Category Archives: Budget Travel

Tips for Traveling on a Tight Budget

Traveling is always perceived as an expensive hobby or endeavor. Aside from the expenses you incur during your trips, you are also away from work, meaning you’re not earning during that time. If you’re on a paid leave, then it’s okay. However for those that are not on a paid leave, they have to use their own money, and want to do a lot; then it can really be a problem. Splurging your money will result in you not enjoying your trip or worse, having to cut it prematurely. To avoid that terrible situation, here’s what you can do to save money while still enjoying yourself in your travels.

Way Advanced Research

Looking up your travel destination long before your trip can help you plan everything smoothly. You’ll be able to find out if there are any cheap tourist spots or places where you can find inexpensive good food. If you’re up to it, you can even contact people who have traveled to, or live in that area so that you’ll find good deals that will appeal to travelers. Following the crowd isn’t always a recommended option when it comes to saving.

Another area where research is important is transportation. This is where a lot of travelers get ripped off and spend too much money. When you’re in unfamiliar territory, getting lost is inevitable. In this scenario, it’s easy to take a taxi or public transportation which might cost a lot. Learn the travel routes beforehand and if needed, write them down. This can help you in getting directions or when you walk by yourself in the streets.

Stay in Hostels

Thinking of hostels, you might immediately think of students or young backpackers. It can be embarrassing to think that you’ll be the oldest person there and you’ll stick out like a prune in a bowl of fresh grapes. However, hostels aren’t only for the young. A lot of older adults book hostels because of the rising accommodation costs. In addition, booking a bed in a hostel isn’t that expensive and there are always plenty around.

A common misconception about hostels or capsule hotels is that they are cramped, facilities are dirty, and it’s an overall uncomfortable experience. But since hostels have been gaining popularity and are the accommodation of choice for many travelers, hostel operators have improved their facilities and services tremendously. Currently, some hostels have private suits, trendy decorations, and even cleaning services.

Lastly, staying in a hostel will allow you to socialize with fellow travelers. They might be going in the same direction or they might have already gone to your next destination. Whatever their bearings are, it’s fun to swap stories and tips from other travelers. You might learn of a good tourist spot or a good deal through these conversations.

Take Long Walks

Traveling can be dangerous, especially when you’re in a country that doesn’t use your native language. Apart from the unfamiliarity of the place, it can be difficult to ask for directions or help when you need it. However, taking walks can be a very good way to enjoy the place without spending money. You get to enjoy the sights and sounds, and you might even find a place that you like which isn’t shown on the guidebook.

Scrutinize Ridiculously Incredible Deals

There are also a lot of packages being offered by travel agencies that seem too good to be true. When something is too good to be true, chances are they aren’t good for you. In the case of cruises, it can be very cheap and might seem like a steal. However, you should check the minor details which aren’t shown in the catalogue. For example, you can check the airplane ticket to the port if it’s within your budget, the condition of the hotels which you will be staying in, and the destinations as well if it’s worth going there. Once you’ve added these factors up, it will give you a better picture. It will also give you a good idea if it’s really worth the price or not.

Have a Daily Budget

If you don’t have a daily budget, it’s easy to spend all your money in one or two weeks. You need to estimate how much you are allowed to spend every day during your the entire trip. For example, if you allot only $20 for a single day, you don’t need to spend it all that day. Just spend on what you want, like food or admission fees, then save the rest for the next day. If you still have $5 left from the previous day, then you can add it to your current day’s budget. Just remember that you don’t have to spend it all no matter how tempting those souvenirs look.

Regarding budget, a good method to avoid being short on cash is to overestimate costs. Even if you know that the costs for transportation and food will be around $40, you can allot $50-60 instead. This will give you breathing room in case you find yourself in a pinch.

Don’t Be Too Cheap

Yes, you’re on a daily budget and your overall money is limited. You might miss out on some expensive tours or spots, but you should also be critical in judging if it’s worth your time and money or not. For example, if you’re in an exotic place and you know that it’s a popular tourist destination, one you’re interested in. Even if it might cost you your whole day’s budget, it will make the trip worthwhile and you won’t go home with regrets. Again, this is where good research comes in handy. If you know about a spot’s admission fee beforehand, you can include that in your budget planning.

Be Flexible

Even if you really want to go skiing in a specific country, you should still keep your dates open. After all, if your budget doesn’t allow it, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to enjoy your trip. You’ll end up with disappointment and wasting your money in the process. Check your destination’s off-peak season and see if you can fit it in your schedule. Traveling during the off-peak season means that you won’t have to go with the holiday crowd and you’ll have cheaper rates as well.

If the dates don’t really work out in your favor no matter how hard you adjust your schedule, then it’s time to look somewhere else. Try to look for another country or destination with similar weather or travel arrangements as your first choice. It might be entirely different, but using your budget to the maximum will allow you to have fun rather than end up with disappointment.

Traveling doesn’t always have to be for the rich. Also, it doesn’t have to break your bank. There are a lot of ways to save money while traveling. You just need to have an open mind, be prepared, and always adjust to the situation. After all, one of the reasons why you traveled is for experiencing a new culture, not to stay in a fancy hotel or eat the most expensive foods.

