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4 Tips for Traveling on a Budget

Updated on February 21, 2018

You Can Be "That Friend"

Think of that friend of yours that's always seeing the world and doing cool things. Their Instagram page is full of #travelinspo with pictures of beaches and mountains and all these other fun things you can't afford. Or, so you think.

One common misconception about traveling is that it has to cost you an arm and a leg. Many would be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are plenty of ways around paying that top-dollar price tag. The key to obtaining great deals is to be flexible. (I'll get into that more later.)

So, the next time you see Sarah from high school math sitting in Mexico sippin' a mimosa- don't get jealous. Get your plane ticket and join her. Here are 4 tips for traveling on a budget.

1. Use Better Software

Let's start with one of the basics. Obviously, the search engine software you use will determine the kind of prices you'll pay.

The problem with most search sites is that your inquiries are pretty limited. You're only able to search flights/hotels at an exact destination with little fluctuation in dates.

Frequent travelers will tell you that it's much easier to see new places when you're open to multiple destinations. What that means is you don't necessarily have to have a destination in mind when searching. Use sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights to see what's the most affordable in your date range.

Another major perk of these sites is that they let you search based on "Cheapest Month". So, if you do have a destination in mind, you can see when's the most affordable time to visit.

2. Connect With Locals

This is especially helpful if you're traveling to a destination that you're not familiar with. Speaking with locals can help you find some of the more affordable places to eat, hang out, sightsee, etc.

Having an inside perspective can really make your trip. You learn about all of the cool, not-so-touristy places that you see all over the web.

You can wait until you get to your destination and ask a concierge or bartender or even an Uber driver! You could also visit Like a Local, which offers real recommendations from locals. If you're feeling really adventurous, try With Locals to schedule a meet-up in the city you're traveling to.

3. Travel During Slow Periods

If you can be flexible and go at times when others aren't, you'll save big. Airlines and hotels alike drop costs during these slow periods to meet the demands of travelers.

Avoid weekends, as tickets are usually the highest on Fridays and Sundays. Also, avoid traveling from late May-August since most places reach their peak fare during the summer months.

Instead, fly out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays if you can. In general, it's also cheaper to fly during January, February, and early May and through the fall.

4. Be Accommodation-Savvy

The last tip I'll leave you with also relies on you being more flexible in your travels. But, believe me when I tell you: You do not need to shell out for an expensive hotel or flight or even rental car when you arrive.

Stay in the dorm-room hostel. Take the Greyhound or Amtrak. Float around on public transportation.

These aren't groundbreaking concepts, I'll admit. But, this right here is what sets travelers apart from those who "can't afford it."

Travelers take the risk and put themselves in uncomfortable situations. Sure, it's probably more ideal to stay at the Hyatt and take an afternoon flight at your leisure.

But, the best kinds of experiences result from the unexpected. Don't be so stuck in having a "perfect" vacation and just go!

What are your travel budget tips?

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