When was the last time you traveled? Pandemic aside, many of us wish that we could travel more, but we just don’t have the money for it, which is why we take few vacations from work. Like saving money for most things we want, saving money so that you can afford to go on vacation comes down to proper budgeting.
You can budget before and during travel so that you can continue to save money while enjoying yourself. Here are our budgeting tips for when you go on vacation.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Budgeting requires proper preparation. Yes, some people do travel spontaneously, but many of us can’t afford that luxury. Traveling on a budget requires a plan. While you don’t need an hourly itinerary, you should know how much you’re going to spend on your trip, who’s going to take care of your plants, and how much you can set aside for meals, transportation, activities, and buying souvenirs.
Leaving less up to change means that you won’t start impulsive spending money. Knowing where you’re going and how much it costs can keep you on track so that you don’t overspend on your travels.
Consider When to Travel
People typically travel most during the holiday season, and snowbirds flock south during the winter. However, if you can avoid traveling during these seasons, you can get the best rates on everything from airfare to hotels. The more likely people are to travel, the more tickets and lodging will cost because these business owners know that their services are in demand.
You can research the best time to visit your intended destination and then travel before or after those months to avoid overspending.
Instead of staying in expensive hotel rooms, you can find a place to stay on Airbnb or find cheaper hotels and hostels. If you’re bringing a friend, suggest sharing a room so that you can cut the costs of lodgings in half. While you’re on vacation, you likely won’t be spending too much in your room other than when you’re sleeping, so there’s no reason to blow your budget on fancy hotels.
You can avoid spending money on purchasing items that you already own (but just forgot) by packing carefully. Make a list of all of the things that you need to pack and check off the items as they go into your bag. This will keep you from overspending on things like toothbrushes, clothing, razors, and more.
You should also check the weather of your destination to ensure that you’re packing the right clothing. Always be prepared for the worst with a sweater and jeans, even if you’re traveling somewhere that’s typically warm.
Book in Advance
Booking flights and hotels in advance can help you save money. The closer you get to the date the airplane leaves, the more expensive your ticket will be. This is another place where proper planning comes into play. Lucky for you, airlines release seats up to one year in advance, so you could be planning for next year’s vacation right now.
Plan Flight Times
Did you know? Midweek travel prices are lower than weekend flights because fewer people fly during the week. If you can, try to get work off midweek instead of just taking off Friday so that you can get the best deal on tickets. Not to mention, the fewer people in the airport means quicker check-ins and a shorter security line.
Use Public Transport
Instead of renting a car, travel via bus or train when you travel. If you’re traveling to a resort, you likely won’t need any transportation at all because you won’t be leaving the area, but in the case that you do, opt for a bus instead of taking a taxi.
You can also use public transportation to travel. If you’re planning to travel within the US, you can use buses and trains instead of a plane to cut the amount of money you spend on transportation in half.
Cook Your Own Food (When Possible)
Depending on where you stay on your travels, you might have access to a kitchen. If this is the case, go grocery shopping and cook for yourself as much as possible. Feel free to enjoy yourself from time to time and eat at restaurants, but if you just need a quick bite, make yourself lunch instead.
When choosing a place to eat dinner, if you choose not to cook for yourself, look online at menus and pricing if available to find an affordable place to eat.
Work While You Travel
You don’t have to be a digital nomad to be able to earn while you travel. If your workplace allows employees to work remotely, talk to your boss and explain that while you’ll be going on vacation, you would still like to work so that you can keep earning your paycheck.
Your employer might be happy to know that the business won’t be completely losing you for an entire week and be able to work with you so that you can still earn your salary while on vacation.
If you’re currently working remotely due to the pandemic, but travel restrictions have loosened, speak with your employer to let them know that you’d like to travel while working remotely instead of sneaking behind their back, be honest and authentic. If your employer finds out that you’ve gone on vacation while they are still paying you and they are not aware that you’re still working, you could put yourself in hot water.
You may also be able to earn money while traveling in other ways, such as freelancing. Finding a freelancing job is easy with sites like Craigslist, UpWork, and Fiverr, so that you have the potential to work no matter where you are and how much time you have available.
If you’re good at photography, you can also take beautiful pictures of your travels and sell them on stock photo websites for a small income.
Always Look for Better Deals
While you’re traveling, always look for better deals before spending money. You may find a souvenir that you like more and is cheaper at another store, and you may be able to find a restaurant with great food at half the price. Comparison shopping while you’re traveling is key to making sure that your vacation doesn’t break the bank.
Don’t let a tight budget get in the way of your wanderlust—use these travel tips to explore the world in an affordable and fun way!
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling and music.