on a budget


Consider A Staycation

A staycation is a vacation spent at or near your own home, rather than traveling to another location.

People take staycations for many reasons, including but not limited to, saving money, avoiding travel, and taking advantage of and enjoying what is available in their own town or city.

Staycations are on a rise these days as people search for ways to enjoy their vacations without going over budget. It may seem lame, but many people are so eager to get away from their hometowns that they don’t stop to consider the wonderful places that could be close by. It’s worth taking into consideration.

Now with all these tips, making excuses as to why you cannot live your dreams and explore the world should be none other than that, just a simple excuse. Use these tips on how to travel on a budget to get out there and start crushing your travel goals!

Happy Traveling!

traveling on a budget
traveling on a budget

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