As a younger couple, my husband and I traveled quite a bit. For a while it was nice to travel so much. We made a lot of memories. But, after a while, we both started to realize that if we kept traveling like we were, we would go broke pretty quickly.
So, what was the solution? We decided that we just needed to change our travel habits and slim down a bit.
For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on four main areas of the travel experience – efficient packing, smart transportation, thrifty lodging, and, of course, food.
Packing – There is a stereotype out there for us women – we pack too much. And, in a lot of cases, I have been guilty of that, but the key to traveling frugally is to pack only what you absolutely need.
Be sure to bring the necessities because you don’t want to pay for it at the airport or take the time out of your trip to go get it from a store once you get to your destination. And remember, there is plenty out there on homemade or natural skin care remedies, so take advantage of that and ditch the separate travel bag just for makeup.
Also don’t feel like you need to bring all your clothes. Most hotels have a Laundromat pretty close by, and many hostels actually have laundry services in their facility.
Transportation – Any form of transportation comes with its own pros and cons.
For purposes of this article, I’ll tell you just to fly because you can’t get coupons on gas. There are plenty of discount travel sites out there, which makes finding a great deal easier. But, if you’re traveling overseas and are looking to get to many different countries, look into getting RTW (round-the-world) tickets. These are bulk ticket prices, and many come with an itinerary of different locations throughout the world.
Lodging – Often times, where you stay while you’re on vacation can be the most expensive part of a trip. But, like anything else on this list, it doesn’t have to be.
When my husband and I first started traveling for ourselves (not business-related travel), we stayed in hostels. This will definitely be your cheapest option, but it’s not for everyone.
If a hostel isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, look to bundle your hotel, flight, and rental. There are plenty of sites out there that will do it for you, like Kayak or Orbitz. Even some of the bigger aviation companies are doing it now, too.
Food – Food can be one of the most expensive parts of a trip.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can have one or two of those experiences, but anything beyond that is overkill and a burden to your budget. My husband I buy our own groceries and eat the majority of our meals in our hotel room. Most hotels and hostels will have some type of kitchen that is open to the public (some are even in the room), so you can save a boatload of money staying in before you hit the town.
Check out more tips on how to save on travel here.
Diane Kuehl is a home improvement professional and owner of DIY Mother. She lives in Springfield, Illinois with her husband and two kids.