Traveling on a Budget

The key to budget travel is in the planning, and the first item on the agenda is creating a budget. We know that budgeting itself doesn’t sound so sexy, but that trip to the beach will feel a lot more relaxing when you cut your cost down and get to keep your toes in the sand a few extra days!

Learn how to save money on your vacation with budgeting tips for all of these key areas:

  1. Transportation
  2. Lodging
  3. Food
  4. See & Do


Plan your flight dates well in advance and use a discount website to track deals. If you travel during off-peak times, you may be able to save even more. You can also scan the web for promo codes that might save you a few extra bucks. Do your research to find out whether to fly direct or go with round trip tickets.

  • You can save money by opting for flights that have layovers. These aren’t super fun, but they will save you money.
  • Checking extra baggage costs more these days, so travel as light as possible.
  • With car rentals, you can save money by opting for standard rather than one-way rentals. If your travel party is compact, rent the smallest car available. You’ll save money on gas and the rental price. If you pay with a credit card, chances are you can decline the extra insurance the car rental company offers for the added price. Some credit cards and insurance have rental coverage built in, so check into that before you rent a car. You can also look online for discount or promo codes that can shave a few bucks off the cover price.
  • If you’re in a major city, you can save money by avoiding taxis. If the public transportation is sufficient, take that. You can also opt into using taxi-alternative smartphone apps for cheaper rides.


  • The cheapest way to travel is to visit friends or family who have room for you.
  • If you’re going to pay for accommodations, you could save money by going through online brokers to get the best hotel prices.
  • Another option is Airbnb. With this service, you can rent a house or apartment or a room in someone’s house. If you’re not shy, this might be a good money-saving alternative to hotels.


  • You’ve got to eat. Before you hop the next flight to Albuquerque, do some research and planning on the food situation.
  • Will you be staying with friends or family? Can you do some cooking? If you’re staying in someone’s home, chances are, you can save a little dough by kneading your own.
  • Going out to restaurants can add up. If you are going to dine out, plan what restaurants you’ll be going to in advance. This way, you can better budget your food cost and make sure that you’re getting a balance of different kinds of food.

See & Do

  • Budget travel doesn’t always mean scouring for deals. It can be as simple as taking more pictures and buying fewer souvenirs.
  • The experience of being away from your day-to-day grind will add much more value to your life than those snow globes and air-brushed t-shirts. You also don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for admission to popular parks.
  • There are plenty of national parks and other creative ways to spend your time without having to participate in overpriced consumption.

At the same time, travel should be enjoyable. Creating your travel budget will allow you the freedom to make choices that will add value to your experience so that you don’t have to focus on the money. In fact, you shouldn’t concentrate on the money. That’s the point of budget traveling: spend less so that you can focus on more.

If you need help creating a budget or dealing with debt problems, consult a trusted non-profit organization like CreditGUARD for budgeting advice, tips on reducing debt and becoming more financially stable.