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How to Travel on a Budget

By on May 26, 2017
How to Travel on a Budget

There’s a difference between living a travel lifestyle and just traveling. Most people fall into the “just traveling” section, with a house, car payment and a non-traveling job. Those daily things eat up almost all of your income, which leaves very little left over to travel the world. But travel the world you can, using these smart tips.

Make Some Cuts to Your Travel Expenses

Your income determines a lot of things, but it doesn’t have to keep you tied to an area. The first matter to address is figuring out the most expensive part of your trip and seeing what cuts you can make. For most people, it will be the flight. Airplanes are really expensive, but there are shortcuts. Luckily, none of them involve cramming yourself into someone else’s suitcase.

You do want to check flights regularly. Some airlines will have deals that pop up unexpectedly, but in addition, there’s actually a best time to buy your flight ticket. That time would be 50 to 100 days before you go, at 3 p.m. EST on a Tuesday. It works.

Use Outside Airlines

The other option is to look at airlines from other countries. The U.S. has some of the steepest prices for flights, but Europe offers some significantly cheaper ones.

If you’re flying in the U.S., then you can check out a site called Skiplagged, which gives you a lot of really cheap flights. There is a catch though — you can’t check any luggage. You board a flight with a layover and get off at the layover stop. If you check any luggage, it’ll continue on to the end destination. Of course, if you can, skip the flight and choose another form of transportation. It’ll be cheaper.

Set Your Traveling Budget

The travel industry generated $147.9 billion in tax revenue in 2015, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank on your trip. Once the actual travel is covered, then you have a lot more flexibility. Almost all other expenses are, or can be, flexible. Your lodging is likely to be the second-largest expense, with planned activities coming in third. To cut costs, you can choose a hostel if it’s available, or at least a hotel with a continental breakfast. You can also try and keep an eye out for religious or academic housing, which is always priced way below commercial hotels.

You can also try and book your larger activities before you leave. Since they’re the third-largest expense, this will significantly lower the cost of the whole trip. To be safe, make sure you set aside some additional money for emergencies. They’re not something you want to happen, but they’re always a possibility. Being prepared takes a lot of the pressure off, especially if any of the fun events you want to do are a little risky.

Ultimately, if you want to travel, you have to be the one to do it. Cheap flights, beds off the beaten track, and low-cost excursions can all make a trip affordable and very much worth it. Even with kids, this is completely reasonable. If you want to see the world, you can. You might need to see it in two-week segments, once a year, but you can still do it.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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