29 Tips to Travel on Budget

I just finished reading Travel Happy, Budget Low by Susanna Zaraysky.

It’s a great book on planning and enjoying your trip on budget.

In this post, I would like to share with you a few money saving tips that I learned from the book.

The guiding principle of this book is that: Some of the best things in life are free!

You don’t have to pay a lot of money to maximize your experience and joy.

According to Susanna, the most costly elements of travel are transportation, lodging and food. And I would like to add a fourth element which is tours & entertainment.

Here are 29 quick money saving tips for each of these four elements:

1. Transportation

  1. Check Weather and Best Time to Visit at: LonelyPlanet.com
  2. Check cheap flights at: Kayak.com – Play with the dates until you find the best deal.
  3. Sign up for the “Price Alerts” service to get best surprise deals from Kayak.com
  4. Join a Frequent Flyer Miles program and be loyal to one airline and its partners.
  5. After finishing the search for the cheapest airfare, clean cache files in your web browser. The cookies used by airlines might give you old price info when you do a new search.
  6. If you will travel by train, look into rail passes because they are usually cheaper than a one time ticket. Try Internationalrail.com
  7. When you use buses, opt for first class whenever you can afford it. In some countries, there is a huge difference in quality.
  8. Use local transportation whenever possible. Look into passes. Country guidebooks list info about best bus routes.
  9. Shop online for best car rental deals.

2. Lodging

  1. Check Kayak.com for inexpensive hotels
  2. Check out HospitalityClub.org for a free place to stay or nice locals to show you around town.
  3. If you’re traveling in a group, rent apartments with kitchens. Use www.vrbo.com
  4. Bring small gifts with you to give to locals who might host you.
  5. Use Skype for free or cheap calls home.
  6. Use CallingCards.com for local access phone numbers.

3. Food

  1. Buy a large container of water and refill smaller bottles.
  2. Bring snacks with you like nuts, crackers and dried fruits.
  3. Eat a good and filling meal in the morning. Eat snacks and small portions throughout the day.
  4. Eat at local food vendors. Most guidebooks have translations for the country’s most popular dishes.
  5. Shop at local markets and cook for yourself whenever possible.

4. Tours & Entertainment

  1. Use Lonely Planet guidebooks and Thorn Tree forum for best places and deals.
  2. Make sure when you use credit cards that it is charged with the correct currency.
  3. Beware of cheap tours.
  4. Shop last.
  5. Search google for “city name” and “free walking tours” for volunteers who love to show their city.
  6. Look for bike tours or rent a bike to discover the city.
  7. Check for free entertainment and cultural events.
  8. Ask your hotel for local entertainment that’s not geared toward tourists.
  9. Bargain in shops in the Middle East, Latin America and South Asia.

I hope you find these tips useful when you plan for your next trip.

Do you have more ‘travel on budget’ tips that you can share with us?


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5 Responses to 29 Tips to Travel on Budget

  1. Kimberley July 11, 2012 at 5:05 am #

    We have always brought a small amount of the countries currency which we order through our banking institution.
    On a recent trip, I spoke with a flight attendant who told me that her family always brings clothes that they were going to donate at home, to pass on to the locals they meet who are in need and can use them.
    And, finally, be selective on the items you purchase. We are all trying to simplify and not add to our clutter :) You don’t need (fill in the blank) to remember your trip experience.

    • Mohamed Tohami July 11, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Donating clothes is a brilliant idea! I believe photos are the only thing you need to bring back with you to remember your trip experience.

  2. gridlockmanifesto August 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    I hate to say it, but simple is often my goal but least often the result for my family when we travel. Entertaining children is our biggest challenge, as well as meeting the complex tastes of each child when we tried to cook for ourselves. Even though electronics aren’t “simple,” my Dish coworker suggested we take the tablet PC’s so the kids can watch TV. We use our Sling Adapter so we can watch live and recorded TV from our DVR back home, along with the Dish Remote Access app on our iPad and Galaxy 10.1. It was nice that we didn’t have to listen to the fighting in the back seat this time, and I kept my peace of mind.

    • Mohamed Tohami August 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      That’s an interesting experience. For sure, family travel is a totally different story. I’ve on my reading list a book about family travel on budget. I will share a few tips from it when I finish reading it.

  3. Online Gym Classes December 13, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    It’s wonderful to know that traveling can be inexpensive. I think we all get so caught up in our everyday lives and bills, that we become to spend money “carelessly.” But vacations are important to our well-being. It’s important to enjoy life and get away a little.

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