Hi everyone, welcome to this 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 blog post where I talk about some of the best tips to reduce your costs and save more money when traveling.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the chance to travel to quite a few places around the world. All without using credit card rewards and without breaking the bank before traveling. Below are my 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021. If you haven’t already, do me a favor. Hit the Like and the Share button below and tell your friends about these lovely 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 travel blog posts, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for quick and instant access to our Premium Travel Tips and Guides.
TIP NUMBER 10: Travel In Off-Seasons.
Obviously, during holidays, during spring break and the summer, your flights and accommodations, activities, everything is going to be more expensive around those times, so if you can, it’s best to travel in odd months or during odd seasons so that you get the best price on your travel.
TIP NUMBER 9: Book Flights & Accommodations In Advance.
Book all of these things with plenty of time left until your trip. So a couple of months out or a month out is probably best. If you can do it even sooner, great. But the closer that it gets to the date that you’re leaving, the more expensive that it’s going to get. If you are taking a Europe trip, you can definitely get really cheap flights if you book a couple of months out. You can get flights or train tickets for anywhere between $30-$70 roundtrip.
And if you don’t need to go roundtrip, you can get them even cheaper. Now even though you do want to book your travel in advance, you don’t necessarily want to book activities and tours and things like that until you get there, and I will share why later in these 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 article. When you’re booking anything, use a private browser window because your browsing history will affect the price that you see. My roommate and I tested this and we saw this first hand where we would both be booking the same ticket, but one of us wasn’t using a private browsing window, and the prices were different.
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For flights, I always like to use Google Flights. It’s super easy to use and if you have a flexible schedule, it’s great because you can see how the price will change depending on when you want to travel. But after you find a flight you actually want, also go to the airline’s website, because sometimes they run special discounts and promotions based on the destination you’re going to or on the dates that you’re traveling. There’s also something called hidden-city ticketing. Which, technically, I think you can get in trouble for this. I haven’t done it, but it’s basically where you book a flight to a different destination that has a layover in the place that you actually intend on going to.
Basically, you just get off at the layover and ditch the last leg of your flight. I’m not saying that you should do it. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it. I am just bringing it up, and you do with that information you wish. For booking trains in Europe, I used GoEuro which I think the name changed. It’s now Omio. They had a really nice system where you could sort it by arrival times or departure times, and they had tickets to pretty much everywhere, and they were usually really really cheap.
I’ll give you a little bit of insight into overnight trains. I did it once. Would not recommend it. If you’re a very heavy sleeper or if you just anticipate not getting any sleep, go for it. They’re super cheap, which is great, but they’re kind of awful. They’re just like little, tiny boxes that you, ya know, are sleeping in with like 3 other people, and the whole night it’s like AHHH. If it’s like $40 vs $400, we can make it work but you also get what you pay for.
TIP NUMBER 8: Skip The Hotel.
Number eight on our 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 is to skip the hotel and again this depends on your preference, but if you’re young and you don’t mind a dorm-type setup, then hostels can be a really great way to go, especially if you are traveling alone. Hostelworld and TripAdvisor are great for finding hostels and for finding reviews, but when you are actually booking a hostel, book it through the hostel’s website if they have one.
Now not every hostel will have their own website, but if they do a lot of times they will give you a discount for booking directly with them. If you’re not really into the whole dorm-type setup thing, a lot of hostels do actually have private rooms. And it’s basically like a hotel room, you just don’t have the amenities of a hotel. Hostels are great if you’re traveling alone. Hostels will host group dinners or group activities. And a lot of times they will also give discounts because obviously if they have a large group of people going somewhere, they can get better rates. I actually think that the biggest upside of hostels is that almost every single one of them has a free luggage storage room. So if you get to the city before check-in, or if you are leaving after your check out time, you have a place to keep your luggage. Usually for free, and you don’t have to worry about dragging it around the city with you. Another option is of course Airbnb. And I feel like this doesn’t really need an explanation. It’s where you rent out a room or a house…and that’s where you stay.
