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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

5 of My Favorite Budget Travel Tips

There are lots of travel tips I tend to offer up over and over, but it's because they work and I use them myself. I travel on a budget as much as possible, and sometimes I cut costs in some ways in order to splurge somewhere else on my trips. By now you know I love food, and I will plan full days around where I want to eat. On the other hand, sometimes I know there are one or two really unaffordable things I want to do, and if there are ways I can make up that in savings elsewhere, I'll do that, too. 

Here are 5 of my favorite budget travel tips for you:

Travel in the off- or shoulder-season

When you travel during the busiest times (usually summer and the holidays, but this can vary from destination to destination), not only do you end up paying more than you would otherwise, but you also lose a lot of time waiting in lines. These are two of the worst things to waste in my opinion. I travel in the fall, because it's almost always a shoulder-season time for destinations. Kids are back in school everywhere, so places are less crowded. Places are often looking to entice visitors and drop their prices. In fact, you might save up to 50% off hotel rates, 30% off airfare and vacation rentals. 

Do laundry

I know laundry sucks, but it's not that bad when you're on vacation. Why do I suggest doing laundry? Because this allows you to pack less and travel lighter. I'll be doing a packing post soon, but think about this: You are going somewhere new. People there don't know you and won't remember what you wore all week. I mix and match a small capsule wardrobe for my trips. It's enough to give me variety, but it's also easy to pull stuff out and know that whatever top and bottom you choose, they'll go together, because you already planned ahead of time. 

Eat at food trucks/carts

I love food, and that means I want to eat a lot of it. There's only so many hours in the day, and I can't eat a ton of food at a time. Food trucks are great, because not only is there usually more than one when you find them, but they are also affordable. If you travel with your family or you just don't eat the same things as your travel companion, food trucks are awesome. You can each get something you want without having to fight over restaurants. And if you like to try all the things, you can easily get items from different trucks and share. 

More and more trucks are serving restaurant-quality food, and while they may creep into the almost-restaurant prices, they don't have overhead like staff and rent, so you aren't expected to pay for all those extras or give a big tip for someone to wait on you.

Look for coupons & promo codes

When we travel, we try to book as much ahead as possible. Why? Because you can often get a better deal by booking early, booking online, or through promo codes. Groupon is available around the world as well, so I often set my subscriptions 6 months out to my travel destination and keep an eye on discounts for attractions, activities, and restaurants. We've saved a ton of money this way. 

Take public transportation or walk 

I rarely take taxis, and though I often use Uber for getting around, I usually forgo it unless I really need to get somewhere and can't take public transportation to get there or it'll take too long. Public transportation can show you an entirely new view of the city and often I speak to locals, while also learning to get around my temporary home. Public transport is usually cheap, and is a great addition to walking around. Compare rates where you're going. I've found that an Uber can run between $15-20 for 5 miles or so during peak times, and the same ride on the bus or the subway can be $5 roundtrip or for the whole day. You even get to people watch, since everyone is usually on their phone. This is one my favorite parts of riding around a city. 

I'll be adding more money-saving travel tip blog posts soon, now that we have a vaccine and might have some hope of traveling by the end of the year. I'll be taking my first road trip for the first time in almost a year in just a few weeks. 

What are some of your favorite ways to travel on a budget?

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