Budget travel is something everyone wants, but not everyone masters it. I take 4-5 trips a year – two of which are usually a week long and two trips are 3-4 days long. In between those, I take weekends away too. How do I do it? Keep reading…
The entire internet is filled with these types of articles. However, many of these articles say “use your travel points” but what they forget to mention is that to get points you have to spend money. If you are interested in budget travel, that tip doesn’t really work. Here is how I travel on a budget:
1. Travel in off-season. It’s always cheaper, there are less tourists and if you go mere weeks before busy season begins you will still get great weather!
For example, Europe is a very popular summer and fall destination. I went to Madrid last Spring and it was hundreds of dollars cheaper than if I went a few weeks later. It wasn’t beach weather, but it was in the 60s which is perfect for exploring and walking around a city. The same goes for the Caribbean – their busy season is December – March. I tend to go in April, June or early August. Each country or destination has their own busy season (which you can find through some research) so try to go right before it starts or right after it ends.
2. Avoid school vacation weeks. This seems like a given, but if you don’t have kids and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for your trip, research when local schools have off and book around it.
3. Research! Before booking, I compare numerous airline and hotel prices. I first choose a few date ranges that I am available. Then I research hotel and airline prices for all of those weekends on numerous airlines (or via Expedia) and find the cheapest (but also 4-5 star Tripadvisor rated) hotel and the cheapest flight. It takes a lot of time – usually a few hours – but it’s worth it knowing I got the best deal for my budget without sacrificing for low quality accommodations.
4. Use a AAA agent. If you are already a member, use them to help! I have provided them the dates I can travel and my budget and they do the research for you.
At times, I’ve even given them a list of places I want to go. They send back a list of the average cost for each destination. I then choose one and go from there.
5. For weekends away, sometimes I peruse TravelZoo for great deals.
Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comments!