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But what I did want to say is that Airbnb has referral codes and you should definitely use them. So my friends and I would do this where we would all refer to each other if it was our first time using Airbnb. And since we were all staying in the same place anyway, we would just earn points on one person’s account and get a discount basically when we were staying somewhere. So first ask your friends if they have Airbnb accounts and if they can refer you because they will earn credits, you will earn credits, everybody wins.
TIP NUMBER 7: Only pack in a Backpack.
I know it seems hard but I promise it’s not that bad. Just don’t do what I did and don’t use a college canvas backpack because it gets wet and it’s just not good. Get a nice quality backpack. With a lot of budget airlines and European airlines as well, they’ll have really cheap flights, but then if you want to bring more than just a carry-on item they’ll charge you like $70 for it.
So, ya know it makes it cheaper if you’re only traveling in a backpack. Then you don’t have to pay for luggage each way. To pack light, just bring like half the clothes you think that you need because as long as your hostel or hotel has laundry facilities that you can use it’s usually only like $1 or $2 to do a load of laundry. And again, I think that that is more worth it than paying $70 to bring on a massive bag onto the plane. Also, when you only bring a backpack, you are less tempted to buy a bunch of junky little souvenirs that will get thrown away anyway. So just pack light, keep it light, don’t go filling up another suitcase with souvenirs.
TIP NUMBER 6: Eat Like A Local.
Number 6 on our 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 is to eat like a local citizen. So the basic things that everyone says are like bring food to the airport, pack snacks so you don’t get hungry. Ok, great, good, yes. All of that – accurate. But when you are actually looking for meals, that is where you can waste a lot of money on really bad touristy food. So if you’re near a large tourist attraction or touristy area, just try walking like a block or two away, and usually, there will be smaller family-owned restaurants. And the food is going to be a lot better and a lot cheaper. And don’t be afraid if you see locals walking around or if you go into little shops or things like that – don’t be afraid to ask them where good places to eat are because they will probably tell you.
Also if you’re in an Airbnb, ask your Airbnb host because they will usually know. You can also save money on food by going to local markets. You can make a little event out of it and make a little picnic and go somewhere fun or do something like that. But depending on what country you’re in, do be careful of street food. And just use common sense and also look up what other travelers recommend for the region that you are in. Because getting sick in a foreign country is not fun.
TIP NUMBER 5: Walk Or Take Public Transportation.
The fifth tip on our 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 is to use public transport to anywhere you will go. Walking is going to be the cheapest option, but not necessarily the fastest. As long as you have a route though and know the general areas that you want to be in, it’s definitely doable, and I’d recommend it because you see a lot more of the city that way. A lot of cities will also have rental bikes which are also a great option, but by bikes, I mean like bikes that you physically pedal. If you have never driven a moped, a foreign country is not the place to try it. Stick to your traditional, like, pedaling bikes. Yes. Please. Depending on where you go, walking or biking may not be the best option, or it may just not be feasible at all.
So in that case you want to look into what public transportation options are available. Passes for trains, buses, ferries, boats, all of those – it’s usually going to be cheaper than using a ride-sharing app. And depending on what city you go to, they’ll usually have different options available at different prices depending on what you need. In London, they have an Oyster card, which works on buses and trains. And you basically just put a certain dollar amount on there, then each time that you ride on public transportation, they deduct that amount from your card. In Venice, they have waterbus passes, and you can get different ones depending on the length of your stay. So I think they have like 24 hr ones, 72 hr ones, and then like weeklong ones. And the longer it is, the less it costs per day, so just get whichever one makes sense for the length of your stay.
TIP NUMBER 4: Find Deals On Activities & Attractions.
So bringing this back to what I said earlier, you may want to wait until you actually get there to book any activities because you can usually negotiate the price down. Now if there’s something that you really want to see, or that might be sold out, go ahead and just book it beforehand so that you don’t miss out on it. But if there are other things where you’re like ah maybe I’ll do it, maybe I won’t – wait until you get there. If you are a student, bring your student ID and your visa because you will be able to get a lot of discounts on things that you probably didn’t think that you could get discounts for. A lot of museums and even some hostels will give you discounts just for being a student. Or if you’re already graduated and you still have your student ID, that works too. Sometimes once a week or once a month some galleries and museums will have a free day. So definitely look into that before you go.