Saving on Family Vacations

Family vacations don’t have good reputations. This is because the costs are too high, finding the right time is almost impossible, and organizing where to go is a nightmare itself. Because of these reasons, a lot of families don’t go to vacations anymore and they simply go to places near their house or in a relative’s house for the weekend – that’s it.

However, family vacations are a good way for the family to bond together and create good memories together. It helps open up the children’s mind and they will also learn to appreciate the diversity in culture at an early age. For those parents that are planning to go to a family vacation, but are not sure what to do, here are some tips for you.

Start Locally

Before you introduce your children to international traveling, a cheaper and better way for them to learn more about the world is through local travel. It may be in the neighboring city or town, but it will still provide your family with a lot of new experiences and new things to learn. This trip will not be very expensive since you’ll be traveling only by car and sleeping over in small hotels for a day or two.

If possible, you can even go to places your children know from school. This will help reinforce that information while stimulating their urge to learn. Once they are familiar about the concept of traveling and about the difference in cultures, they’ll be able to appreciate (and behave better) during international travels.

Off-Season Perks

Visiting a tropical country during winter season seems like normal for everyone. That’s why airlines and hotels take advantage of this and jack up the prices way too high. During peak season you’ll find plane tickets and hotel room rates twice the normal amount. If you do manage to pay for these, you’ll have to put up with countless tourists littering the beach and competing with you in tourist spots. It won’t be much of a vacation as many families have experienced before.

To get around this situation, plan your family trip during off-season. We know it doesn’t make much sense to visit tropical country when it’s still summer in your country as well, but you can adjust it. For example, you can visit it during autumn or before the typhoon season in tropical countries. Plane ticket prices are very low, and hotel rates are a bargain as well. In addition, there won’t be many people going there so it would seem like the place is secluded. Tourist spots or tours will also be at a cheaper price, so you and your kids can enjoy to your heart’s content without you worrying too much about the expenses.

Early Bird Bookings

This method works when you already have a specific date in mind and everyone’s schedule is synchronized. Once you have dates in mind, you can then look at plane fares and hotel room rates. If you book way advance like months before, you’ll be able to spot some good deals. A lot of airlines do this to fill up their flights in advance. In a similar fashion, hotels also offer huge discounts to ensure rooms will be fully booked.

If you’re not too keen about surfing or spending a lot of time browsing through different travel sites, you can just opt for a travel agency instead. It might sound a bit expensive to use their services (though just a bit), but you’ll still be able to get early bird discounts for your vacation trip.

Swap Houses

It might sound something from a movie, but swapping houses is being done in real life. If you have a friend who lives in another state or even country you can swap with their family’s house. Just make sure that your travel dates will coincide of course. You won’t have to spend a lot for a two week vacation in another country, just the plane fare, food, and tours – that’s it. We all know that one of the downsides for traveling with your family is paying for that “family” sized room for 2 weeks. House swapping will give you a sense of security for your accommodations without going overboard for your budget.

Go Camping

Camping is definitely one of the most inexpensive family vacations out there. Instead of staying in a fancy hotel for around $150 a night, you can go camping under that stars for about $20 in entrance fees. You only need gas, provisions and equipment, and then you’re all set to go. Provisions can be bought in the grocery store so it doesn’t need to be expensive. Depending on the length of your stay, you don’t need to bring a lot.

If staying in a tent isn’t comfortable for your family (especially the kids) then you can opt for a cabin. A lot of parks have cabins for rent. It only has basic amenities, but it’s a good way to stay close to nature without sacrificing comfort. In addition, it’s not that expensive.

Camping also provides a lot of opportunities for families to bond together. Activities like cooking over a campfire, gathering firewood, lounging around in camp, or just talking over the campfire. A lot of parents actually prefer these activities over going to a foreign country and relaxing like royalty on a resort. This teaches children a lot of lessons about life and about work. All of that for a very low price you pay.

Further Tips to Save Money

During your vacation trips, expenses for tours and food can rack up before you even know it. Here are some tips for you to save money while you are on your family vacation.

  • If possible, try to rent a place that allows you to cook or prepare foods yourself. This will save a lot for your food expenses. You’ll buy local ingredients, so you’ll still get that exotic, new taste. It’s still a good idea to try the local cuisine, though not just for every meal.
  • Look for accommodations that offer discounts for kids or even let them stay for free. Your budget for your room can go towards a better or bigger room without you having to spend a lot.
  • There are also some hotels that offer complimentary buffet for guests. Use these amenities so that you can save money before you head out for tours or exploring. If your child sees something that looks delicious, a tantrum could ensue. Heading out with a full stomach will prevent this situation (and other similar ones).
  • Don’t forget to bring you and your children’s identification card. Students, senior citizens, and some membership cards will net you good discounts. For example, at theme parks and museums, you can get discounts for children as long as they have their IDs with them.

There are a lot of ways for you to save on family vacations. After all, you call the shots, not the children. Yes, expensive theme parks and exotic countries seem the best places to take your children to. However what you’re after in a vacation, is to spend quality time with each other, not to spend a lot of money for post card moments.

