How to Travel Cheap | My Favorite Apps and Travel Tips

So listen. I know my last post on travel might have been a little …. harsh? For lack of a better word.

But here’s the thing. Ever since owning my own business and hustling day in and day out, I’ve become immune to excuses. I make them sometimes and then I want to smack myself out of delirium. I needed you to realize that life is made of choices. Energy flows where your attention goes and if you make travel a priority, it can and it will happen for you.

Travel on a budget

In case you need a super quick reminder; I don’t work a job that brings in a significant amount of wealth, nor does my husband. Neither of us are trust fund babies. We are just intentional with our travel plans.

The bottom line is anyone can travel. This blog is all about simplifying your life and making room for experiences and I so deeply believe everyone should experience life outside of their hometown.

I’m not going to rehash the last post, but I did promise a new post in which I would be sharing my tips and tricks for traveling on a budget.

It can be done, I swear it. This post might be a little long, but it will be packed full of valuable content, promise!

Travel on a budget

Let’s dive into the tips, shall we?

How to travel cheap

I use four different apps on my phone to track flights. I know, it’s obnoxious. There are so many different apps and websites you can use to compare prices but these are the four I swear by and my reasons why.

Fyi none of these are sponsored. I’m genuinely obsessed and look at them daily (I might have a problem?)

  • Skyscanner – Occasionally I will use Skyscanner to search for a specific location, but the real reason I love Skyscanner is because it is ideal for spontaneous travel. You can set your departure city and find the best deals for anywhere in the world. The app has lots of different sections including “explore everywhere,” “recommended destinations,” “weekend getaways,” and “best deals by month.” For example, right now I could book a spontaneous trip to Kansas City for $50 roundtrip. The app gives me the dates in which that price is available. But no worries, if you aren’t spontaneous, you can also select specific dates of travel for specific locations.how to find cheap flights
  • Airfare Watchdog – This app is best if you have a specific trip in mind. What makes it so phenomenal is that you can set alerts to see when flights go on sale for specific locations. For example, last month my husband and I went to a wedding in Houston. I set up an alert and was sent an email any time a flight ticket was available for under $200.
  • Hopper – Hopper works in the same way Airfare Watchdog does but with additional features. You can set a location and date alert and Hopper will notify you of the best time to purchase those tickets based on flight predictions. For example, my family will be traveling to Nicaragua in a couple of months. The app is currently telling me the price of the tickets but is encouraging me to continue watching the trip for a better price and will notify me when there is a deal or a rise in price. The app predicts that prices will vary over the next 6 weeks, saving me $145, and will continue to rise after May 17th. I use this app a lot because I have hardcore buyers remorse. It hurts my soul when I purchase a ticket and see it discounted a week later.how to travel cheap
  • TravelPirates – Last, but certainly not least! This is my favorite app as of late because the offers are INSANE and I can customize my trips based on my needs and wants. You can set alerts for where you want to go, what you want to see, and what you want to do. If you want to go zip lining in Switzerland you can set up an alert for “activity vacations” in Switzerland. You can even set a price limit to only be notified if the trip is below a certain amount. That being said, my favorite thing about this app is the featured, all inclusive travel deals. For example as of right now I could book a 7 night trip in Curacao for $582, including the flights and a 4 star resort. The app also breaks down the trip and let’s you know if you need specific documentation like a Visa. One less thing I need to worry about!how to travel cheap

I know that was a bit winded, but this is 100% where I believe you should start when booking a trip. Gone are the days of spending a fortune on airfare! Let’s continue.

How to travel cheap

There are a bunch of different credit cards that will give you points for flyer miles. The one you are probably most aware of is the Capital One Venture Card. You can earn unlimited double miles per dollar on every purchase, plus bonus miles if you spend so much within the first 3 months. You can use your miles on any airline, any flight, any time with no blackout dates. Admit it, you’re reading this in Jennifer Garner’s voice … again, not sponsored, it’s just the card I know most about.

Also, we try to fly with the same airline as much as possible. I wouldn’t recommend it if it’s more expensive than other flight options, but if the price is comparable you can accumulate points and earn free flights.