Something that you should do is to haggle the heck out of people trying to sell you tours outside of major tourist attractions because they will go down in their prices. They usually have a few set times that tour groups leave. And these groups are almost never full, so as it gets closer to their departing time, they get really desperate to fill the spots, and you can usually negotiate the price down. So if they’re like $40 for a tour? You can be like $10 and I’ll go on the one leaving now. And after you go back and forth you can get like a $20 guided tour of the colosseum and roman forum which doesn’t really make sense because they didn’t make any money off of that. It’s also pretty easy to do when you have another person traveling with you, because these tour selling people will come at you with a price, and you can be like “for both of us?
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TIP NUMBER 3: Figure Out Your Phone Plan.
Tip number 3 on our 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 is to figure out the phone plan of your destination. Do not let your phone provider rip you off. If you have no foreign travel plan added to your normal plan, they will charge you insane amounts to use your phone every day. And even if you do add a plan, it’s usually like $60-$120 just for a very very small data limit. And if you go over that, they charge that to your account again. So when you’re not on WiFi, turn off your phone data.
Or if you’re in that country for an extended period of time, you can get a SIM card and they’re usually like $20, but it’ll make sure that your phone works in that country. You can download offline maps with Google Maps where it just saves that city’s map to your phone and you can access it without data. You won’t be able to get directions, but you can always see where you are. It has the little blue you are here dot and then it also shows the little directional field so that you know which way you’re facing and which way you’re going.
TIP NUMBER 2: Understand Your Credit Card & Your Bank Fees.
Credit cards, debit cards, and banks will charge you a foreign transaction fee, just for using their service in another country. And usually, that fee is somewhere around 3%, which doesn’t sound like much. But if you are traveling, especially for an extended period of time, those costs can really start to add up. So look up your cards, look up your banks, and make sure you know who charges what. Now for credit cards and debit cards you want to get a card that has no foreign transaction fees. And for this, I would highly highly recommend CapitalOne 360. I’ve used this card in 11 countries so far and I’ve had zero issues with it. It has no foreign transaction fees and there are also no fees at ATMs which is really nice when you need to take cash out. Because usually other banks and other companies will charge like $5 per transaction or a certain percentage per transaction at an ATM.
Something to take note of is that when you buy something in a foreign country sometimes on the card reader it will ask you if you want to pay in USD or in the local currency. Always choose the local currency. The reason for this is because whether or not you have a transaction fee card when it asks you that, if you choose USD it’s actually the merchant that is charging you a transaction fee. And they get to choose what that amount is. I had the fortune of experiencing this at an airport when I bought a sandwich. I accidentally chose USD and then they charged me a 12% transaction fee. 12%! So just avoid that, always choose the local currency. You’ll be good.
TIP NUMBER 1: Use Your Social Network
So my number 1 tip on our 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 is to actually use your social network. This sounds weird, but I mean both online and in person. If you need someone to travel with, put it on your Instagram story, be like Hey I’m going here does anyone want to come? Or reach out to people and see if they have any friends or any family going to the location that you’re going to be at. This is by far what saved my roommate and me the most money. We would go and stay with friends of friends or family of friends or extended family – things like that. And it saved us so much money. If you have a skill that is useful for advertising or if you have a large online following, you can definitely leverage that to get free food and free accommodations. And you don’t have to be weird about any of this, about asking friends or asking restaurants or hotels. Like, don’t be weird. Don’t be rude.
But you know as long as you’re tactful it never hurts to ask. So I hope that some of these 10 Top Traveling On A Budget Tips For 2021 were helpful. If they were, remember to subscribe to our newsletter to receive up to date travel guides and tips, hit the Like and Share button below and Comment if you have any question to ask, and I will see you next time.