Inexpensive Weekend Getaways for Two

With today’s busy schedule, it can be difficult to connect with our partner or spend meaningful time together. It’s very common to stay indoors or just sleep the weekend away. After all, going somewhere costs a lot of money, making it difficult for some couples. But there are still some options out there that make weekends fun and help the both of you reconnect without having to spend too much. Check the list below for some good ideas on how to make your weekend meaningful while being cheap.

Beach Outing

Everybody loves the beach. Going there is inexpensive since you just need to pay for gas. For food, you can pack a picnic basket or buy something along the way. Either way, these two are your only expenses for this trip. If you time it right, you could even have the beach all to yourselves, making it more romantic.

If there are no beaches near you and the nearest one is a couple of miles, then you can choose to rent a beach house instead. There is a wide variety of beach houses for rent you can find online. You might find a good deal near your favorite beach, making your weekend romantic and perfect.

Rent a House

Renting a house for the weekend provides a familiar yet exotic feel. You still have the same amenities like cooking, sleeping in, or watching movies all day, although it’s in a different setting. Some houses for rent even come complete with kitchen utensils, towels, blankets, etc. The included amenities differ per owner so you should check it first before booking.

Aside from couples, this is a good idea for a group date as well. Some houses for rent provide 2 or 3 bedrooms, making it an ideal weekend getaway for couples or groups. You can also share the expenses if you go in a group, making it cheaper.

Couple Camping

For this activity, you only need some provisions and a tent. For provisions, it won’t be that costly since you’ll just be sleeping over for one night. Though inexpensive, it can be a very romantic weekend, staying under the stars, cooking food over a campfire, and just lounging around whole day. For parks, you need to pay an admission fee.

Walk Down Memory Lane

Another activity with minimal expenses is to visit important spots for the both of you. It can be the place where you first met, where you had your first date, or where you had your first kiss. It will rekindle feelings for the both of you and unless you met abroad, then it’s a very feasible option for a weekend date. To make it more sweet, you can talk about your first impressions with each other, and how those impressions developed into love.

Cruise to Nowhere

If you have a car available, you can just fill up the gas tank and go for a drive. You don’t need to have a specific destination in mind. It’s also exciting to try new routes and visit new towns. You might even find something interesting along the way. Again, the important thing in this activity is for you two to try out something new and get to know more about each other.

Book a Staycation

This one sounds easy and can be misinterpreted as staying in for the weekend. However, a true staycation is when you unplug all mobile devices and tune out any distractions. This weekend should be all about you and nothing else. It might seem difficult at first, since the urge to check your social networks and emails is always there. If you really need to, you can check your email and other online necessities during Sunday, a day before you go back to work.

If you have children, this can be a bit tricky to pull off. One option is to leave the children at their grandparent’s house to make the house exclusively yours.

Watch Local Sports

Even if you’re not sports enthusiasts, watching sports will give you something new to try out together. Local leagues are becoming more common, so there’s always an event at the weekend. In most cases, admission is free. If they do charge, it will be just a very small amount. It’s something new, inexpensive, and fun for the both of you. Plus, you’ll have a blast watching all those overeager parents in the sidelines.

Visit a Theme Park

Theme parks can be expensive, but there are a lot of deals you can find online. A lot of merchant sites sell coupons for these and you can even redeem some of the points in your credit card to get tickets. This is a great way to enjoy the hours away while you have fun and scream your heads off on those rollercoaster rides or in that haunted house. It’s never too late to enjoy a theme park whether you like riding thrill rides or simply watching the view at night.

Drive-in Movie

Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback. People enjoy that retro feel while enjoying the latest movie in the comforts of their car. It can also be a good weekend date night idea since it’s not that expensive and you’re sure to find one near your place. For a more retro feel, you can even have dinner in an 80’s themed restaurant.

Book it last Minute

If you don’t have any particular place you’d like to go to, you can call up a travel agent last minute-ish. Hotels and airlines always give out good deals before the weekend to fill up their rooms or seats. You might be able to find one near your place for a good deal. Even if it’s not a popular tourist destination, it’s still a good idea to try something new together. The same also applies to cruises since you can get it at a cheaper price this way. However, be careful though if you’re busy on the weekday and you only have a weekend to spare. Just keep track of your dates and you’ll be fine.

Visit Off-Season

Visiting the mountains during summer or the beach during winter season doesn’t sound very appealing. This method though ensures that there will be few people there to bother you. You’ll have the place to yourselves, giving it a more exclusive feel. If there are restaurants or amenities nearby you’ll also be able to enjoy good discounts since it’s off-peak and customers are scarce. It’s definitely good for your wallet yet still romantic.

A romantic getaway only needs very few things: just a partner to enjoy it with, and a decent ambience. You don’t need to go to fancy restaurants or exotic places all the time. From what we’ve shown you, there are a lot of inexpensive weekend getaways for couples out there. Depending on what type of couple you are (outdoor, social, or indoor) then you will always find something romantic to do on the list without spending a lot.