How to travel cheapWith many of the apps I listed above you can receive alerts if there is a deal on nearby dates, departure cities, or even travel destinations. You might end up paying $500+ to fly to a certain location, but pay only $200 for a flight to a nearby city/airport.

Sometimes when flying international this might mean flying to lesser known airports; airports that aren’t as “tourist friendly.” It may be more difficult to find someone who speaks your native tongue. If you are adventurous and not as concerned with what to expect, it’s might be worth it!

How to travel cheap

This doesn’t necessarily work for me because I’m a bit of a planner, but sometimes looking for something last minute will land you a deal. I have had a lot of success finding last minute flights on Skyscanner.

How to travel cheap

I know, this contradicts my last point, but booking way in advance can save you time and money. This allows you to set up alerts so you can purchase at a time when prices are the most ideal. This also gives you more flexibility to cancel or rebook flights.

How to travel cheap

How to travel cheapOn average, purchasing tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays will save you money. Purchase tickets to fly out on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday as flying on these days offer the best airfare deals.

How to travel cheapMore and more airlines are charging outrageous fees on checked bags. If you can avoid that, pack all of your essentials in a carry on bag. Packing the essentials will save you time, money, and the hassle of dragging a bunch of suitcases through the airport while proceeding to wait in a bag check line. Oh, and you can avoid the “lost luggage” fiasco that is bound to happen traveling the world.

Additional tip: Book a hotel or AirBnB that has laundry service so you can limit the amount of clothing you pack.

How to travel cheapAvoid waiting last minute to book everything on your trip. Many hotels and hostels will charge more for walk-ins as opposed to bookings online. I also recommend trying to book everything else ahead of time including excursions, cooking classes, transportation, etc. This can save you a significant amount of money, but can also save you time that you otherwise would have spent waiting in lines.

How to travel cheapBy traveling off season you will avoid crowds and do more things with the money you will save on ticket and accommodation rates. This takes a little bit of time and effort to research but will save you a lot of money and time in the long run. When booking our trip to Thailand I spent roughly four hours planning exactly when we would go. I read blogs from locals and fellow travelers. I researched weather patterns. I researched when each excursion was most crowded. The dates I ended up choosing land us right between when tourists leave for the year and when they start to come back.

How to travel cheapObviously this isn’t a great choice for most families, but if you are a solo traveler or traveling with a friend a hostel is a great alternative to a pricey hotel. Hostels tend to be much cheaper than hotels and can help you connect with other world travelers. The relationships you form can help with finding the best deals locally, as well as connect you with people from all over the world who may be willing to host you on a trip to their home country.

How to travel cheapThis is a big one! When looking for the best locations to eat, always ask a local or hotel receptionist. These individuals will give you the best recommendations that may help you to avoid “tourist traps.” Many restaurants will raise prices knowing that they are drawing in tourists. Consider eating at off the map establishments recommended by the people who know the area best.

how to travel cheap

How to travel cheapEating at a market can mean the difference between a $10 meal and a $2 meal. When we visit Leon my husband and I frequent the market. We spend way less money than a sit down meal and in my opinion the food is a better representation of the culture.

How to travel cheapIn some cases you might save money staying at a hotel off the beaten path but you will end up spending more money on transportation. Do your research to see if the price will level out. Many cities offer cheap, public transportation but many others will require a taxi or car rental.

How to travel cheapVisiting a new place can be tricky. If you are unsure about anything, check to see if your destination has a tourism board website, or find out if one of their tourism businesses have a website or Facebook page. In most cases these people are happy to answer any questions you have.

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Okay, phew! I know that was long but I want to be sure you have as many opportunities as possible to save money on travel.

In order to save money on travel you will have to exert a little more time and effort but the payoff is unreal. It may seem like a lot now, but once you get the hang of it you’ll thank yourself.

Do you have a travel tip to share? Comment down below and I might feature it in this post! Want to see more travel related posts? Leave your questions and suggestions below!

Happy travels!

tara

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